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Midway Village Museum leader David Byrnes to retire

ROCKFORD (WREX) — The leader of Midway Village Museum is set to retire after more than twenty years in charge.

Byrnes started with the museum in 1999 and worked to create the best history museum in the area.

Brynes helped grow World War II Days to become one of the largest military re-enactments of its kind in the country. The event relates the importance of World War II to Rockford history.

“David’s contributions extend beyond managing a large campus institution,” said Karl Jacobs, a long-time Board Member, and former President of Rock Valley College. “He brought to us a deep understanding of what the past means to a community. With the rapidity of change today the need of a leader such as David Byrnes is more evident in defining our future.”

The museum says Byrnes hired professional, competent staff who completely organized and cataloged the extensive collection of the museum and has begun the process of digitizing it.

The museum has more than 150,000 artifacts all related to Rockford history and one of the largest and most comprehensive textile collections in the Northern Illinois region. Over time, Midway Village Museum has won more than 25 local, state and national awards for programs and services.

“All non-profit organizations have financial restrictions,” said Nancy Bloomstrand, who was on the board at the time David began his career at the museum and subsequently volunteered on the board for more than 25 years. “David has worked hard to make the museum as financially stable as possible with donations, grants, endowments as well as membership and fees for events.”

Byrnes also proposed an exhibit to build on the diversity of the community, called “Many People, One Community” that is an outstanding informative and interactive exhibit.

With 21 buildings on the property, there are many different opportunities for a variety of organizations, families and businesses to learn about the Rockford area. He has created a large rental department for weddings and family and business events.

He strategically moved the marketing and development areas forward creating formalized professionally-managed programs in those areas.

Byrnes is set to step down in Dec. 2020.

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Andrew Carrigan

Andy Carrigan is the Social Media & Digital Content Manager at WREX. He joined the 13 WREX team as a photographer in 2016 after graduating from Northern Illinois University.

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