Concordia Historical Institute (CHI) plans to construct an historical museum at the LCMS International Center in St. Louis to give visitors a perspective on the Synod’s history. The project will free much-needed space in the CHI building to store a growing collection documenting the history of Lutheranism in the United States.
Institute Director Martin Noland expects the CHI Board of Governors to firm up a project schedule during its meeting in August. The LCMS Board of Directors has approved a five-year lease for space that formerly housed a library and video studio at the International Center, as well as granting CHI permission to solicit congregations for financial support of the museum project.
Noland envisions a “walk-around” exhibit that will give a chronological history of the Synod since its organization in 1847. “The plan is to start with the basics and then to upgrade the exhibits as funding permits in future years,” he said. “It will give the people who visit the International Center an understanding of why we are here in St. Louis and what our church body is all about.”
Estimates for architectural plans, construction, exhibit design, and structural engineering will help the CHI Board of Governors to set a fund-raising target during its August or November meeting. If the goal is approved, Noland expects fund-raising to begin by the end of the year.
Noland is grateful for the unanimously positive response from the LCMS Board of Directors and LCMS officers, as well as the CHI board. “My board has been waiting for a long time for this to come about,” he said. “It would not be happening if all weren’t working together. The Board of Directors has been very generous. There’s a lot of partnership — everybody involved gets credit.”
Considering time for architectural plans, museum design, fund-raising, and construction, Noland hopes the project can be completed by mid-summer 2007.
The project will enable CHI to install compact shelving on the lower floor of its building on the campus of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. The floor currently is used as a museum.
“We are very cramped for space right now,” said Noland. “In fact, as some entities offer materials, we have asked them to keep them at their locations for a while.” He said the additional space should be adequate for the Synod’s archival needs for the next 10 to 15 years.
CHI would continue to use its current first-floor exhibit area for special exhibits such as its current displays on LCMS world missions, the LWML, and the Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis.
Posted July 11, 2005