Located in the Nauvoo State Park, the museum contains a large collection of furniture and other articles dating back to Native American times. It features a stone-arched wine cellar and original 150-year-old winemaking equipment. The original home of four rooms was built in the 1840's. Alois Rheinberger added four more rooms after he settled in Nauvoo in 1850, plus the wine cellar and a pressroom. In the spring of 1851, Rheinberger planted a three-acre vineyard behind his house which has remained in continuous production ever since. Rheinberger was one of the first vintners in Nauvoo, a city that over the years has established a reputation for producing fine wines. His home and two remaining acres of his original vineyard are preserved at the Nauvoo State Historic Site. The Nauvoo Historical Society has staffed the museum since 1954. Each year the equivalent of fifteen weeks is spent pruning, fertilizing, tying, and replacing plants. Even though the vineyard is more than 150 years old, many of the original plants still bear delicious grapes. Why is so much time spent on the Rheinberger vineyard? It is to preserve an important part of Nauvoo's history that is unique to the site.Rheinberger died in the early 1900's, but the stone walls of his wine cellar and the vineyard he planted in 1851 help visitors envision Nauvoo as it was more than a century ago. Those who visit the house and vineyard may better appreciate a Nauvoo tradition that has helped shape the lives of many people.Weld House MuseumLocated on Mulholland Street in Nauvoo's business district, this building is one of western Illinois's best examples of Greek revival architecture. It is named for Dr. John Weld, born in 1808 in Vermont. He was a physician who came to Nauvoo in 1837. Tax records show that Dr. Weld lived in the house from 1842 to 1846. Early records are sketchy, but it is believed the house was built in the 1840's, possibly by Paul or George Ritter. Later owners included a Dr. Varney, who operated a clinic and hospital there from 1924 to 1933. Nauvoo folklore rumors that he treated Chicago gangsters during the Prohibition era.In 1986, the Nauvoo Historical Society purchased the property. massive restoration was begun with the removal of four additions and rebuilding the basement and the first-story walls. Two matching grants, adoption of rooms by families, and individual contributions of funds and labor have brought the structure to what it is today. The Society continues the restoration and preservation efforts. Rooms that have been adopted by local families include the Moffitt Room, where many items have been donated. This room houses the Earl Cheesebro arrowhead collection. This room also houses a "slice of the Captain White trading oak tree" and the plaque which marked the spot near the riverboat landing where it once stood. In the back room is an archive of local church records, family histories, and historic manuscripts preserved for research.The Peter Bolton Room houses numerous farm, kitchen, and agricultural implements. Dishes and handmade doll clothes from the W. C. Bolton home are also on display, along with original wedding garments.The Newbold Room, (also referred to as the Francis Clark Room or the Merchant's Room) has a glass case featuring items from the Francis Clark family. They include the 1828 sketchbook Clark used as he copied verses and drawings to use on the tombstones he carved. Clark and his brother David came to Nauvoo around 1843 to help with the carving of the sunstones and moonstones and the oxen in the Temple. He also worked on the Red Brick Store. Frances remained in Nauvoo after the exodus, and many relatives remain in the area. Another display case features items pertaining to the funeral industry. They include a sample miniature casket, the cupola of a hearse, and a funeral basket. Advertising items and photographs of both past and present Nauvoo merchants and businesses are also found in this room.New acquisitions have been generously donated by Nauvoo families and businesses and will be on display. Our newest donation, below, is from the Baxter family and can be seen in the Icarian room on the second floor of the Weld House Museum.
Kibbe Hancock Heritage Museum
306 Walnut Carthage, Il 62321
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