The History Museum on the Square was awarded a $72,500 grant to connect K-12 students with the past and present through experiential learning. The grant was one of many given to Springfield-area agencies in the latest round of Musgrave Multi-Year Impact Grants. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

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Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct information on the number of History Museum passes available through The Library. 

Greene County families can now explore and enjoy the History Museum on the Square at no cost when they check out a 7-day pass at any branch of the Springfield-Greene County Library. 

The passes are also available at the Mobile Library, Library Express East and Library Express West 24-hour kiosks. 

Each pass allows entry for up to six people and can be checked out at the branch service desks.

This is the second free-pass checkout program offered by the library. Family passes to visit the Discovery Center of Springfield have been available for checkout for a few years. 

Kathleen O’Dell, community relations director for the library, explained that the idea for the Discovery Center pass program came from the librarians with the Youth Services Department who recognized that not all families can afford to pay admission fees. 

“They wanted to be able to have a way to expose children and families to attractions in the Springfield Greene County area,” O’Dell said. “We recognize the importance of the learning that can take place at the Discovery Center.”

In the early years of the Discovery Center pass program, the library had a grant to pay for the passes. That grant funding has ended, so now the library has picked up the tab. 

O’Dell said the library has a total of 30 Discovery Passes, each costing $95 a year for a total of $2,850.

Outside of the Discovery Center on E. St. Louis Street (Photo by Shannon Cay)

And now the library has 30 History Museum passes at $100 per pass per year for a total of $3,000.

“It is a cost to us. We are happy to do it,” O’Dell said. “We feel it’s important to offer these education and entertainment programs for families. It’s something that you can get with your library card at no extra cost.”

With the Discovery Center passes being so popular with families, the library’s Youth Services Department and Collection Services Department had been looking for other attractions to partner with. The recently renovated and upgraded History Museum on the Square was a perfect fit for such a program. 

Families can use the passes to explore and learn about Springfield’s history — including Native Americans, the Civil War, Route 66 and Wild Bill Hickock.

“Our local history department collects so many wonderful documents and artifacts about Springfield’s history,” O’Dell said. “But when you can go to the History Museum on the Square, you can sort of immerse yourself a little bit more in the history by seeing these hands-on and interactive exhibits. We think that’s a real great extension of learning.”

Find a library branch near you here. The History Museum on the Square and Discovery Center passes are free to check out, but you must have a library card. Library cards are also free to Greene County residents. (Christian County residents can get a library card for $80.)

The History Museum on the Square is located at 154 Park Central Square. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m . Wednesday-Saturday and 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Learn more about the History Museum here.  

Jackie Rehwald

Jackie Rehwald is a reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. She covers public safety, the courts, homelessness, domestic violence and other social issues. Her office line is 417-837-3659. More by Jackie Rehwald