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John Marshall House Museum reopens to the public

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OLD SHAWNEETOWN, Ill. (WSIL) -- A home-turned-museum in Gallatin County, that survived the Ohio River flood of 1937, is open for the first time since the pandemic began.

The John Marshall House Museum reopened on Sunday to a handful of guests, says Christy Short of the Gallatin County Historical Society.

"It was exciting. We were very happy to get open," Short said.

When the pandemic forced museums across the state to close, it gave Short and other staff time to rearrange inside.

"We were able to change out some displays," Short said. "We had a lot of different donations given out last year so this gave us ample time to get those ready."

One of the newest donations is a two-horse drawn hearse from the 1870s, Short says. Staff are preparing a wooden building next to the museum to house the hearse.

Picture of an 1870s era two-horse drawn hearse. Gallatin County Historical Society is preparing a building to house it's newest donation.

The Marshall House is home to many firsts. It housed Illinois' first chartered bank in 1816, two years after Shawneetown became the second town established by an act of Congress. The first was Washington, D.C.

It was also home to Sarah Marshall, Illinois' first published female author. Sarah was one of seven children who lived in the home with parents Amira and John Marshall.

It's also the place where you can find one of the state's oldest safes, Short says, which was built specifically for the bank.

A safe, possibly the oldest in Illinois, sits inside the John Marshall House Museum in Old Shawneetown

The museum is open on the first and third Sunday of each month from 1pm until 4pm. If you can't make either date, you can call the historical society to set up a tour.

Short says it's important to observe and preserve local history and hopes the museum's artifacts can renew interest in the region's past.

"I continually learn and I'm always amazed at some of the stuff that I learn about this area," Short said. "It's beautiful and there's a ton of history."

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Danny Valle

Danny Valle anchors News 3 This Morning on Saturday and Sunday and reports Monday-Wednesday at News 3 WSIL. He joined the team in 2017 as a morning producer, before becoming an anchor in 2018, and reporter in 2019. Danny graduated from SIU-Carbondale in 2015, earning a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism with a specialization in Sports Broadcasting.

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