Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Preservation honors

Galena Foundation posthumously awards Frank Einsweiler Award to Alfie Mueller

by Hillary Dickerson, editor
Courtesy of Galena Gazette

GALENA-Surrounded by just a few of the images from his extensive collection, the legacy of Alfie Mueller was center stage for the Galena Foundation's annual dinner on Wednesday, April 23 at Fried Green Tomatoes. Foundation members and guests gathered to celebrate the undeniable mark Mueller left on the community.

Charles Marsden, president of the Galena Foundation, presented the 2014 Frank L. Einsweiler Award posthumously to Mueller, whose daughter, Barbara Mueller Thompson, was on hand to accept on her father's behalf. This is the second year the award was presented "for an exceptional lifetime contribution to historic Galena."

During his lifetime in Galena, Mueller, who passed away in 2004, collected thousands of historic images of Galena and Jo Daviess County.

As part of the program, Galena historian Steve Repp shared his memories of Mueller, who he described as "a treasure."

"This guy not only had an interest in history, he had an enthusiasm for history," recalled Repp of Mueller, who he first met in 1979 at the Galena Public Library.

Repp remembered how much fun it was to watch Mueller work and help others find information. "He had a style that I can't say enough about," said Repp.

Together Mueller and Repp did slideshows at the nursing home, a tradition Repp continues. Repp talked about the influence Mueller had on his life and the work he does in the Alfred Mueller Historical Collections Room at the library.

"He realized long ago the importance of photograph," said Repp in his talk about Mueller. "A photograph catches the moment."

Marsden present the award, a real Galena brick, to Thompson, who thanked the Foundation for doing that for her father.

"Nobody knows how proud we are of what he did and what he's done for your city," said Thompson, speaking on behalf of her brother as well.

Marsden noted that Meuller wanted his collection to be for the community.

"That has become a legacy," said Marsden. "And the Galena Foundation has had conversation that we will do whatever it takes to preserve the Alfie Mueller Collection into perpetuity through digitization or whatever you all decide you would like to do. The Galena Foundation will provide the funds to make sure that collection is preserved for all time."

Outgoing board member Duane Grenier

Galena Foundation President Charlie Marsden, left, presented outgoing director Duane Grenier with a Carl Johnson print of the Grant Park gazebo, one of the Foundation's most recent restoration projects. Photo by Jay and Hillary Dickerson

New board member

Charles Marsden, president of the Galena Foundation, left, welcomed new board director Ken Robb during the annual dinner. Photo by Jay and Hillary Dickerson.