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St. Charles History Museum seeking liquor license for events Events: Museum, city working together on new liquor license.

Byline: Lauren Rohr

St. Charles History Museum leaders are hoping to bring more visitors through the door by hosting events and renting out their downtown space for special occasions. Aldermen supported that vision Monday with an early thumbs-up for granting the nonprofit permission to serve alcohol.

A liquor license recently created by the city would allow the museum at 215 E. Main St. to hold up to 12 events per year, including some of its annual fundraisers. Executive Director Alison Costanzo said the museum also could serve as a unique venue for bridal showers, graduation parties, class reunions and other community gatherings.

"It's a great opportunity to showcase what we do best, but we're also giving people the opportunity to have a nice space and a different venue," Costanzo said. "This is a big shift for the museum, so we're really excited."

On Monday, the liquor control commission and government operations committee both approved granting the museum the liquor license. The city council will vote on the measure at an upcoming meeting.

The St. Charles History Museum leases its building from the city, which funds about 30 percent of the organization's budget, Costanzo

said. The rest of its funding comes from events, donations and other fundraising efforts.

Organization leaders in recent years have been considering new ways to generate revenue and adapt to a changing society, Costanzo said.

Hosting catered events with alcohol has become a norm for museums as they try to reinvent themselves, she said, noting the concept draws in patrons who wouldn't otherwise stop in.

"It's about making the museum relevant for our community. To do that, we have to be able to offer community spaces," Costanzo said.

"If we can get people in the door just to experience a little bit of St. Charles, that's a win for me."

Museum staff and board members have worked closely with the city to create the new liquor license, which Alderman Maureen Lewis said is a "good solution."

Costanzo said the organization intends to partner with local restaurants and vendors for catering and alcohol sales. Board members are still finalizing the rental policy and pricing.

The museum's 12 events, which extend until next May, will begin with its annual Best of St. Charles Foodie Fest on June 23.

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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:May 22, 2018
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