Smithsonian Bandstand to Return to Jacksonville, Ill.

August 24, 2010
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will return a historic bandstand to the city of Jacksonville, Ill., on Aug. 26. The Jacksonville City Council voted at its June 14 meeting to accept the 130-year-old bandstand, which was constructed in 1880 on the grounds of the Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane in Jacksonville, Ill. The hospital is now known as the Jacksonville Mental Health and Developmental Center. Donated to the Smithsonian in 1983, the bandstand stood outside the museum on 14th Street and Constitution Avenue for 25 years. 

The bandstand is of a Victorian style, with decorative woodworking on the railings and on sections beneath the roof. The structure is 33 feet long, 14 feet wide and stands nearly 18 feet tall. When it arrived in Washington, the museum used it briefly as a venue for spring and summer concerts. Due to traffic, noise and accessibility, the concerts were discontinued.

“This is an important object in the history of music and entertainment in America, and it should be preserved and enjoyed,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “We are thrilled that Jacksonville has accepted the bandstand and that there is a plan to use it again in the future.”

In addition to the bandstand, the Smithsonian will provide detailed directions and photographs for the reassembly.

The City of Jacksonville anticipates transferring ownership of the bandstand to the Prairie Land Heritage Museum Institute.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, check For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).