The Riverside Historical Museum received a vote of confidence last week when the village board voted to direct a $75,000 state grant toward the renovation of the south well house in Centennial Park, thus creating new exhibit space for the museum.

We say “vote of confidence” because we’re never quite sure just where the museum fits into the hierarchy of village-funded entities. There are those who would be just as happy to see the museum fend for itself financially. Others would like an even greater commitment of village resources for the museum.

One of the problems with the museum is that it’s tough to tell exactly what they have to offer the casual visitor. Sure, the archives are a wealth of information?”from historic documents detailing the establishment of the village to village board meeting minutes from last month to building records.

But the casual visitor would be hard-pressed to make a visit to the museum a riveting one, or even one worth repeating, because there’s simply no room to put anything much on display. The creation of an expanded exhibit area in the south well house will provide the museum and the Historical Commission the opportunity to prove to the doubters why the museum is vital to preserving Riverside’s historic past by making it accessible to Riversiders.

That’s because it’s our hope that the expansion of the museum into the south well house will be a temporary one. By temporary, we realize that may mean “for years to come.” But we continue to argue that the future home of the Riverside Historical Museum should properly be the old pump house at the base of the historic water tower?”the most recognizable historic symbol in the village.

But the best way to prove that point will be for the Historical Commission to make the most of its new exhibit space and showing residents that the museum should be viewed as an indispensable part of Riverside’s fabric, and that it indeed deserves that kind of support from the village and its residents.

Breaking the museum into two separate buildings is not optimal from the commission’s standpoint, but it may just be the first step in transforming the museum from strictly a research center to something all Riversiders can enjoy and be proud of.

Restaurant row?

We’re not sure if it’s a blip on the screen or the beginning of a trend, but it’s not a bad thing by the end of the summer there may be three restaurants on the east side of Grand Boulevard in downtime Brookfield.

In a business district that has an awfully barren aspect, the prospect of three eateries within a few feet of each other is encouraging and one we hope the village board will foster. In order to make these new businesses happen, the owners will need to jump through a few hoops, including the creation of a couple of new liquor licenses. The board on Monday, created one of them, and it should follow suit soon to create another.

While some view any increase in liquor licenses to be a negative development, it’s not always the case. The new licenses would not be created simply for another watering hole, but for restaurants with full-service bars. This is the kind of development that downtown Brookfield is crying out for.

It’s our hope that Brookfielders will embrace the new trend and that the businesses will also be able to attract visitors from outside the village.