South Bend, IN - When shopping in Downtown South Bend you might have to duck and weave between a few empty store fronts, but Downtown South Bend wants that all to change. DTSB is getting creative and asked local museums to fill a few empty windows for ‘Museums on Michigan’. People walking First Fridays did a double-take at the normally empty 121 and 123 South Michigan Street store fronts.
"We see this traditionally in malls and in strip centers. It's happening all over the country,” said Tamara Nicholl-Smith. She helps to draw businesses to downtown with DTSB, and hopes ‘Museums on Michigan’ attract some new interest.
“Asking the museum to come out and sort of make these windows show themselves up the best will give people ideas about how these stores might make good window fronts for them,” said Nicholl-Smith.
It’s not a bad deal for the museums either.
It’s giving places, like The Center for History that’s located off the beaten path, some extra attention. “For people who are driving by, walking by, to take a look at Downtown South Bend the way it used to look,” said Marilyn Thompson of The Center for History’s display.
The Center for History filled its space with photos of what South Bend looked like years ago. Some of the images date back to 1895.
Thompson hopes the museum’s temporary presence on Michigan Street will bring people eight blocks west to their location. "They'll say I need to see more. I want to see more,” said Thompson. “Then they'll come down and visit us at the Center for History."
Two other museums have displays up. The Studebaker National museum embraced the Studebaker style, showing images of the iconic car.
The South Bend Museum of Art marked its window space with dots. The bright dots represent the activity of downtown and announce the museum shop, ‘The Dot Shop’, is reopening August 27th.
If you’re interested in any open store fronts, contact Tamara Nicholl-Smith with Downtown South Bend at 574-631-1451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for History is located at 808 West Washington Street.
South Bend Museum of Art is located in the Century Center at 120 South St. Joseph Street.
The Studebaker National Museum is located at 201 South Chapin Street.