A former Greenville College art history professor, Donald P. Hallmark, while researching the life and work of Richard W. Bock, learned that after Bock's death in 1949, Bock's son, Thorwald Methven, and daughter, Dorathi Bock Pierre, had kept many of their father's works in storage and maintained all of the drawings, documents, and photographs. The children preserved the collection because they shared their father's dream that some day the objects would be displayed.
In 1972, they presented the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Collection to Greenville College on the condition that the works be placed on permanent exhibition. In the fall of 1972, Hallmark brought the first collection pieces from Los Angeles, California to Greenville, Illinois. Many of the art objects had been in storage since 1932. Under Hallmark's direction, his wife Linda, the art department, and volunteers began the process of cataloging, cleaning, and restoring the many works. The last major shipment of art objects arrived at Greenville College in early 1975. The museum opened the fall of 1975.
The collection consists of over 300 plaster and bronze sculptures of varying development of Bock's ideas and early conceptions for projects and commissions. A number of the renderings were made in the 1880s in Europe.
The collection also contains several architectural drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright, which have never before been publicly displayed. Bock served as Wright's sculptor for many years, during which time they became close personal friends and collaborated on numerous projects. Several items designed by Wright are in the collection, including a rectilinear oak table and a leaded stained glass window.
There are numerous personal letters in the collection written by Richard W. Bock, Frank Lloyd Wright, Alphonso Iannelli, Karl Bitter, and William Gray Purcell. The Bock family art library contains several hundred volumes on artists, and architects, and there are numerous photographs of the sculptor's projects, and studios. Paintings by Harry Wallace Methven (1864-1947), the sculptor's brother-in-law who resided in Paris; ornate gilded picture frames; and wood working tools belonging to Bock's father are also on display.
The museum is located in the historic Almira College House, constructed in 1855, serves as the museum facility for the Richard W. Bock Sculpture Collection. Steeped in 19th century tradition, the home was briefly used as a classroom building until Hogue Hall was constructed. In 1892, the institution was renamed Greenville College, and the house passed into private hands.