200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428
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August 2018

August 7th, 2018 / 7:00 PM

History Reads Book Club: Outlaws of Cave-In Rock

All avid readers are welcome to join us on Tuesday, August 7 at the McLean County Museum of History for the third History Reads Book Club of 2018. The discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom. Channel your inner scallywag, hoist the sails, and cover your booty before joining us in conversation about The Outlaws of Cave-in-Rock (1996), Otto A. Rothert’s riveting account if the infamous cast of river pirates and highwaymen who operated in and around the Ohio River cavern from 1795 through 1820.

This free, quarterly program is brought to you by the Museum and Bloomington Public Library. The discussion will last approximately 60 minutes. Participants are welcome to explore the Museum before the meeting. Free parking is available on the street or in the Lincoln Parking Deck, located one block south of the Museum on Front Street.

Copies of this book will be available for checkout at Bloomington Public Library or may be requested via interlibrary loan through your local public library. For more information on this program please contact the Museum’s Education Department at education@mchistory.org or by phone at 309-827-0428; or contact Karen Moen at Bloomington Public Library at reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org. The Museum looks forward to seeing our local swashbuckling literature lovers in August!

August 11th, 2018 / 9:00 AM

Museum at the Illinois State Fair

What’s better than cattle shows, corn dogs, giant slides, and cows made completely out of butter? All of those things plus fun and games with Museum staff! Join the Museum for a third year at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield starting at 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Find the Museum’s table stationed outside the Illinois Building in the Looking for Lincoln area (plus indoor bathrooms in close proximity)! Test your knowledge of Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln by taking a spin on the Museum’s trivia wheels, and prove yourself an expert to collect a prize! Bribes of deep-fried candy bars will be regretfully declined. Can’t wait to see you there!

August 18th, 2018 / 9:00 AM

You Can (3D) Print It! Making a Rubber Band Car

In conjunction with the McLean County Museum of History’s newest exhibit, Pedal Power!, we invite you to explore, design, and create your very own rubber-band-powered vehicle.

Participate in a guided exploration of the pedal-powered vehicles in Pedal Power!, then cruise across the street to our partners at Open Source Classroom to learn all about 3D design and production. Finally, print and assemble your mini auto.

This workshop will take place on Saturday, August 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is open to individuals entering 5th through 10th grades and an adult partner. A lunch break will be provided during which teams can visit downtown Bloomington eateries. Registration is $15 per participant ($30 per team) and is capped at 24 total participants (12 adults and 12 youth).

To register, complete the form at https://bit.ly/2NpuBor. Registration ends August 9, 2018. Pedal Power! is generously sponsored by State Farm.

For questions, please contact Anthony Bowman, Education Outreach Coordinator, at abowman@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

August 19th, 2018 / 2:00 PM

Illinois Memoirs: Our Story and Your Opportunity

To continue the celebration of the Bicentennial of Illinois, the Museum, in partnership with Bloomington Public Library, are pleased to host author and literary and cultural historian John Hallwas, for a program exploring fascinating memoirs by Illinoisans throughout its 200 year history. This free, public program will be held in the Community Room at Bloomington Public Library on Sunday, August 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Illinois’s monumental literary heritage is particularly rich in autobiographies and memoirs, including the first noted autobiography from the Midwest (Chief Black Hawk’s), the most famous memoir associated with the Civil War (Ulysses S. Grant’s), and one of the most celebrated autobiographies by an American woman (Jane Addams’s Twenty Years at Hull House), among many others. Such works often address issues of identity and belonging, which are as crucial today as ever. Because of the rapidity of cultural change, personal accounts that offer perspectives on life in particular places, families, communities, and occupations at various points in the past (even the recent past) are increasingly valuable.

In this presentation, Hallwas will explore selections from these memoirs and more. He will then lead the members of the audience in a discussion of contributions that they might make by writing memoirs, editing collections of short memoirs by local residents, or reading and discussing Illinois memoirs as a group. He hopes his presentation will foster local public efforts to read and write about the Illinois experience in its many dimensions in conjunction with the state’s Bicentennial

Literary and cultural historian John Hallwas was born and raised in Illinois. He has published books and articles on some 90 Illinois authors and has written extensively on Illinois-related topics such as frontier life, small-town experience, outlaws, women’s responses to social challenges, and the culture of Western Illinois. Hallwas taught English for 34 years at Western Illinois University and is now a distinguished professor emeritus. Since his retirement from WIU, Hallwas is a member of the Illinois Humanities Council’s “Road Scholars” program. In 2015, Hallwas received the Cultural Achievement Award from the City of Macomb for his work as a writer, speaker, and cultural leader. In May of 2018, he also received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the preservation and appreciation of Illinois state history from the Illinois State Historical Society.

This program is sponsored by a grant from Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

For more information about this program, please contact the Education Department via email at education@mchistory.org or by telephone 309-827-0428.

August 25th, 2018 / 8:30 AM

Meandering McLean County and its Agricultural History Bus Trip

THIS BUS TRIP IS NOW FULL. We have started a waiting list in case there are any last minute cancellations. If you would like to be added to the waiting list, please call the Museum at 827-0428.

In honor of the Museum’s ongoing commemoration of the Bicentennial of Illinois, and to celebrate McLean County’s rich and long agricultural history, we invite you to join Don Meyer, ag historian and guest curator for the Museum’s new Farming in the Great Corn Belt permanent exhibit, and Museum Librarian and local historian Bill Kemp, for a bus trip exploring the nooks and crannies of southwestern McLean County.

Come time travel with us as we drive Southwest McLean County by horseback or electric train on our journey by bus through one of the nation’s major corn and soybean areas, after we see our largest and newest grain handling facility.Roadside discussion stops will take us through or near Dry Grove, Wilkesborough, Concord, Stout’s Grove, Woodruff, Mosquito Grove, Moore’s Mill and Mount Hope Colony, all without leaving McLean County!Enjoy your Cracker Jacks as we pause at an early production area!Experience the Funk/Stubblefield family influence and meander through the Funk’s Grove area.Besides the day’s historic theme, McLean County agriculture and geography will be featured along our way.

The cost per person is $40 for members of the Museum and $50 for the general public. The trip includes transportation by Peoria Charter Coach to all sites, boxed lunch, and bottled water. The trip will leave the McLean County Museum of History promptly at 8:30 a.m. (please park in the Lincoln Parking Deck, located one block south of the Museum on Front Street), and arrive back at the Museum at approximately 5:00 p.m. Box lunch choices are either Ham and Swiss sandwich, Turkey and Cheddar sandwich, or Veggie Delight sandwich. Box lunches also include chips, cookie, and whole fruit. Seating is limited to 52 passengers, with a minimum of 28 people required to secure the motorcoach. Registration is due by August 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Registration can be made by calling the Museum at 309-827-0428 or emailing the Education Department at education@mchistory.org. Payment can be made via all major credit cards or by check (payable to MCMH). Phone orders by credit card are accepted as well.

Don Meyer is a McLean County native & retired from UI Extension in 2010 after 27 years of service to local rural & urban audiences. Since then he taught in the ISU Agriculture Department and is also a farmland broker & auctioneer with Lee Realty in Bloomington. Don was guest curator for the Museum’s new farming gallery and has led many area agriculture and history bus tours. Bill Kemp has served as librarian for the McLean County Museum of History for 14 years. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois Springfield and a master’s in history from Illinois State University. Kemp’s weekly Pantagraph column, “A Page from Our Past,” debuted in 2005. Since then, there have been more than 600 original columns in the award-winning series.

For more information about this tour or to register to participate, please contact the Education Department. We hope that you will join us for this fascinating excursion exploring our farming heritage!

August 25th, 2018 / 10:00 AM

Under the Dome Knit In

Knitters and crocheters—mark your calendars for the next Under the Dome Knit In, Saturday August 25 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. in the Museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom! The Museum welcomes all knitters and crocheters to come down and create charity items or work on your own project.

For this quarter’s Knit In, we are looking for knitters and crochters to help make hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves that will be distributed to local students through the Promi5e Council. The Promi5e Council is a local organization made up of a collection of caring adults who work to connect community resources to the specific needs of students in local schools in grades K-12. From Food Back Pack programs, School Supply/Toiletry Back Packs, Resource Fairs, school based mentoring, and more, the Promi5e Council works to help schools, help kids. During the winter months, the Promi5e Council often gets request for hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves to help students in need. We will be collecting those items starting in August through the beginning of October so that the Promi5e Council can start handing them out as the weather turns cold. Items made of material that is machine washable and dryable is preferred.

The Under the Dome Knit In is FREE and open to everyone. Light refreshments will also be served.Just bring your own project or the materials to begin a new one.Grab a friend, some needles or hooks, and of course don’t forget your yarn, and come on down to the Museum to “knit for a bit!”

Free parking will be available at the Lincoln Parking Deck, one block south of the Museum on Front Street. For more information or any questions, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428 or education@mchistory.org.

August 28th, 2018 / 7:00 PM

How Frontier Illinois Became the Land of the Independent Producer, and Why it Matters Today with Dr. James Simeone

Illinoisans often think of themselves as individualists who built a state based on the rule of law. Our controlling image is of a young Abraham Lincoln as the rugged frontiersman piloting a flatboat downriver to New Orleans. While the spirit of adventure and fairness Lincoln embodied has always been a part of the Illinois story, the state’s politics have not always matched up with these ideals.

Join us as we commemorate the Bicentennial of Illinois with a presentation by Professor James Simeone, whose talk will highlight the social and political tensions at work in Illinois during its first constitutional era (1818-1848). This free program will take place on Tuesday, August 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Museum’s Governor Fifer courtroom.

Professor James Simeone teaches political theory and law in the Department of Political Science at Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU). He co-founded the Action Research Center (ARC) at IWU in 2003 and publishes in the field of American Political Development. He is the author of Bottomland Republic: Democracy and Slavery in Frontier Illinois.

For more information about this program, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428. Free parking is available on the Museum Square and surrounding streets or at the Lincoln Parking Deck located on Front Street.

August 30th, 2018 / 7:00 PM

A History of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Join Director of Education Candace Summers for a program on the Museum’s longest running and most successful outreach program, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. This program will explore the roots of this event and how it began as a call to action because vandalism was a major problem at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Audience members will also be introduced to the individuals who will be featured during the 2018 Bicentennial of Illinois Cemetery Walk. The program will be held in the Community Room at Bloomington Public Library and is free and open to the public.