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

Teacher Information

Evergreen Cemetery Walk School Tours

The McLean County Museum of History is pleased to announce that all students participating in the School Tours of the 2016 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will attend for FREE. We are committed to reaching out to diverse communities and removing barriers so that we can help as many students as possible discover our local history. Through the generosity of this year’s sponsor, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, and support from our members, admission fees for students and chaperones to attend the 2016 Evergreen Cemetery Walk have been waived.

The Museum offers four days of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk specifically for students in grades 6-8, 9-12, and college (public and private schools, and home school families) in McLean County and Central Illinois. The dates for the 2016 School Tours of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk are October 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2016. Three tours are offered each day (8:45 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.) and are 75 minutes long. This is an excellent opportunity to teach your students about individuals who have contributed to Central Illinois’ rich and colorful history.This program will also help students understand how and why it is important to preserve and respect cemeteries. Bring your classes to participate in this fascinating, award-winning outdoor theatrical program.

Please remind your students to eat breakfast/lunch the day of the walk, and encourage them to stay hydrated.

Teacher Packet

Below you will find links to pdfs of a variety of information that will be useful in preparing to bring your students to your scheduled tour of the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. These PDFs include:

  1. Teacher/Student/Chaperone information
  2. Vocabulary
  3. Information about the history of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery/Monument materials and styles/Cemetery symbolism
  4. Biographies of this year's featured characters
  5. Classroom activities for each cemetery walk character
  6. Primary and secondary sources related to each character
  7. ISBE Learning Goals and Common Core Standards your participation in the Cemetery Walk will help you meet
  8. Suggested general activities.

  • Teacher, Student, and Chaperone Info
  • Download Teacher Information Sheet here

    Download Chaperone Information Sheet here

    Download Student Information Sheet here

    This section includes information for teachers, chaperones, and students to review before attending the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. The handouts below include information on location of event, teacher check in at the event, student and chaperone expectations, appropriate behavior guidelines for students, inclement weather policies, photography policy, parking information, and more.

    Teachers, please make sure you copy and distribute the student and chaperone information sheets to all students and chaperones who will be attending the Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

  • Vocabulary
  • Download the 2016 Cemetery Walk Student Vocabulary Sheet here

    This section includes words that may be unfamiliar to students who participate in the Evergreen Cemetery Walk. Words included in this document can be found in the character biographies (found in the teacher packet) and those that will be heard during the performances at the Cemetery Walk. Words are divided by character, including a separate list of cemetery/monument related terms. Words are defined according to Merriam-Webster dictionary unless otherwise noted.

  • Cemetery History, Symbolism, and Monument Information
  • Download Cemetery History, Symbolism, and Monument Information here

    This document includes a brief history on the evolution of cemeteries and a history of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Also included is information on monument materials, cemetery art and symbolism, monument types, and cemetery structures, of which many can be found in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. This information will be very useful in helping to prepare students for participation in the Evergreen Cemetery Walk.

  • Ethel Murray
  • Ethel Murray (1917-1990)
  • Download student version of Murray's biography

    Download full length annotated character biography here

    As a schoolgirl subjected to segregation, Murray disliked the subject of history. She observed that “Blacks and Indians” never seemed to “win or be successful.” Though her mother routinely had to pack lunches in shoeboxes since restaurants that served Blacks were uncommon, such prejudice was not enough to suppress Murray’s belief in the innate goodness of people. During her childhood, the Ku Klux Klan often met in an old mine near her home. But rather than hiding in fear, Murray took it upon herself to befriend the young son of one of the Klansmen!

  • Jennie Thompson (1860-1924)
  • Download student version of Thompson's biography

    Download the full length annotated character biography here

    Born in Canada, this charitable woman immigrated to the U.S. in the 1860s. When Thompson was only 17 years old, her mother’s death left her to look after her six siblings. This was the start of her life of physically ministering to the sick and infirm. During the flu epidemic of 1918 Thompson worked tirelessly to provide care to the dying, while also assisting mothers in childbirth. The last 16 years of her life were spent as a field worker for the Day Nursery and Settlement Association, whose purpose was to provide a safe place for children of women required to work outside the home.

  • John Jackman
  • John Jackman (1816-1896)
  • Download student version of Jackman's biography

    Download the full length annotated biography here

    Energetic and well-liked, Jackman spent over 40 years in railroading, working in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois. Arriving in Bloomington in 1864, he took a position as superintendent of machinery for the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops, and there he remained until his resignation almost 15 years later. Amazingly, during Jackman’s impressive career, he would see the railroad link states from coast to coast, and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Richard Shipley
  • Richard Shipley (1903-1973)
  • Download student version of Shipley's biography

    Download the full length annotated character biography here

    Stories are often told of restless youths running away to join the circus but, at the age of 16, young Richard Shipley actually did. And while he may have only spent a year with the Ringling Brothers Circus before returning home to his family, it was enough time for him to develop an enduring passion for life under the big top. So great was this passion that 20 years later, Shipley returned to the circus as an elephant trainer—an occupation he would hold for the rest of his professional life.

    Image courtesy of Circus World, Baraboo, Wisconsin.

  • Standards and Educational Goals
  • Download Educational Goals and Standards

    Suggested General Activities 

    The Evergreen Cemetery Walk is a great educational program for students to participate in. It is our intention that students will develop an understanding and appreciation for cemeteries as a source for history, that students will begin to understand our local history and its importance, and that students will understand the natural connection between history and the arts. In addition, the Cemetery Walk will help teachers meet a variety of History and English related ISBE Learning Goals and Common Core Standards. 


To read biographies of past cemetery walk characters, visit the biographies page of our online resources.

Questions? Please contact the Museum's Education department 309-827-0428 or via email education@mchistory.org.