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Posts by Beth Whisman

A message from our Museum director

Illinois Bicentennial flag raising kicks off year of programs

Members of the public, elected officials, and the local American Legion Honor Guard/Color Guard pose with the Illinois Bicentennial flag before the ceremony on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. (Photo by Candace Summers)

The State of Illinois will celebrate its 200th birthday on Dec. 3, 2018. To help kick off a yearlong celebration of the Illinois Bicentennial, communities across the state hosted a simultaneous Illinois Bicentennial Flag Raising Ceremony at noon on Monday, Dec. 4, 2017.

Museum, Prairie Pride Coalition host trip to Albert Cashier musical in Chicago

Albert Cashier made national news after doctors discovered his female biological gender after years of living as a man, including years of fighting in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is shown as both a young soldier and a senior later in life.

The McLean County Museum of History is currently taking reservations for a special bus trip to see “The Civility of Albert Cashier”, a limited-run musical that focuses on the life of a Central Illinois Civil War soldier who defied contemporary gender roles. A matinee performance, the show will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, September 17 at Stage 773 in Chicago. A limited number of scholarships for local high school students will be available thanks to the Prairie Pride Coalition.

Born Jennie Irene Hodgers, Albert D.J. Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915) was an Irish-born immigrant who moved to Illinois and lived under a male identity before enlisting in the 95th Illinois Infantry during the American Civil War. Cashier maintained his secret throughout the war and for most of his adult life until a doctor discovered Cashier’s biological gender following an injury. Cashier’s story became famous as one of a number of women soldiers who served as men during the Civil War, however Cashier did not dress in men’s clothing just to join the Army. His male identity was part of his life before and after the war, leading current scholars to reconsider the female narrative that has long framed his legacy.

Jill Hutchison Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

A Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and an internationally respected authority on the game, Jill Hutchison’s first brush with organized athletics was her seventh grade basketball team. But soon after, the self-proclaimed “Army brat” transferred to Germany where she spent three years in a physical education class that featured marching as an appropriate activity for young women. Jill says that disappointing experience would be a motivation for the rest of her career.

Jack Porter Named 2016 History Makers Honoree

Jack Porter’s passion for social justice has defined his life and career over five decades. Inspired by his Christian faith and his experiences while studying in India, Jack has long immersed himself in local struggles to end unfair housing practices, to fight racism, to give legal representation to the poor, and to stop predatory actions that threaten people, neighborhoods, and the environment.

'Making a Home’ exhibit begins new era for Museum

The new

Who are the people who have made McLean County their home? Where did they come from and how did they get here? What did they experience after they arrived?

On Monday, January 18, 2016 the McLean County Museum of History unveiled the new exhibit, "Making A Home", that will help answer these questions. This exhibit is the first in a series of five galleries to open that will eventually make up the larger permanent exhibit "Challenges, Choices, and Change: The People of McLean County."

Executive Director Greg Koos to retire after 39 years of leadership, preservation, vision

Greg Koos began his career with the Museum in 1977. He plans to retire in March next year.

As the McLean County Museum of History prepares for major exhibit and technology changes that usher in a new era of teaching and promoting local history, the man who -- working with his mentor Barbara Dunbar -- transformed the McLean County Historical Society’s operations into a nationally accredited museum has announced his plans to retire.

The Tilbury Flash on display at Central Illinois Regional Airport

The Tilbury Flash is hanging above the passenger side waiting area of the CIRA terminal.

The McLean County Museum of History’s largest artifact, the Tilbury Flash racing plane, has officially arrived at the Central Illinois Regional Airport terminal.

Merlin Kennedy, 2015 McLean County History Maker

Merlin Kennedy

The local story of the American Civil Rights Movement cannot be told without a chapter on Merlin Kennedy. His unique style of leadership and bold demonstrations against segregation made national headlines as the nation struggled to redefine race relations.

Peg and John Kirk, 2015 McLean County History Makers

John and Peg Kirk

The first scene of Peg and John Kirk's enduring love story would start in the fifth grade. John loved Peg. Peg was annoyed.

Sonja Reece, 2015 McLean County History Maker

Sonja Reece

A Missouri native, Sonja Reece chose to make Normal her home in 1973. This choice would have a significant impact not only on her family, but also the larger community that would come to know the unyielding positive energy that would be Sonja's trademark.

10 things you should know about the Extending Excellence Campaign

Extending Excellence campaign graphic

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