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Archive of: Art

Lexington Art Show July 1962

Jack Statz and Jann Thompson Anderson served as judges for an art show held in conjunction with Lexington’s annual homecoming festivities. The landscape they’re chatting about was judged one of the best in the adult professional class. It was painted by Libby James Compton of Clinton, IL, a native of Lexington.

4-H Gathering Undated

These patient 4-H members are waiting for something to wrap up before they can enjoy their meal. Note the needlework in front of them and the quilts behind. This mystery photograph comes from the Museum’s extensive collection of McLean County Home Bureau photographs. The Home Bureau is now known as the McLean County Association for Home and Community Education.

We don’t know the who, what, where, or why of this photograph. If you can help us with identifications, we’d sure appreciate it!

BHS Student Lounge May 1948

Bloomington High School students Wanda Rust (right) and Margaret Schlemmer work on murals in the newly opened student lounge, a repurposed second floor classroom. At this time the high school was located on the 500 block of East Washington Street. The current high school opened in 1959.

Artist and Author Visit Bloomington May 1948

Artist Bob Hooton (left) and writer Dan Wickenden, both fresh from an extended stay in the Central American nation of Guatemala, arrived in Bloomington in mid-May 1948. Hooton, the son of Bloomington architect Phillip Hooton, intended to stay in the Twin Cities for the summer. Wickenden planned to return to his home in Connecticut. Two years later, the dust jacket cover of Wickenden’s novel “The Dry Season” would feature a Hooton painting.

The Great Levant, February 1950 Pianist performs in Bloomington

Oscar Levant (right), the famed American pianist, composer, and actor, performed with the Bloomington-Normal Symphony on two consecutive nights, February 23 and 24, 1950, at the Scottish Rite Temple (now the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts).

Dr. Moate becomes proficient knitter April 1946

Dr. Thomas Moate, who practiced medicine in Gridley for 50 years, picked up knitting at the age of 70. He’s seen here in mid-April 1947 at the age of 74. By this time Moate was bedridden, but knitting helped pass the hours.

“I don’t know what heaven’s like, but if it’s anything like Gridley, I’ll like it,” he told The Pantagraph at the time. Dr. Moate passed away on May 31, 1947 at the age of 75.

Pillsbury House The Wrecking Ball Looms

Second Empire and Italianate architectural style house.

This undated photograph was taken not too long before this historic house, a mix of Second Empire and Italianate architectural styles, was torn down.

Trotter Fountain March 1957

Women standing in front of the Trotter Fountain, 1947.

The Trotter Fountain might be the most significant work of public art in the Twin Cities. The fountain stands near the corner of East and Washington streets in Withers Park, just south of the PNC bank building.

Volunteers: Helping the Museum make history every day

Cane given to Isaiah Dillon.  The dates on the inscription, 1855 – 1905, correspond with Isaiah and Mary Fisher Dillon’s wedding anniversary.

The value of each object the Museum owns isn't measured in monetary terms but rather its provenance. Knowing who owned the object, when and where it was used, and for what purpose, helps us to preserve the history of McLean County.

Photo of the Week, 109: American Passion Play, March 1956

American Passion Play, March 1956

Conceived by Bloomington resident Delmar Darrah, this local production of the American Passion Play is the oldest continuously performed Passion Play in the United States.

A Unique Look At A Hollywood Starlet

Among the many treasures held by the McLean County Museum of History is this portrait of Irene Delroy (pictured above) painted by George Maillard Kesslere in 1929. It hung in the Ithaca, NY, home of her second husband Gerard Oberrender until his death in 1998.

Josephine Sanders was born in Bloomington, IL, on July 21, 1900. She was better known by her stage and screen name, Irene Delroy.

Spring Is In The Air!

In the Garden painting by Nina Kickbusch Griffin

This painting was created by Nina Kickbusch Griffin for the 1937 All-Illinois Society of Fine Arts exhibition at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. The Society would later present the award-winning painting to The Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School (ISSCS) where it would be displayed for several years before making its way to The Museum.

How much influence can a historic event have on popular clothing design?

This flapper* dress, though not a Paris design, is hand stitched and beaded, and was collected by Marlyn Lawrentz, a Bloomington resident who adored vintage clothing. She donated it to the Museum in 1996. The circular patterning around the neckline was influenced by beaded collars, like the one pictured below, that were removed from Tut’s tomb.

The dress pictured here was designed in the 1920s and was most definitely influenced by an archaeological event.The geometric beaded pattern was influenced by Egyptian design, but what was the event?

Collection Highlight: Trench Art

Trench art has been created in a number of places besides battlefield trenches – army hospitals, POW camps, machine shops, and towns and villages miles away from the action. Read this post to learn about some trench art in our collection, made by military personnel from McLean County

Photo of the Week, 47: Seasons Greetings . . . from South of the Border!

Sixty years ago this month, during the 1953 Christmas season, former Bloomington residents Stanley A. and Antoinette McVey were back in town to visit Antoinette's mother Rose Capodice, who lived at 1315 East Grove Street. The McVeys had moved to Odessa, Texas two years earlier to work as agents for State Farm Insurance.

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