Lunch & Learn: Creating a Sensory Garden with U of I Extension Brittnay Haag
Thursday, April 11th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Bring your lunch and join us to learn about sensory gardens with U of I Extension educator Brittnay Haag on Thursday, April 11,...

Lunch & Learn
Wet or Dry? Prohibition in McLean County at Cheney's Grove Township Library
Thursday, April 11th
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Join Candace Summers, Senior Director of Education at the McLean County Museum of History, for an illustrated program about Pro...

"Connect the Dots" with Autism McLean at the Museum
Saturday, April 6th
3:00pm – 5:00pm

Kick-off Autism Awareness Month with this Autism Friendly Community "Connect the Dots" Event hosted at the Museum by ...

Museum Closed for Staff Development Day
Wednesday, April 3rd

The Museum and its Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center & Gift Shop closes for a day once every quarter to hold...

2024 History Makers Honoree Reveal
Wednesday, March 27th
11:00am – 12:00pm

Join us on Wednesday, March 27 at 11 a.m. in the Museum's Courtroom, or live online via the ...

50 Years of Women's Rights: an Interactive and Intergenerational Exploration
Saturday, March 23rd
2:00pm – 4:00pm

The Museum and League of Women Voters of McLean County are excited to welcome folks of all ages to join us on Saturday,...

Electric Vehicles Town Hall presented by the EVTown Steering Committee and the MCLP Electrifiers
Saturday, March 16th
1:00pm – 4:00pm

The Museum is excited to host a town hall meeting on electric vehicles, organized and presented by the EVTown Steering Committe...

Lunch and Learn: "The Greening of the Prairie", Irish Immigration into the upper Midwest with Greg Koos
Thursday, March 14th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Bring your lunch and join us to learn more about the history of Irish immigration in the Midwest from the Museum's Executi...

Women's History Month
Friday, March 1st – Sunday, March 31st

Discover Local Women's History at the McLean County Museum of History! The Museum's latest Rotunda Installatio...

To Be a Writer, One Must Be a Reader: The Life and Work of Clara Louise Kessler at Cheney's Grove Township Library
Monday, February 26th
11:00am – 12:00pm

Clara Louise Kessler was an author, a teacher, and a librarian who had a lifelong interest in books, poetry, songs, and childre...

Growing Up Gen X with Erica Holst
Saturday, February 24th
2:00pm – 3:30pm

Join us online and in person on Saturday, February 24, at 2 p.m. to explore what it meant to grow up as "Gen X&quo...

Online + In Person
Crafting History: Fun with Fragrance
Tuesday, February 20th
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Join us for Crafting History: Fun with Fragrance on Tuesday, February 20, at 6 p.m. to create your ow...

Online + In Person
Knit In at Normal Public Library
Saturday, February 17th
10:00am – 1:00pm

Calling ALL Knitters and Crocheters, grab your needles and hooks, some yarn, a friend or two, and come and knit for a bit!...

The Bloomington-Normal Black History Project Presents: A Reunion: Neighbors, Friends and Musicians
Saturday, February 17th
1:00pm – 2:30pm

The Bloomington- Normal Black History Project Presents:A Reunion: Neighbors, Friends and Musici...

Online + In Person
Museum Closed for Staff Development Day
Wednesday, February 14th

The Museum and its Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center & Gift Shop closes for a day once every quarter to hold...

The Bloomington-Normal Black History Project Presents: A Reunion: The Booker T. Washington Home
Saturday, February 10th
1:00pm – 2:00pm

The Bloomington- Normal Black History Project Presents:A Reunion: Neighbors, Friends and Musici...

Online + In Person
Lunch & Learn: Game Development with Ben Rosset and Jamie Mathy
Thursday, February 8th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Learn about the ongoing board game renaissance with local game designer Ben Rosset and owner of Red Racoon Games, Jamie Mathy, ...

Lunch & Learn
Online + In Person
History Reads Book Club: "Mary Jane's Ghost: The Legacy of a Murder in Small Town America" by Ted Gregory
Tuesday, February 6th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

We're kicking off the 2024 History Reads Book Club season with a special, joint meeting with the True Crime Book Club to d...

Online + In Person
Tour de Chocolat
Friday, February 2nd
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Stop by the Museum anytime from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, February 2, to enjoy samplings of local chocolate and learn more about the ...

MLK Day Free Admission to the Museum
Monday, January 15th
9:00am – 5:00pm

Enjoy free admission all day on the MLK Day Holiday Monday, January 15th. We invite to reflect and learn about our local histor...

Lunch & Learn: Bloomington's Streetcar Era with Librarian Bill Kemp
Thursday, January 11th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Did you know trolley cars plied the streets of the Twin Cities from the years after the Civil War into the Great Depression? Pr...

Lunch & Learn
Crafting History: Embroidering Festive Felt Ornaments
Tuesday, December 19th
6:00pm – 7:30pm

Join us for Crafting History: Embroidering Festive Felt Ornaments on Tuesday, December 19, at 6 p.m. ...

Lunch & Learn: Relocating the Nativity in Song and Celebration with Adriana Ponce
Thursday, December 14th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Bring your lunch and head over to the Museum (or to youtube....

Lunch & Learn
Online + In Person
Christmas Under the Dome: Saturday Celebration
Saturday, December 2nd
11:00am – 2:00pm

Join the Museum on Friday AND Saturday for free, festive fun during Christmas Under the Dome!F...

First Friday: Christmas Under the Dome
Friday, December 1st
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Join the Museum on Friday AND Saturday for free, festive fun during Christmas Under the Dome!...

Knit In at the Museum
Saturday, November 18th
10:00am – 1:00pm

We are back in person! We will be holding the final Knit In of 2023 at the Museum on Saturday, November 18 from 10:00 a.m. unti...

Internationalism and the Twin Cities: The Work of Architect A. Richard Williams
Thursday, November 16th
6:00pm

The Old House Society will be hosting the Museum's Librarian, Bill Kemp, for a program on the architecture of A. Richard W...

No Crybabies Allowed: Book Reading and Signing with Terri Ryburn
Tuesday, November 14th
6:30pm

The Museum is pleased to welcome author Terri Ryburn, who will do a reading and signing of her book No Crybabies Allowed: T...

Online + In Person
Claire Rousay in Concert featuring Emily How Presented by pt.fwd
Thursday, November 9th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

Claire Rousay is based in Los Angeles. Her music zeroes in on perso...

Lunch and Learn: The Art of the Rug with Hossein Nateghpour
Thursday, November 9th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Bring your lunch and head over to the Museum (or to youtube.com/@mchistorymu...

Lunch & Learn
History Reads Book Club: When Women Played Hardball
Wednesday, November 8th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

All are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Wednesday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. for the final installm...

History Reads Book Club
Online + In Person
Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Friday, November 3rd – Thursday, November 30th
9:00am

The Museum, in partnership with Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Broadleaf Media, and Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes, is thrilled t...

Online only
Merwin Gallery Reopening Reception
Friday, November 3rd
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Join us to celebrate the reopening of the Merwin Gallery on Friday, November 3, 2023 from 5-8 p.m. during the the ...

Unconquerable: The Kickapoo of Central Illinois
Thursday, November 2nd
7:00pm

The Kickapoo, a fiercely independent people, inhabited this stretch of Central Illinois when the first Euro-American settlers a...

Online only
Día de Muertos Celebration
Wednesday, November 1st
4:00pm – 7:00pm

Celebrate Día de Muertos with us on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, from 4-7 p.m. All ages are welcome to this fr...

Member Appreciation Month
Wednesday, November 1st – Thursday, November 30th

Members make our mission a reality. To express our gratitude, we are offering a month filled with member-exclusive events, dis...

Untold African American Stories: Springfield's Lincoln Colored Home
Saturday, October 28th
1:30pm – 2:30pm

A seemingly ordinary vacant brick building with shuttered windows sits on South 12th Street in Springfield. This building once ...

Online + In Person
Downtown Trick or Treat
Friday, October 27th
5:00pm – 8:00pm

Spooky season is upon us, and the Museum is excited to once again participate in the annual Downtown Bloomington Trick or Treat...

CLOSED -- Staff Development Day
Thursday, October 26th

We are closed to the public today for a Staff Development Day. We apologize for any inconvenience. We will reopen Friday, Octob...

The Lincoln Miracle: An Evening with Ed Achorn
Tuesday, October 24th
6:30pm – 8:00pm

The Museum is pleased to welcome back Edward Achorn, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Commentary, for a hybrid program on...

Online + In Person
Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference
Thursday, October 19th – Sunday, October 22nd
11:00am – 11:00am

The Miles of Possibility organization will kick off their eighth annual Route 66 Conference scheduled for Bloomington-Normal Oc...

Crafting History: Practicing Pinch Pots
Tuesday, October 17th
6:00pm – 7:30pm

Join the Museum for our fourth installment in the Crafting History series to learn about the history of ceramic crafts and make...

Historic Marker Dedication for the Old Soldier's Monument in Briarwood Subdivision
Tuesday, October 17th
10:30am – 11:30am

Join us to dedicate a new descriptive marker at the site of a previously unmarked Civil War memorial remnant in Bloomington...

Light up the Museum Square for Latinx Heritage Month
Friday, October 13th – Sunday, October 15th
5:00pm

Head down to the Museum Square to check out our light display in honor of Latinx Heritage Month, starting at dusk on Friday, Oc...

Lincoln in 1859: Testing the Waters and Advancing the Cause with Guy Fraker
Thursday, October 12th
12:10pm – 12:50pm

Grab your lunch and head to the Museum for our next Lunch & Learn with local author and historian Guy Fraker. Fraker will p...

Lunch & Learn
The State of Hate
Tuesday, October 10th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

This program will feature the Anti-Defamation League Midwest Associate Regional Director Trent Spoolstra, who will discuss the ...

Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Sunday, October 8th
11:00am – 1:00pm 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 30 and October 1, and October 7-8 with performances at 11...

Online + In Person
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Saturday, October 7th
11:00am – 1:00pm October 7th at 2:00pm – April 12th at 4:00pm

The 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 30 and October 1, and October 7-8 with performances at 11...

Online + In Person
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Sunday, October 1st
11:00am – 1:00pm 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 30 and October 1, and October 7-8 with performances at 11...

Online + In Person
Museum at the Market
Saturday, September 30th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Saturday, September 30th
11:00am – 1:00pm 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 30 and October 1, and October 7-8 with performances at 11...

Online + In Person
Museum at the Market
Saturday, September 23rd
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Ballists, Dead Beats, and Muffins: Inside Early Baseball in Illinois
Saturday, September 16th
1:30pm – 2:30pm

Join us to explore baseball's growth post-Civil War and Central Illinois' unique contributions to the early game at 1...

Online + In Person
Lunch & Learn: Introducing the 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk
Thursday, September 14th
12:10pm – 12:50pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History for the first Lunch & Learn of the 2023-2024 season with the Museum's Senior ...

Online + In Person
The Politics of Labels: Latino, Latinx, Hispanic, and What Else; The view from the Heartland
Tuesday, September 12th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

The Museum is excited to host another installment of "The Politics of Labels: Latino, Latinx, Hispanic, and What Else"...

Online + In Person
Evergreen Cemetery Walk Tickets On Sale
Tuesday, September 5th – Sunday, October 8th
9:00am

Ticket sales for the 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Museum or Evergree...

Online + In Person
Museum closed for Labor Day holiday
Monday, September 4th

The Museum will reopen on Tuesday, September 5 at 9:00 a.m....

Museum at the Market
Saturday, September 2nd
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Lacto-Fermentation 101: DIY Kimchi with the University of Illinois Extension -REGISTRATION CLOSED!
Tuesday, August 29th
5:30pm – 6:30pm

Using cabbage grown in the Museum's "Seeds of History" Victory Garden at the ...

Crafting History: Wonders of Weaving
Wednesday, August 23rd
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Join us again for Crafting History on August 23 at 6 PM! We'll have our expert historic crafter and Curat...

Online + In Person
Museum at the Illinois State Fair
Saturday, August 19th
9:00am – 4:00pm

What’s better than cattle shows, corn dogs, giant slides, and cows made completely out of butter? All of those things plus fun ...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, August 19th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Museum Closed for Staff Development Day
Thursday, August 17th

The Museum will reopen on Friday, August 18 at 9:00 a.m....

Bloomington Stars Took Flight at the YMCA marker unveiling
Saturday, August 12th
2:00pm

The Bloomington Stars Take Flight, in collaboration with the McLean County Museum of History, Milner Library at Illinois State ...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, August 5th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

CANCELED- Knit In at Hangar Art Co.
Saturday, August 5th
10:00am – 1:00pm

...

Marker Dedication: Booker T. Washington Home
Thursday, August 3rd
11:00am – 12:00pm

The McLean County Museum of History, in collaboration with the City of Bloomington and the Illinois State The McLean County Mus...

History Reads Book Club: Wreck of the Columbia
Tuesday, August 1st
7:00pm – 8:00pm

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, August 1 at 7:00 p.m. for the third ...

History Reads Book Club
PRIDE Fest
Saturday, July 29th
4:00pm – 10:00pm

The Bistro's fifth annual PRIDE Fest will be on Saturday, July 29, 2023, from 4-10 p.m. around the Museum Square and outsi...

Light up the Museum Square for PRIDE Fest
Friday, July 28th – Sunday, July 30th
5:00pm

Head down to the Museum Square to check out our rainbow light display for Bloomington's PRIDE Fest, starting at dusk on Fr...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, July 22nd
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Historic Marker Dedication: Simon Malone & Normal's First African American Residents
Thursday, July 20th
11:30am – 12:30pm

The McLean County Museum of History will dedicate a new historical marker created to share the story of Normal's early Afr...

The ISU Quad: Gateway to the Wider World
Saturday, July 15th
11:00am – 1:00pm

SOLD OUT! We have started a waiting list for this tour in case of any last minute cancellations. If you would...

Futures in History Day Camp Session 2
Monday, July 10th – Friday, July 14th

This out-of-this-world, 5-day camp experience includes facilitation by Museum staff and other experts, all materials needed for...

Route 66 Art Trail Scavenger Hunt
Friday, July 7th
5:00pm – 8:00pm 8:30am – 5:00pm

Visit the Museum, other Downtown Bloomington businesses, art galleries, and studio spaces to get your Route 66 kicks during the...

Museum Closed for Fourth of July
Tuesday, July 4th

The Museum and its Crusin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors' Center will be closed in observance of Independence Day on Ju...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, July 1st
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Back 2 School Supply Drive
Saturday, July 1st – Friday, August 4th
9:00am – 5:00pm

Back 2 School Supply Drive – We Need your Help!Now through August 4, the Museum will be participating i...

Crafting History: Dyeing with Dinner Scraps
Wednesday, June 28th
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Our next Crafting History will be on June 28th at 6pm. Crafting History: Dyeing with Dinner Scraps will bring the process of so...

Online only
Kickapoo Marker Dedication
Thursday, June 22nd
10:00am – 11:00pm

The McLean County Museum of History, in partnership with the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Illinois State Historical Society, and M...

2023 History Makers Gala
Wednesday, June 21st
5:30pm

Join us in celebrating the legacies of our 2023 History Makers (Dotti Bushnell, Mary & Hank Campbell, Willie and Charles Ha...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, June 17th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Juneteenth Community Celebration
Saturday, June 17th – Friday, April 12th
12:00pm – 6:30pm

Please join us for a day of celebration, information & inspiration during this year'sJuneteenth Celebration - Feat...

Spoken Word: An Evening with Shatriya Smith - Poet Laureate of Springfield
Thursday, June 15th
6:00pm – 8:00pm

In recognition of Juneteenth, the Coalescence Theatre Project and the Bloomington-Normal Black History Project, an affiliate or...

Futures in History Day Camp Session 1
Monday, June 12th – Friday, June 16th

This out-of-this-world, 5-day camp experience includes facilitation by Museum staff and other experts, all materials needed for...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, June 3rd – Friday, April 12th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Join us at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market. Stop by the Museum’s plaza on Washington Street to purchase all your local...

Pride in the Park
Friday, June 2nd
12:00pm – 3:00pm

Join the Museum and our community partners, Bloomington Public Library and Normal Public Library, at the Franklin Park Bookmobi...

Guided Social Justice Walking Tour
Thursday, June 1st
5:30pm – 7:30pm

The Museum is proud to launch its new Social Justice Walking Tour website in partnership with Not In Our Town (NIOT), thanks to...

PRIDE Flag Display
Thursday, June 1st – Friday, June 30th

The month of June has long been LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in honor of the Stonewall riots, which took place in New York City in June...

Museum Closed for Memorial Day
Monday, May 29th

The Museum and its Route 66 Crusin' with Lincoln Visitors' Center and Gift Shop will be closed in observance of Memor...

History of Beer in Bloomington
Saturday, May 20th
10:00am – 11:00am

Have you ever wondered how the beer scene in Bloomington, Illinois came to be? Could there be a juicy story tucked in there som...

Zoom: Lunch & Learn: Combating High Energy Costs with Energy Efficiency and Solar
Thursday, May 11th – Friday, April 12th
12:10pm – 12:50pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History and Illinois Wesleyan University for the final Lunch & Learn of the 2022-2023 seas...

Lunch & Learn
2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk Auditions
Tuesday, May 9th
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Announcing auditions for the 2023 Evergreen Cemetery Walk! Auditions will be held on Tuesday, May 9 from 6:00pm until 8:...

Open Sunday - Special Museum Hours
Sunday, May 7th
10:00am – 2:00pm

The Museum and its Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitors' Center and Gift Shop will be open from 10 AM to 2 PM on Sund...

Knit In at Illinois Art Station
Saturday, May 6th – Friday, April 12th
10:00am – 1:00pm

We are back in person! We will be holding the second Knit In of 2023 at Illinois Art Station on Saturday, May 6 from 10:00 a.m....

Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Saturday, May 6th – Friday, April 12th
4:00pm – 10:00pm

There’s no better way to spend a May afternoon than with savory barbeque, delicious drinks and live music in Downtown Bloomingt...

Museum at the Market
Saturday, May 6th – Saturday, October 28th
9:00am – 12:00pm

Every Saturday May through October 9:00 to 12:00 p.m. Museum at the Market The Museum opens at 8:30 a.m. to all visitors, with ...

History Reads Book Club: Sweet Greeks: First-Generation Immigrant Confectioners in the Heartland
Tuesday, May 2nd – Friday, April 12th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m. for the second in...

History Reads Book Club
Futures in History Day Camp Registration Opens
Tuesday, May 2nd – Wednesday, May 31st

This out-of-this-world, 5-day camp experience includes facilitation by Museum staff and other experts, all materials needed for...

An afternoon with Angela Jackson
Saturday, April 29th
2:00pm – 3:00pm

In recognition of National Library Week, the Museum, in partnership with Normal Public Library and Illinois Humanities, are ple...

Online + In Person
Visit the Buseum on Museum Square!
Tuesday, April 25th
2:00pm – 7:00pm

A group of German students are bringing their innovative mobile exhibit about climate change to Downtown Bloomington on the Mus...

Sembrando Raíces: Oral Histories of Latinos in Central Illinois
Friday, April 21st – Saturday, April 22nd
3:00pm – 12:00am 3:00pm – 5:00pm 9:00am – 12:00pm

This two-day conference, on April 21st and 22nd, is being organized and supported by Illinois State University's Departmen...

Museum Closed for Staff Development Day
Thursday, April 20th
9:00am – 5:00pm

The Museum will reopen on Friday, April 21 at 9:00 a.m....

Crafting History: Remembering Rag Rugs
Wednesday, April 19th
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History and the McLean County Arts Center for the first installment of Crafting History: Remem...

Online only
pt.fwd presents NCHS Experimental Ensemble
Saturday, April 15th
7:00pm – 8:00pm

On Saturday, April 15 at 7:00 p.m., the Museum, is pleased to once again host the Normal Community High School Experimental Ens...

Slow Art Day on Route 66
Saturday, April 15th – Friday, April 12th
10:00am – 2:00pm

The Museum is excited to join 15 other local arts organizations in celebrating Slow Art Day on April 15th from 10 am to 2 pm. W...

Lunch & Learn: Quirky Sites in Illinois
Thursday, April 13th – Friday, April 12th
12:10pm – 1:00pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History and Illinois Wesleyan University for the eighth Lunch & Learn of the 2023 season w...

Online + In Person
Lunch & Learn
ACLU presents: Civil Liberties in the 19th century McLean County with Greg Koos
Tuesday, April 11th
7:00pm – 8:30pm

Greg Koos, AuthorExecutive Director EmeritusMcLean County Museum of HistoryKoos will review the sto...

Online + In Person
Holi Moli!
Saturday, April 8th
2:00pm – 6:00pm

HOLI MOLI!! Come to NCHS South Asian Performing Arts club's first community-wide Holi celebration, honoring the changing o...

Eggs on the Square
Saturday, April 8th
9:00am – 11:00am

Eggs on the Square is free community-wide Easter event for all ages!The Easter egg hunts will take place between 9:15–10:15...

YWCA Sexual Assault Awareness Month Clothesline Project
Saturday, April 1st – Saturday, April 29th
9:00am – 5:00pm

The McLean County Museum of History is honored to once again partner with YWCA’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month for the 2023 Cl...

Autism Friendly Community Event
Saturday, April 1st
3:00pm – 5:00pm

WHERE: McLean County Museum of HistoryWHEN: 3-5 pmWHO: At least 150 of you who would like to help us recreate our...

For kids
Light up the Museum Square for Autism Awareness
Friday, March 31st – Sunday, April 2nd
5:00pm – 5:00pm

The Museum is pleased to partner with Autism McLean to light up the Museum Square for Autism Awareness Month. Autism McLean was...

2023 History Makers -- Honoree Reveal
Thursday, March 30th
11:00am

The McLean County Museum of History will reveal the names of six recipients of the 2023 History Makers award at a press confere...

Online + In Person
My Museum with Bloomington Public Library
Tuesday, March 28th – Friday, April 12th
2:00pm – 3:00pm

The McLean County Museum of History is partnering with the Bloomington Public Library to present My Museum, a program which aim...

Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair
Saturday, March 25th – Friday, April 12th
1:30pm – 3:00pm

The Museum and Bloomington Public Library are pleased to host Catherine Lambrecht, program director for the Highland Park Histo...

Online + In Person
Zoom - MCGS hosts Debra Dudek for " Researching your Irish Ancestors Online"
Tuesday, March 21st
6:00pm – 8:00pm

Please join the McLean County Historical Society (MCGS) for an informative discussion with Debra Dukdek, author of World War I ...

Online only
pt.fwd presents Jeremy Young
Sunday, March 19th – Friday, April 12th
4:00pm – 5:00pm

The Museum is please to host another sound artist as part of pt.fwd's fifth season! Jeremy Young is a maker of electroacou...

Pins and Needles: A Fiber Arts Celebration with Normal and Bloomington Public Libraries
Saturday, March 18th – Friday, April 12th
2:00pm – 4:00pm

Are you a needlework novice thinking about a new hobby? Or a seasoned crafter looking for some new techniques? Explore the wide...

NONOpera- L's GA: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
Saturday, March 4th
7:00pm – 8:30pm

The Museum is pleased to host NONopera for a performance featuring original compositions by regional artists that offers a new ...

Knit In at Normal Public Library
Saturday, February 25th
10:00am – 1:00pm

We are back in person! We will be holding the first Knit In of 2023 at Normal Public Library on Saturday, February 25 from 10:0...

Echoes of Purple and Gold with Jack Keefe
Saturday, February 11th
2:00pm – 3:00pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History and Bloomington bread author Jack Keefe for a brief presentation, Q&A, and book si...

Being Innovative in Bloomington-Normal w/ Jamie Mathy and Kevin McCarthy
Thursday, February 9th
12:10pm – 12:50pm

Join the McLean County Museum of History for the second Lunch & Learn of 2023 with Jamie Mathy and Kevin McCarthy on Februa...

Lunch & Learn
Tour de Chocolat 2023
Friday, February 3rd
5:00pm – 8:00pm

The Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center and McLean County Museum of History are pleased to once again participate in thi...

Every Tuesday at 5:00pm

Old Time Music (Jam Session)

Join the Old Time Music group every Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Museum. A laid back and diverse group of musi...

Lunch and Learn - Trees: the EAC's Tree Corps Ecology Action Center Initiative as a Public Health and Economic Development Strategy

Thursday, January 12, 2023
12:10 PM

Ecosystem Services From Michael Brown, Executive Director

Trees: the EAC's Tree Corps Ecology Action Center Initiative as a Public Health and Economic Development Strategy

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown will give an overview of the rapid growth of the Tree Corps, the EAC's effort to plant at least 10,000 trees annually for at least 10 years in a row. Trees are the most cost-effective means to improve local air quality and simultaneously help ensure continued economic growth in the Bloomington-Normal and McLean County community.  To watch the live stream please click on the link.  https://www.youtube.com/@mchis...

Museum Closed for New Years

Friday, December 30, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum and the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed from Friday, December 30, 2022 through Monday, January 2, 2023 for the New Years holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.

Museum Closed for Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum and the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed from Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26 in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday, December 27.

Museum will be closed due to incoming inclement weather on Thursday Dec 22

Thursday, December 22, 2022
9:00 AM

Museum will be closed due to incoming inclement weather on Thursday Dec 22

Bloomington- the McLean County Museum of History and Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed on Thursday, December 22 due to the incoming inclement weather later in the day.  

Please have a safe and enjoyable holiday and do not travel if you do not need to during the storm.

Christmas Schedule:

The Museum and the Visitors Center will be closed from Friday, December 23 through Monday, December 26 in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday, December 27.

New Year’s Schedule:

The Museum and the Visitors Center will be closed from Friday, December 30, 2022, through Monday, January 2, 2023, for the New Year’s holiday. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.


My Museum: a Museum Themed Storytime

Tuesday, December 20, 2022
2:00 PM

The McLean County Museum of History is partnering with Bloomington Public Library to present My Museum, a virtual program helping children learn about museums. Children will participate in activities and discussions about museums and exhibits based on the books, A Girl in a Museum World by Tellie Simpson and Milo’s Museum by Zetta Elliot. Participants will then create their own self-portrait and explore curation by gathering and labeling personal items that tell their story.

Beginning December 6, registration can be completed online at bit.ly/bplmymuseum, by calling 309.590.6155, or in person at the Children’s Services Desk at the Library.

Online only
For kids
Stocking Stuffing Saturday

Saturday, December 17, 2022
10:00 AM

Stuck on what to put in those holiday stockings? Come shop downtown Bloomington to get some fantastic stocking stuffer ideas. The Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center will be hosting a Pop-Up shop by Labyrinth Made Goods from 10-2. Shop and smell Labyrinth's uniquely scented 100% soy wax premium candles. You will also have the opportunity hear the empowering message behind Labyrinth Made Goods from the women of Labyrinth themselves.

Here's another stocking stuffer idea for you -- RGW Candy! RGW Candy Company has a long history in Central Illinois… and you know we love to support local! These Atlanta, Illinois-made candies are a sweet addition to any stocking. We carry mixed berry bark, dark chocolate mint, peppermint bark, sea salt caramel, and more! To be honest, it’s impossible to pick a favorite because they are all melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can't go wrong!

Lunch and Learn - Seasonal Choral Music with Scott Ferguson, Professor of Music, the Illinois Wesleyan Director, IWU Collegiate Choir

Thursday, December 8, 2022
12:10 PM

Seasonal Choral Music with Scott Ferguson, Professor of Music

the Illinois Wesleyan Director, IWU Collegiate Choir

University Collegiate Choir

The Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir will present a brief program of

seasonal choral music featuring compositions by Palestrina, Sweelinck, Mendelssohn,

Dunphy, Wishart, Thalben-Ball, and others. The audience will be invited to join the

choir in singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," and "O Come, All Ye Faithful."

The performance will be live streamed on the Museum's Youtube channel.

Christmas under the Dome

Saturday, December 3, 2022
11:00 AM

The Museum is excited to once again host this community event, which begins immediately following the Jaycees’ Parade and the arrival of Santa. Join us for activities at BOTH the Museum and The Hangar Art Co. on the Museum’s Square. Stop by the Museum for musical performances on the first floor rotunda, Christmas cookies, and hot apple cider. Greg Koos will also be on hand to sign copies of his book. Then, walk over to The Hangar Art Co. on Jefferson Street to visit Santa, make a beaded snowflake craft, and grab a bag of cookies to take home! Don’t miss this free family friendly event!

Music at the Museum will be as follows

11:00 - 11:30 Marcos Mendez

11:30 - 12:15 pm Windsong

12:30 - 1:15 pm Loving Missionary Choir

1:30 - 2:15 Sound of Illinois Chorus

First Friday: Once Upon a Holiday

Friday, December 2, 2022
5:00 PM

Join the Museum for a variety of free, family friendly activities including our Santa on the Square photo op, Tree Lighting on the lawn with the City of Bloomington, and live holiday music by Marcos Mendez. We will have adult eggnog, hot apple cider, and Christmas cookies in the Museum’s rotunda, plus celebrity readings of “Twas the night before Christmas” with Dr. Kristen Weikle, Unit 5 Superintendent, at 6:00 and Dr. David Mouser (District 87 Superintendent) and Amie Mouser (Media Specialist at Tri Valley schools) at 7:00 p.m. 

You don’t want to miss this evening filled with free fun for the whole family! 

From McLean to Mobile: A History of the “The McLean County Regiment”

Tuesday, November 29, 2022
6:30 PM

The Museum, in partnership with the McLean County Genealogical Society and Bloomington Public Library, are pleased to host author and historian William Iseminger, for a presentation on his newest book, From McLean to Mobile: A History of the 94th Illinois Infantry Regiment Volunteers, 1862-1865, “The McLean Regiment” on Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 p.m. This free, hybrid program will be held in the Museum’s second floor courtroom and live streamed through the Museum’s YouTube channel

Iseminger’s book follows “The McLean County Regiment” from their commissioning in Bloomington, Illinois, in August 1862, through their three years of service in the Union Army. They began training and skirmishing in Missouri, participated in the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, conflicts in Louisiana, garrison duty in Brownsville, Texas, and finally the sieges and battles of Fort Morgan and Spanish Fort in Mobile Bay, Alabama. They mustered out of service in Galveston, Texas, and returned home to McLean County in August 1865.

Iseminger’s research for the book began many years ago when he transcribed the letters and diaries of two of his great-grandfathers who were in the regiment; Tubal Wile Iseminger of Heyworth and Harrison H. Clark of Randolph Station. Over the years, Iseminger located eight more diaries and 257 letters from 22 additional soldiers in the 94th, as well as two oral histories by soldiers, and other sources. Using all of these, he has written a day-by-day account of the regiment’s journey, using the diary entries to create a daily narrative of their activities, battles and encounters, travels, health, the weather, and their thoughts and observations about the people and places they saw. The narrative is enhanced by inserting the transcriptions of their letters on the days they were written, providing more details about their experiences.

William Iseminger was born in Bloomington, Illinois, and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He majored in anthropology in college, receiving his BA from the University of Oklahoma and his MA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He participated in excavations in South Dakota and several locations in Illinois. Bill began working in Illinois archaeology in 1967 when he began his career on a crew at Dickson Mounds. In 1971, he began a 48 ½ year career at Cahokia Mounds as an archaeologist and was instrumental in the research, planning, and implementation of the exhibits of both the on-site museum in the 70s and the Interpretive Center, which opened in 1989. He retired as Assistant Site Manager in December 2019. In addition to this publication, he is the author of numerous magazine articles, book chapters, and Cahokia Mounds: America’s First City (2010) and Identifying and Understanding Artifacts from Illinois and Neighboring States (2014).

Rather than being a detailed military history of the unit, the book is more of a personalized history of the Regiment, from their own views and mostly in their own words. The book has over 100 full-color and black-and-white illustrations, photos, and maps, and includes a roster of all the soldiers in the Regiment. Copies of the book will be available for purchase for $35.00 plus tax, and book signing will immediately follow the program. For more information, please contact education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

Online + In Person
Museum Closed in Recognition of Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum and the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed in recognition of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24.

Zoom Lunch and Learn- Wastewater Today with Tim Ervin, Executive Director Bloomington Normal Water Reclamation District (BNWRD)

Thursday, November 10, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, November 10 at 12:10 p.m., join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the second Lunch and Learn of the 2022-2023 season, which will explore the wastewater treatment process in our community with Tim Ervin, Executive Director of the Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District (BNWRD). This installment will be held via Zoom. To register to attend, please click here.

Wastewater treatment is a process to reduce pollutants from sewage and transform the sewage into an effluent that can be returned to the water cycle. This program will discuss the origin of wastewater treatment in Bloomington-Normal and its evolution to the modern wastewater treatment facilities in operation today. The presentation will also provide a glimpse of the current and future challenges faced in the wastewater industry, and local actions currently underway to address these issues.

Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab some lunch from your favorite restaurant and join us from wherever you are for this fascinating program!

World War II Memorial Rededication

Saturday, November 5, 2022
1:00 PM

The Museum invites the public to a rededication of the World War II memorial at 1:00 p.m. November 5, 2022, on the east side of the Museum Square. This will be the 25th anniversary for the Memorial. Plans include a military flyover, music, reading of names, and a Military Honor Guard and flag presentation. Plans are in the works to also dedicate a Korean and Vietnam memorial for those soldiers who gave their lives in support of freedom. Bronze tablets have been added to the WWII memorial with raised lettering to better honor our fallen heroes. Additional finishing touches will take place before the November ceremony. We will also be announcing additional historic marker renovation projects in the county. Donations from the community may be made online at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/MarkerMatch

Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Friday, November 4, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum, in partnership with Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes, are thrilled to be able to continue offering the Evergreen Cemetery Walk online! From November 4 through 6, 2022 the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be streaming online through the Museum's YouTube channel. Click here to access the video recording of the Walk, which will be viewable for FREE to anyone, anywhere. 

This would not have been possible without support from this year's sponsors: Featured Sponsors - Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, Cumulus Radio Bloomington, Pantagraph Media; Premium Sponsors - Deanna Frautshi & Alan Bedell, CEFCU, Heartland Bank & Trust, WGLT, Illinois Farm Bureau, MCK CPAs & Advisors, Bloomington-Normal Convention & Visitors Bureau; Basic Sponsors - McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Dunbar, Breitweiser & Company, LLP., The Painted Wraith Curiosity Shoppe, LLC, and support from our members.

If you would like to make a donation to support the Museum and our ability to continue to present the Evergreen Cemetery Walk online in the future, please click here.

Questions? Or for more information, please contact the Museum's Education Department at education@mchistory.org. 

Online only
Trapped: The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster

Tuesday, November 1, 2022
7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. for the final installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2022. This hybrid discussion will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History and online via Zoom to discuss Trapped! The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster by Karen Tintori. Visit bit.ly/bplhistoryvirtual1122 to register for the online discussion or bit.ly/bplhistoryinperson1122 to participate in person.

Inspired by a refrain of her girlhood—”Your grandfather survived the Cherry Mine disaster”—Karen Tintori began a search for her family’s role in the
harrowing tragedy of 1909. She uncovered the stories of victims, survivors, widows, orphans, townspeople, firefighters, reporters, and mine owners, and wove them together to pen Trapped, a riveting account of the tragic day that would inspire America’s first worker’s compensation laws and hasten much-needed child labor reform.

On a Saturday morning in November of 1909, four hundred and eighty men went down into the mines as they had countless times before. But a fire
erupted in the mine shaft that day and soon burned out of control. By nightfall, more than half the men would either be dead or trapped as officials sealed the mine in an attempt to contain the blaze. Miraculously, twenty men would emerge one week later, but not before the Cherry Mine disaster went down in history as the worst ever coal mine fire in the US—and not before all the treachery and heroism of mankind were revealed.

To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-828-6093 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

Online + In Person
History Reads Book Club
Light up the Museum Square for Halloween

Friday, October 28, 2022
5:01 PM

Head down to the Museum Square to check out our festive Halloween light display, using our very own building to light the night! Lights start at dusk on October 28 and will stay on through October 30. Grab some treats (but hopefully no tricks) and head down to check out the display!

Downtown Trick or Treat

Friday, October 28, 2022
5:00 PM

Don your best costume, grab your candy bucket, and head to Downtown Bloomington where a variety of businesses will be handing out lots of treats! Stop by the Museum's booth on the Museum Square where we will be handing out non-candy treats as part of the Teal Pumpkin Project, and hosting some Halloween Trivia where you can win fabulous prizes!

Look for a complete listing of all participating businesses and local nonprofits coming soon by visiting the Downtown Bloomington's website at https://www.downtownbloomington.org/

For kids
Día de los Muertos Ofrenda

Monday, October 24, 2022
10:00 AM

Visit the first floor of the McLean County Museum of History from Monday, October 24 through Thursday, November 3 to view an ofrenda in celebration of Día de los Muertos!

During Día de los Muertos, the spirits of deceased loved ones return to the mortal world to visit their family and friends. An ofrenda (Spanish for offering) is an altar created to honor those loved ones and welcome them back for the celebration of life. They are often designed as tiered displays of photos, food, drinks, and items significant to the deceased. This year, our ofrenda is modeled after the trajinera boats of Xochimilco instead, though it contains many of the same offerings. The Xochimilco region is well known for its canal system and colorful trajineras, both of which have become important parts of their Día de los Muertos traditions. A big thank you to Miriam Padilla and her family for creating this year’s incredible display. 

For more information, contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org.

Wood Grain Elevators and Their Legacy - A Case Study using JH Hawes Grain Elevator

Sunday, October 23, 2022
2:00 PM

A free program brought to you by The City of Atlanta, Illinois with the Illinois Humanities Activate History Grant. Bill Kemp of the McLean County Museum of History will be presenting about wooden grain elevators, with emphasis on JH Hawes Wooden Grain Elevator, the only fully operational grain elevator in Illinois. After the presentation, stick around for a tour inside the JH Hawes Wooden Grain Elevator.*entrance available on the backside of Missy's Sweet Shoppe and through the Welcome Center on 114 SW Arch Street.
Missy’s Sweet Shoppe at the Palms Grill Cafe
110 SW Arch St, Atlanta, Illinois

This is a FREE event. Light refreshments will be provided.10% off your meal order from Country-Aire on the 23rd will benefit the Grain Elevator Committee.


Illinois Main Street Conference Thurs. Oct 20 Day 3

Thursday, October 20, 2022
8:00 AM

Powered by community, dedicated professionals, volunteers, and civic leaders, historic Main Street districts and neighborhood commercial corridors are at the heart of, and essential to, thriving communities.

The 2022 Illinois Main Street Conference brings together leaders, advocates, and cheerleaders to learn from each other and industry experts on how to grow and sustain downtown districts as centers of economic and social opportunity.

Please click to register and see schedule:

https://www.ilmainstreet.org/i...

Illinois Main Street Conference Wed. Oct 19 DAY 2

Wednesday, October 19, 2022
8:00 AM

Powered by community, dedicated professionals, volunteers, and civic leaders, historic Main Street districts and neighborhood commercial corridors are at the heart of, and essential to, thriving communities.

The 2022 Illinois Main Street Conference brings together leaders, advocates, and cheerleaders to learn from each other and industry experts on how to grow and sustain downtown districts as centers of economic and social opportunity.

Please click to register and see schedule:

https://www.ilmainstreet.org/i...

Illinois Main Street Conference Tues. Oct 18 DAY 1

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
3:00 PM

Powered by community, dedicated professionals, volunteers, and civic leaders, historic Main Street districts and neighborhood commercial corridors are at the heart of, and essential to, thriving communities.

The 2022 Illinois Main Street Conference brings together leaders, advocates, and cheerleaders to learn from each other and industry experts on how to grow and sustain downtown districts as centers of economic and social opportunity.

Please click to register and see schedule:

https://www.ilmainstreet.org/i...

Pop Up Space Activities with Bloomington Public Library

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
10:45 AM

Kids will enjoy space-inspired activities featuring Melvin the Giraffe, Bloomington Library's unofficial mascot. This program will take place at the McLean County Museum of History (200 N. Main St), where admission is FREE on Tuesdays.

Lunch and Learn- November 2022 Elections with Robert Bradley

Thursday, October 13, 2022
12:10 PM

The Fall 2022 election season is shaping up to be one of the more interesting and complex campaigns

in recent history. With just over 3 weeks before election, local political commentator and retired

professor, Bob Bradley, will offer his insights into how the local and national races are unfolding and

what we might observe on Election Day.

Pop Up Story Time Bloomington Public Library

Tuesday, October 11, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library every Tuesday in October at the Museum for music and movement, stories, and fun! These programs are free and open to the public.

This program is intended for children ages birth to 11 years and their caregivers. Registration is required and is limited to 20 families.

This program will take place in the Museum's second floor courtroom at 10:00 a.m. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Pop-Up Lego Construction with Bloomington Public Library

Saturday, October 8, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library for a Pop-Up Lego Construction. This program is free and open to the public.

Children ages 5-11 years are encouraged to build creative and independent projects using a wide variety of Lego bricks and books that will be provided. Also, STEM challenges will be presented throughout the program to inspire creative thinking.

This program will take place in the second floor courtroom at the Museum. (Note: Blocks will be provided. Please leave your own blocks at home. This program is not suitable for groups. Masks are recommended but not required. Museum entry is FREE during Farmers' Market hours on Saturdays. Parking will be limited.)

Registration for each session opens 2 weeks before and can be completed in person at the Library's Children's Services Desk, or by calling 309.590.6155.

Dine with the Dead: Cemetery Customs and Traditions of Days Gone By

Friday, October 7, 2022
11:00 AM

The Museum, in partnership with Normal Public Library, is pleased to host a program that explores when picnicking in cemeteries was common place. Enjoying a picnic in a cemetery was not always a taboo activity. Quite the contrary—a graveside lunch was a leisure activity for many. People often dined while visiting their dearly departed, and city residents regularly took advantage of cemeteries for strolls and carriage rides too. In the spirit (pun intended) of the age, enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery (one of Bloomington’s oldest cemeteries) and embark on a one-hour guided tour with Candace Summers, Senior Director of Education at the McLean County Museum of History to learn about funerary customs of the Victorian-era, explore the types of monuments that populate the cemetery, and hear stories of some of the McLean County citizens who reside there. After the tour, you can stay and enjoy your own picnic lunch. So grab a blanket, a box lunch from your favorite local restaurant (or from home too!) and enjoy spending some time in the cemetery like days gone by. Attendees should wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather. Please park outside on the side streets around Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Registration is required and space is limited to 30 people. Click here to register to participate. 

Conversando Entre Nosotros: What’s in a Label? Hispanic, Chicano/ Chicana, Latina/o, Latinx, Latine, or None of the Above

Tuesday, October 4, 2022
7:00 PM

Conversando Entre Nosotros: What’s in a Label? Hispanic, Chicano/ Chicana, Latina/o, Latinx, Latine, or None of the Above

This is a panel/ conversation will take place at the McLean County Museum of History and is in collaboration with Illinois State University and the City of Bloomington Latinx Heritage Month Celebration the converse about the politics of labeling. how are the labels deployed to construct community and identity? How do labels erase communities and identities? The idea is to gather to “conversar” across to share with local community that one label is not enough to understand the diversity of issues we face as a community.
Presenters: Rocio Rivadeneyra, Illinois State University Alejandro Enriquez, Illinois State University Raylene Gomez, Illinois Wesleyan University Maura Toro-Morn, Illinois State University Lourdes Concepcion, Illinois State University.

This program will be live streamed to the Museum's YouTube channel.

Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Saturday, September 24, 2022
11:00 AM

Over the course of the past two years, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk has been forced to navigate some major challenges, including being forced to go fully remote in 2020, and then last year, reducing capacity through a hybrid format due to the continued COVID 19 pandemic. But the Museum and our partners, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery and Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes, met those challenges head on and none of that ever stopped the Walk from happening. In fact, these challenges forced organizers to enhance the event to continue to meet the needs of new audiences who had not been able to experience the Walk before due to barriers such as geography and mobility.

Because of all of this, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk is back and better than ever before for another monumental year, and we are pleased to announce a continued commitment to providing a live in-person Walk in conjunction with a pre-recorded online offering thanks to our partner Broadleaf Video Management.

This year’s Walk will feature five new voices and bringing back two well-known names to share a new story. Our featured characters are: Helen Clark McCurdy (1866-1962), the first woman to run for elected office in Bloomington municipal government and one of 10 candidates to make it onto the ballot for commissioner in 1915; James Preston Butler (1838-1918), best known for his work as a detective in high profile murder cases, he tracked murders across the state to bring them back for justice; Alexander G. Erickson (1863-1950), of Swedish heritage, spent much of his life living and working on Bloomington’s West Side as a businessman and politician; Ella Lee Stokes (1912-1996), a Black woman born in Mississippi, she came to Bloomington as a young girl and worked jobs largely in the service industry, including Williams-Oil-O-Matic during World War II and as a housekeeper in Bloomington’s “Red Light District;” Paul F. Beich (1864-1937), a guest voice from Park Hill Cemetery in Bloomington, Beich was a German immigrant who worked in the candy-making business. After convincing Milton Hershey to move his caramel-making division to Bloomington from Chicago, Beich’s Candy Company became known for its “Whiz Bar, the best nickel candy there iz-z!” And finally, Sarah (1814-1879) and David Davis (1815-1886) who spent much of their married life states apart while David worked away from home as a lawyer, judge, and statesman. The Davises maintained their loving relationship through letters, while Sarah managed the affairs of their estate and construction of their new home in Bloomington–which celebrates its 150th Anniversary this year!

The 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be held in-person on September 24-25 and October 1-2 with performances at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. each day. Ticket sales will begin on Tuesday, August 30 and can be purchased online by clicking this link, or by visiting the Museum’s Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center and Gift Shop or Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Individual tickets to participate in the in-person event will be $20 for the General Public, $18 for Museum Members, and $8 for Children or Students w/ ID.

If you have any questions or need special accommodations, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428, via email at education@mchistory.org, or visit the Evergreen Cemetery Walk page on the Museum’s website at mchistory.org/learn/evergreen-cemetery-walk.

Online + In Person
pt.fwd presents Daniel Wyche

Saturday, September 17, 2022
7:00 PM

To kick off pt.fwd's fifth season, we're thrilled to welcome Daniel Wyche to the Museum! Daniel will perform a live, stereo version of the title piece from his new record “Earthwork” on American Dreams Records. The piece will be followed by an open improvisation featuring local high school students performing extended techniques, random objects, and "whatever other weird stuff anyone wants to bring and use." This free concert is open to the public and will be held in the Museum's first floor rotunda. Space is limited to 50 people.

Daniel Wyche is a Chicago-based guitarist, composer and improviser. Working with a wide range of physical preparations, extended techniques, and pedal instruments, his solo recordings and live performances are characterized by long-form structured improvisations and multichannel guitar. He has been a curator with the Elastic Arts Foundation in Chicago since 2013, where his work has been described as “crucial” by Dusted and “vital” by the Chicago Reader. In March of 2020, Daniel co-founded The Quarantine Concerts in collaboration with Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio. The series has been widely praised as a model for online/streaming live music. Along with his solo guitar work, Daniel is involved in several ongoing collaborations, most notable the trio of Wyche, Mark Shippy, and Ben Baker Billington. His new solo record, “Earthwork,” is out now on American Dreams Records. https://danielwyche.bandcamp.com/album/earthwork

pt.fwd is an independent, artist-run 501c3 non-profit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts performances in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. pt.fwd's mission is to celebrate the communal experience of coming together to listen to powerful new sonic art. In partnership with the McLean County Museum of History, pt.fwd promotes new work by local and regional artists in a historic, acoustically curious setting.

For more information about this event, please visit https://www.ptfwd.org/ or contact the Museum's Education Department at education@mchistory.org.

MCGS Zoom - Three Cool Cases Solved with Lisa Louise Cooke

Saturday, September 17, 2022
1:00 PM

September 17, 2022 at 1:00 pm –via ZOOM –

Lisa Louise Cooke

“Three Cool Cases Solved”

Lisa Louise Cooke is the author of several books including The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, 3rd edition. She produces and hosts the popular Genealogy Gems Podcast, and the free weekly YouTube show Elevenses with Lisa at the Genealogy Gems YouTube channel.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89690418237?pwd=cWVwcHhuaWIybTFmRXoxMVVCbHJJQT09

Dial by your location
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 814 1178 1991
Passcode: 552884
Find your local number: Local Numbers

ZOOM MCGS Board Meeting

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
6:00 PM

Regular McLean County Genealogical  Society board meeting and agenda.  Visit https://tmcgs.org/ for more information.

The Saints and the State: The Mormon Troubles in Illinois

Saturday, September 10, 2022
1:30 PM

The Museum is pleased to host Dr. James Simeone, professor of political science at Illinois Wesleyan University, for an illustrated presentation exploring the 1846 expulsion of Mormons from the State of Illinois. The program will be held on Saturday, September 10 at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum’s second floor courtroom. This program is free, hybrid program will be open to the public.

When members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as Mormons) settled in Illinois in 1839, they had been persecuted for their beliefs from Ohio to Missouri. Illinoisans viewed themselves as religiously tolerant egalitarians and initially welcomed the Mormons to their state. However, the old settlers of Hancock County who valued competitive individualism perceived the saints‘ western Illinois settlement, Nauvoo, as a theocracy with too much political power. Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, had used the writ of habeas corpus multiple times to evade arrest; it was said he could never be taken by the law. Amid escalating tensions in 1844, anti-Mormon vigilantes assassinated Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Two years later, the state expelled the saints. Illinois rejected the Mormons not for their religion, but rather for their effort to create a self-governing state in Nauvoo.

Mormons put the essential aspirations of American liberal democracy to the test in Illinois. The saints’ inward group focus and their decision to live together in Nauvoo highlight the challenges strong group consciousness and attachment pose to democratic governance. The Saints and the State narrates this tragic story as an epic failure of governance and shows how the conflicting demands of fairness to the Mormons and accountability to Illinois’s majority became incompatible.

James Simeone received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago. In 2022 he was named the Ben and Susan Rhodes Professor of Peace and Social Justice in political science at IWU. He is the faculty adviser to the campus Peace Garden. He has been with the university since 1992. Simeone is the recipient of several awards, including most recently the Gardner Faculty Scholar from IWU in 2021. He has authored several articles that have appeared in academic publications such as Journal of Political Science Education, American Political Thought, and Journal of Illinois History. Simeone is also the author of Democracy and Slavery in Frontier Illinois: The Bottomland Republic (2000).

PLEASE NOTE: Capacity for this event is limited to 80 people in person. Face masks are recommended but not required to attend this program. This program will also be live streamed via the Museum's YouTube channel. Click here to access this program line.

Questions? Or for more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

Pop-Up Lego Construction with Bloomington Public Library

Saturday, September 10, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library for a Pop-Up Lego Construction build at 10:00 a.m. This program is free and open to the public.

Children ages 5-11 years are encouraged to build creative and independent projects using a wide variety of Lego bricks and books that will be provided. Also, STEM challenges will be presented throughout the program to inspire creative thinking.

This program will take place in the second floor courtroom at the Museum. (Note: Blocks will be provided. Please leave your own blocks at home. This program is not suitable for groups. Masks are recommended but not required. Museum entry is FREE during Farmers' Market hours on Saturdays. Parking will be limited.)

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed in person at the Library's Children's Services Desk, or by calling 309.590.6155.

Cancelled!!! Lunch and Learn- Trees: the EAC's Tree Corps Ecology Action Center Initiative as a Public Health and Economic Development Strategy with Exec Dir. Michael Brown

Thursday, September 8, 2022
12:10 PM

We hope to reschedule this program in the near future.  We apologize for any inconvenience

EAC Executive Director Michael Brown will give an overview of the rapid growth of the Tree Corps, the

EAC's effort to plant at least 10,000 trees annually for at least 10 years in a row. Trees are the most

cost-effective means to improve local air quality and simultaneously help ensure continued economic

growth in the Bloomington-Normal and McLean County community.

Pop-Up Story Time with Bloomington Public Library

Every Tuesday 10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library every Tuesday in September and October at the Museum for music and movement, stories, and fun! These programs are free and open to the public.

This program is intended for children ages birth to 11 years and their caregivers. Registration is required and is limited to 20 families.

This program will take place in the Museum's second floor courtroom. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

Registration for each session opens 2 weeks before each session meets and can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Museum Closed for Labor Day

Monday, September 5, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum and the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed on Monday, September 5 for Labor Day.

Heartland Jazz Orchestra on the West Steps

Friday, September 2, 2022
7:00 PM

The Heartland Jazz Orchestra will be performing at 7:00 p.m. on the West steps of the Museum of History ( Center Street) as part of the Downtown Bloomington First Friday

The Heartland Jazz Orchestra will present the next in its series of Pop-Up Concerts at the McLean County Museum of History, west steps. HJO is an auditioned 20-piece jazz orchestra whose members include professional musicians, music educators in high schools and colleges, music students, and accomplished musicians with other “day jobs,” under the direction of David Hoffman. This concert is made possible by the McLean County Museum of History, the Heartland Jazz Orchestra Foundation, and through a Mirza Arts and Culture grant from the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. The Foundation encourages and facilitates philanthropy in McLean, Livingston, DeWitt, and Logan counties by connecting donors who care with causes that matter to them.

Evergreen Cemetery Walk Tickets Now on Sale

Tuesday, August 30, 2022
9:00 AM

Ticket sales for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum or Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. Tickets can also be purchased online by clicking this link. Tickets to participate are $20 for the General Public, $18 for Museum members, and $8 for children or students w/ID.

If you have any questions or need special accommodations, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428, via email at education@mchistory.org, or visit the Evergreen Cemetery Walk page on the Museum’s website at mchistory.org/learn/evergreen-cemetery-walk.

Project XV Museum Block Party

Saturday, August 20, 2022
5:00 PM

The Museum is thrilled to participate in the second annual David Strother Block Party!

Free Admission

All Ages Welcome

Complimentary Cake (in honor of Mr. Strother, whose birthday we are celebrating)

Show Choir Performance

Dinner By Kiwanis (for purchase)

Vendor Booths

Games

Beer Garden (21+)

Project XV Museum is working on building the first voting rights museum in the state of Illinois, and tell the story of the first Black man to vote in Illinois, David Strother. Seating is limited. BYOLawnchair.

Friday on the Square - STYLE IN STEREO with special guest KYLE YAP

Friday, August 19, 2022
6:00 PM

STYLE IN STEREO with special guest KYLE YAP on FRIDAY, AUGUST 19th in Downtown Bloomington. These FREE concerts on the Square are produced in partnership with the City of Bloomington and Pantagraph Media. Located on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington. 200 N. Main St. Bloomington, IL. The event starts at 6 PM with music beginning at 7 PM. This event is FREE to the public and all ages are welcome. Alcohol will be available for guests over 21 with a valid ID.

Light up the Musuem Square for Pride Fest

Friday, August 12, 2022
5:00 PM

Head down to the Museum Square to check out our lighting display to celebrate Pride Fest (which will be held on Saturday, August 13). Lights start at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 12 and will stay on through Sunday, August 14. So head down to the Museum Square to check them out and celebrate PRIDE this weekend!

The " Lost Speech " with Librarian Bill Kemp at El Paso District Library

Thursday, August 11, 2022
7:00 PM

Join Museum Librarian Bill Kemp this Thursday evening at the El Paso District Library for an illustrated talk on Abraham Lincoln's May 29, 1856 "Lost Speech," which marked the formation of the Illinois Republican Party. This program is sponsored by the Woodford County Historical and Genealogical Society. Things get underway at 7:00 p.m.

"The Bad Guys" Party with Bloomington Public Library

Tuesday, August 9, 2022
4:00 PM

The Bad Guys Party

Calling all fans of Aaron Blabey's book series The Bad Guys and the subsequent movie! The fifteenth book in this series was released in July and we think that is cause for celebration, so we are throwing a party with games, prizes, crafts, and of course, copies of the books available to check out!

This program will take place in the Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History. Museum entry is FREE on Tuesdays. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

This program is intended for kids going into 2nd through 5th grade. Registration is required and is limited to 20 children - caregivers are welcome to stay for the party or explore the Museum.

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Saturdays on the Square -- Free Concert

Saturday, August 6, 2022
7:00 PM

Presented by Pantagraph Media and the Castle Theatre in partnership with the city of Bloomington, the series brings regional acts to perform free, family-friendly concerts on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington. Seating begins at 6:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:00 p.m. The Museum is happy to once again be a sponsor for this music series.

This year's lineup is:

June 25: Style in Stereo with Kyle Yap

July 9: Wedding Banned, "the world's greatest wedding band"

July 16: Dan Hubbard, full band show with Leah Marlene

Aug. 6: Southern Accents, a tribute to Tom Petty

Latinos in Illinois and the USA: Music as a Cultural History at Normal Public Library

Saturday, August 6, 2022
1:00 PM

The Museum and Normal Public Library are pleased to host Catalina Maria Johnson, Ph.D., a Chicago-based journalist, for an illustrated presentation (augmented with musical samplings) exploring how Latino music is a source of history about the Latino community. The program will be held on Saturday, August 6 at 1:00 p.m. in the community room at Normal Public Library. This program is free, and open to the public, and sponsored by a grant from Illinois Humanities.

Music can be viewed and “read” as a tool that shares the cultural values, roots, and history of peoples. Over the years, numerous Latino musical genres share the concerns of Latinos throughout the years. For example, there are songs about immigrant woes of the early 20th century to today. Recently, Latinos around the U.S. commented on the 43 student-teachers murdered in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero by creating various songs in different genres. This program focuses on a broad overview of milestones the last 75 years of music in the Latino U.S. as a way of understanding the history, roots, and concerns of Latinos in this land, with a special emphasis on Mexican and Puerto Rican musicians in Illinois as Latino populations that have profoundly marked the state’s culture and music.

Johnson hosts and produces her own radio show, Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago on Vocalo (Chicago Public Media). She is also a regular contributor to NPR, Bandcamp, Downbeat and other outlets and a member of the editorial board of Revista Contratiempo.

Johnson credits the tenacious insistence of a Mexican mom and a German/Swedish dad for the extraordinary gift of a bilingual and bicultural heritage. Thanks to them, she grew up between two cities; St. Louis, Missouri and San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Johnson’s music journalism explores the extraordinary diversity of the global music scene with an emphasis on Latin and Latino music—from the most traditional roots music to cutting-edge electronic grooves. It is also very important to her to focus on the cultural riches that immigrants bring to the country of destiny, an invaluable and often unrecognized gift.

PLEASE NOTE: Capacity for this event is limited to 80 people. Face masks are recommended but not required to attend this program. Questions? Or for more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

Photo credit: Caroline Sanchez

Seasons on Henry's Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, August 2 at 7:00 p.m. for the third installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2022. 

This hybrid discussion will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History and online via Zoom to discuss Seasons on Henry’s Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm by Terra Brockman. 

Visit bit.ly/bplhistoryvirtual822 to register for the online discussion or bit.ly/bplhistoryinperson822 to participate in person.

Henry’s Farm, run by Henry Brockman, is in central Illinois — some of the richest farming land in the world. There, he and his family — five generations of farmers, including sister Terra, the author — have bucked the traditional agribusiness conventional wisdom by farming in a way that produces healthy, nutritious food for local people in ways that enhance soil, water, air, and all living things in and around the farm. Terra Brockman tells the story of her family and their life on the farm in the form of a year-long memoir (with recipes) that takes readers through each season of life on the farm. Studded with vignettes, digressions, photographs, family stories, and illustrations of the farm’s vivid plant life, the book is a one-of-a-kind treasure that will appeal to readers of Michael Pollan, E. B. White, Gretel Ehrlich, and Sandra Steingraber.

To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-590-6168 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

Online + In Person
History Reads Book Club
Construction Story Time with Bloomington Public Library

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
10:00 AM

We'll read our favorite construction books, sing songs, and play during this special story time. Kids will also receive a plastic hard hat and a craft to take home!

This program is intended for children ages birth to 11 years and their caregivers. Registration is required and is limited to 20 families.

This program will take place in the Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History. Museum entry is FREE on Tuesdays. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Zoom Genealogy Treasures In Cemetery Records with Suz Bates

Tuesday, July 19, 2022
6:30 PM

"I have found cemeteries I need to visit. How do I even start?" Cemetery, funeral home, and stonecutter records hold clues to your family history whether you are searching online, locally or out of state. Suz Bates, a local genealogist will teach some onsite and online hints for this unique research including often overlooked cemetery record treasures. She has been researching her family history for over 45 years. After a full career in education, she now combines teaching skills with extensive genealogy research experience and training in work as a presenter, researcher, and consultant. Suz's presentation specialty is step by step instructions for various researching, archiving and technology skills for genealogists and family historians.

This is a McLean County Genealogical Society event. Any questions about this program should go to pperkins73@yahoo.com or visit https://tmcgs.org/

Saturdays on the Square -- Free Concert

Saturday, July 16, 2022
7:00 PM

Presented by Pantagraph Media and the Castle Theatre in partnership with the city of Bloomington, the series brings regional acts to perform free, family-friendly concerts on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington. Seating begins at 6:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:00 p.m. The Museum is happy to once again be a sponsor for this music series.

This year's lineup is:

July 16: Dan Hubbard ( Full Band) with Taylor Steele 

Aug. 6: Southern Accents, a tribute to Tom Petty

Pop-Up Lego Construction with Bloomington Public Library

Saturday, July 16, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library for a Pop-Up Lego Construction build at 10:00 a.m. This program is free and open to the public.

Children ages 5-11 years are encouraged to build creative and independent projects using a wide variety of Lego bricks and books that will be provided. Also, STEM challenges will be presented throughout the program to inspire creative thinking.

This program will take place in the second floor courtroom at the Museum. (Note: Blocks will be provided. Please leave your own blocks at home. This program is not suitable for groups. Masks are recommended but not required. Museum entry is FREE during Farmers' Market hours on Saturdays. Parking will be limited.)

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed in person at the Library's Children's Services Desk, or by calling 309.590.6155.

For kids
Saturdays on the Square -- Free Concert

Saturday, July 9, 2022
7:00 PM

Presented by Pantagraph Media and the Castle Theatre in partnership with the city of Bloomington, the series brings regional acts to perform free, family-friendly concerts on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington. Seating begins at 6:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:00 p.m. The Museum is happy to once again be a sponsor for this music series.

This year's lineup is:

June 25: Style in Stereo with Kyle Yap

July 9: Wedding Banned, "the world's greatest wedding band"

July 16: Dan Hubbard, full band show with Leah Marlene

Aug. 6: Southern Accents, a tribute to Tom Petty

Museum Closed in Recognition of July 4th holiday

Monday, July 4, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum and the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center will be closed in recognition of the Fourth of July on Monday, July 4.

First Friday: Get Your "Kicks" on Route 66

Friday, July 1, 2022
5:00 PM

Downtown Bloomington is lucky enough to be positioned along Mother Road, and we look forward to celebrating another unique First Friday with all of you! Come down and Get Your "Kicks" on Route 66! Stop by the Museum's tent at the corner of Jefferson and Main Street to test your knowledge at Route 66 trivia and pick up some of your favorite local products too!

Pop-Up Story Time with Bloomington Public Library

Tuesday, June 28, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library every Tuesday in June at the Museum for music and movement, stories, and fun! These programs are free and open to the public.

This program is intended for children ages birth to 11 years and their caregivers. Registration is required and is limited to 20 families.

This program will take place in the Museum's second floor courtroom at 10:00 a.m. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Back 2 School Supply Drive at the Farmers' Market

Every Sunday 8:30 AM

Back 2 School Supply Drive – We Need your Help!

The McLean County Museum of History and the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market teaming up and bringing the Back 2 School Supply Drive to the Farmer’s Market again this summer! Every Saturday a donation bin will be stationed at the Museum's tent at our main entrance on Washington Street from 8:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. for anyone to drop off donations to the Back 2 School Supply Drive!

The Back 2 School Supply Drive, organized by the Back 2 School Alliance in coordination with Bloomington District 87, Normal Unit 5, and the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, is an effort to collect school supplies for the 2022-2023 school year that will be given to local students in need. Thus ensuring that all students start the school year off right, with all necessary supplies and an awesome backpack to boot! Supplies will distributed throughout District 87 and Unit 5 to those who meet eligibility guidelines.

Backpack- 13 inches to 18 inches in height

Zippered Binder- 1.5 inches or 2 inches

3-Ring Binder- 1.5 inches

Divider Tabs- 5 count per package

2-Pocket Folders

Index Cards- 3x5, lined

Loose Leaf Paper- wide ruled

Spiral Notebook- wide ruled, 70 count pages

Ruler- standard/metric 12 inches

Colored Pencils- 12 count

Markers- washable, thick, classic colors

#2 Pencils- 12 count

Black or Blue Pens- 10/12 count

Glue Sticks- washable

Crayons- 24 count (greatest need) Highlighters

Fiskar Scissors (blunt and pointed tip)

Pink Erasers

For more information, please contact the Museum’s Education Department via email at education@mchistory.org or by phone at 309-827-0428, or visit the Back 2 School Alliance’s website at back2schoolalliance.org/.

Please Donate! Every pen, pencil, binder and notebook you donate helps the Museum support our local teachers by getting students the tools they need for the new school year!

Saturdays on the Square -- Free Concert

Saturday, June 25, 2022
6:30 PM

Presented by Pantagraph Media and the Castle Theatre in partnership with the city of Bloomington, the series brings regional acts to perform free, family-friendly concerts on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington. Seating begins at 6:00 p.m. with music starting at 7:00 p.m. The Museum is happy to once again be a sponsor for this music series.

This year's lineup is:

June 25: Style in Stereo with Kyle Yap

July 9: Wedding Banned, "the world's greatest wedding band"

July 16: Dan Hubbard, full band show with Leah Marlene

Aug. 6: Southern Accents, a tribute to Tom Petty

Viral Silence: Six Words Concert

Friday, June 24, 2022
7:00 PM

Six Words is a concert-length composition by Edward Breitweiser inspired by local Covid-19 experiences and in collaboration with McLean County non-profits and youth organizations.

This in-person and live-stream public performance at the McLean County Museum of History features music and words by area residents who shared their personal stories with the project. Live-stream will begin at 7pm on the Experimental Sound Studio’s YouTube Channel.

This event is FREE, though due to the pandemic, reservations are requested.

Viral Silence: Community Portraits in Response to Covid-19, is a statewide collaborative community commissioning and virtual touring program that captures local experiences and responses to Covid-19. This second year of programming partners three new artists and Illinois communities: JoVia Armstrong, composer and sound artist, with Chicago’s Austin neighborhood and Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church; Eddie Breitweiser with pt.fwd and the McLean County Museum of History; and X, an indigenous futurist, who will create a geolocated augmented reality soundscape app.

Using archival research, community dialogue, and collaborative music-making, Six Words engages directly with Central Illinois residents to reflect on our collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Six Words takes place at the McLean County Museum of History’s “COVID-19: The McLean County Experience” as a starting point to ask local residents about their pandemic experiences, and to preserve them for future generations. Breitweiser is collaborating with local non-profits and youth organizations—including the McLean County Museum of History and pt.fwd—to create a communal space for telling and hearing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bloomington-Normal area. These diverse experiences are shared in a concert-length public performance at the Museum of History, featuring music and words by area residents who contributed to the project.

Questions or for more information, please contact the Museum’s Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

WGLT Summer Concert

Saturday, June 18, 2022
5:30 PM

The WGLT Summer Concert presented by CEFCU will return to Downtown Bloomington on June 18 for their 20th annual celebration. After a two-year COVID-imposed hiatus, WGLT is thrilled to come back “home” to the Museum Square. Get ready to party - music begins at 5:30 p.m.!

The 2022 show will feature, for the first time, an all-women lineup:

Peoria-based Tambora, fronted by Cindy Youngren

New Orleans folk rock diva Lilli Lewis

Singer songwriter Carsie Blanton

Complete details at wglt.org/SummerConcert

BPL Pop Up Lego Construction

Saturday, June 18, 2022
10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library for a Pop-Up Lego Construction build at 9:00 a.m. This program is free and open to the public.

Children ages 5-11 years are encouraged to build creative and independent projects using a wide variety of Lego bricks and books that will be provided. Also, STEM challenges will be presented throughout the program to inspire creative thinking.

This program will take place in the second floor courtroom at the Museum. (Note: Blocks will be provided. Please leave your own blocks at home. This program is not suitable for groups. Masks are recommended but not required. Museum entry is FREE during Farmers’ Market hours on Saturdays. Parking will be limited.)

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed in person at the Library’s Children’s Services Desk, or by calling 309.590.6155.

For kids
Museum and BPL Celebrates Juneteenth at Farmers' Market

Saturday, June 18, 2022
10:00 AM

On Saturday, June 18 the Twin Cities area Juneteenth Celebration will take place at Miller Park in Bloomington from noon to 6:00 p.m. Activities, performances, and vendors will be onsite at the Pavilion and tents in this section of the park.

Before heading out to the park, stop by the Museum for a Juneteenth Pop-Up Library and Story Time at 10:00 a.m. in the Courtroom. This is a partnership with Bloomington Public Library.

For kids
City of Bloomington Honorary Street Sign Celebration

Friday, June 17, 2022
6:00 PM

The City of Bloomington would like to cordially invite you to the Honorary Street Sign Celebration in honor of local civil rights and social justice leaders Mr. Henry Gay Sr. and Merlin Kennedy. The celebration will take place Friday, June 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum's historic Gov. Fifer Courtroom.

Please contact Nikita Richards at nrichards@cityblm.org to RSVP by June 8, 2022. Limited Seating

History Makers Gala

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
5:30 PM

Each year, the History Makers Gala recognizes long-standing residents whose outstanding, life-long contributions of time and talents have helped to make McLean County a better place to live. The Gala dinner will feature live entertainment that celebrates the honorees and their service to the community. The 2022 History Makers Gala and the Annual Meeting of the McLean County Historical Society will take place on the evening of June 15th at the Brown Ballroom at Illinois State University. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with the program beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets for the 2022 History Makers Gala are now on sale! 

Reservations can be made by clicking here, at the Museum in downtown Bloomington, or by calling (309) 827-0428. Tickets are $60 for the general public and $50 for Museum members. Proceeds support the Museum’s free educational programs in the community.

Pop-Up Stories with Bloomington Public Library

Every Tuesday 10:00 AM

Join Bloomington Public Library every Tuesday in June at the Museum for music and movement, stories, and fun! These programs are free and open to the public.

This program is intended for children ages birth to 11 years and their caregivers. Registration is required and is limited to 20 families.

This program will take place in the Museum's second floor courtroom at 10:00 a.m. Masks are recommended but are not required. Please note that parking may be limited.

During the registration window for this program, registration can be completed by calling 309.590.6155. or in person at the Children's Services Desk at the Library.

Cogs and Corsets: Dine with the Dead

Saturday, June 4, 2022
11:00 AM

Back by popular demand! Enjoying a picnic in a cemetery was not always a taboo activity. Quite the contrary—a graveside lunch was a leisure activity for many. People often dined while visiting their dearly departed, and city residents regularly took advantage of cemeteries for strolls and carriage rides too.

In the spirit (pun intended) of the age, enjoy a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery (one of Bloomington’s oldest cemeteries) and embark on a one-hour guided tour to learn about funerary customs of the Victorian-era, explore the types of monuments that populate the cemetery, and hear stories of some of the McLean County citizens who reside there. 

Candace Summers, Director of Community Education at the Museum, will facilitate the tour. Come experience how cemetery life is for the living!

Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening

Friday, June 3, 2022
5:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to once again participate in the now fifth annual Cogs & Corsets festival. The Museum will be the site of history presentations, Tea Dueling, Vendors, and a variety of activities held on the Square. Area galleries will feature the work of local and visiting artists alike, and the streets will be bustling with costumed visitors, teapot and dirigible races, and more! We can’t wait to see you here! For registration, full schedule and more information, please visit www.cogsandcorsetsil.org.

"Adopt" a Non-Profit: The Back 2 School Alliance School Supply Drive

Wednesday, June 1, 2022
9:00 AM

For this quarter (June through August 6), the Museum will be collecting items for The Back 2 School Alliance School Supply Drive. The Back 2 School Alliance (BTSA) is a group of volunteers and community partners dedicated to supporting students in need. Since 1999, they have been working with Bloomington District 87, Normal Unit 5, and Illinois Prairie Community Foundation to bring kids and community together by putting backpacks and school supplies into the hands of the children who need them mostFor more information about the Back 2 School Alliance, visit back2schoolalliance.org/.

Individuals who donate items from the Back 2 School Alliance's School supply list below will be entered into a drawing to win a pair of tickets to the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk! (Limited to one entry per person).

The donation bin to drop off your items will be located on the ground floor of the Museum. For more information or questions, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428. Thank you in advance!

Items needed are:

Backpack- 13 inches to 18 inches in height

Zippered Binder- 1.5 inches or 2 inches

3-Ring Binder- 1.5 inches

Divider Tabs- 5 count per package

2-Pocket Folders

Index Cards- 3x5, lined

Loose Leaf Paper- wide ruled

Spiral Notebook- wide ruled, 70 count pages

Ruler- standard/metric 12 inches

Colored Pencils- 12 count

Markers- washable, thick, classic colors

#2 Pencils- 12 count

Black or Blue Pens- 10/12 count

Glue Sticks- washable

Crayons- 24 count

Highlighters

Fiskar Scissors (blunt and pointed tip)

Pink Erasers

CANCELLED- Zoom Lunch & Learn: University-based Innovation Centers are "Making" a Difference

Thursday, May 19, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, May 19, at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the final Zoom Lunch & Learn of the 2021-2022 season, which will explore how university-based Innovation Centers are “Making” a Difference with John Quarton, Director of the Petrick Idea Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.

It used to be that summer internships were the dominant means for companies to attract and engage students during their college years. Many universities across the country are now partnering with companies, not-for-profits, and communities throughout the entire year through the establishment of makerspaces to create win-win value propositions. Hear about these innovations in higher ed at this lunch and learn.

To register for this free, zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHMayLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

Lunch & Learn
Virtual 'Lost Speech' Found: Abraham Lincoln and the Founding of the Illinois Republican Party

Wednesday, May 18, 2022
7:00 PM

The ‘Lost Speech’ Found: Abraham Lincoln and the Founding of the Illinois Republican Party- On May 29, 1856, Lincoln gave the keynote address at a convention held in downtown Bloomington to establish a new political party opposed to the expansion of slavery—the Republican Party. Learn why this speech became to be known as the “Lost Speech” … and how it’s not really lost!

Zoom MCGS - Census Records from 1950 presented by Tina Beaird

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
6:30 PM

Census Records from1950 with Tina Beaird, author, historian, lecturer, owner of Tamarack Genealogy is a genealogy and local history librarian in the Chicago area.

Tina holds an MLS with a specification in Archives Preservation. She lectures at local, state and national seminars and conferences. Tina has served on numerous boards and volunteers her time when available with several Chicago area historical and genealogical societies. She occasionally still finds time to work on her own genealogy. The Mc McLean County Genealogy Society is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8892… ID: 889 2361 3436

Passcode: 511021

Meeting ID: 889 2361 3436

Passcode: 511021

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kVKBBa0tX

Online only
Zoom MCGS - Census Records from 1950 presented by Tina Beaird

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
6:30 PM

Census Records from1950  with Tina Beaird, author, historian, lecturer, owner of Tamarack Genealogy is a genealogy and local history librarian in the Chicago area. 

Tina holds an MLS with a specification in Archives Preservation. She lectures at local, state and national seminars and conferences. Tina has served on numerous boards and volunteers her time when available with several Chicago area historical and genealogical societies. She occasionally still finds time to work on her own genealogy. The Mc McLean County Genealogy Society is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting"">https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8892... ID: 889 2361 3436

Passcode: 511021

Meeting ID: 889 2361 3436

Passcode: 511021

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kVKBBa0tX

Normal Community High School Experimental Ensemble

Friday, May 13, 2022
7:00 PM

On Friday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m., the Museum, is pleased to host the debut performance of the Normal Community High School Experimental Ensemble, with special guest Eddie Breitweiser. The event will be presented in the Museum’s first floor rotunda, and is free and open to the public.

The ensemble is lead by Stefen Robinson and Zachary Sargent, both teachers at NCHS who also perform with the group. Eleven students make up the group, and together with their teachers, they “make adventurous music together.” Student members include Matthew Beigie on cello, Cooper Jeb on piano, Lilly McClelland on bass guitar and trumpet, Ibrahim Muftee on electric guitar, John Nguyen on electric mandolin, Stefani Nguyen on bells and harmonium, Ram Paramatmuni on radio and record player, Audrie Schuller on violin, and Krishiv Sreejith on flute. Robinson performs on bass clarinet and percussion, and Sargent plays alto saxophone.

Selections for the performance will include Otomo Yoshihide’s arrangement of Eric Dolphy’s, Serene, and their own arrangement of Early Grave by The Contortionist. The program will conclude with their arrangement of Curtis Mayfield’s, Think. In between those songs, improvisations by smaller groups within the larger ensemble will be featured.
In-person attendance is limited to 50 people and will also be live streamed online. Visit https://www.ptfwd.org/ for more information.

Face masks are recommended, but not required. Questions? Or for more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

McLean County Barn Keepers: Lois Lenski and Corn-Farm Boy

Thursday, May 12, 2022
7:00 PM

Join Barn Keepers on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m. for a fascinating look at a classic 1950s children's book on Midwest corn farming. Guest speaker Bill Kemp, who serves as the Barn Keepers historian, will lead an illustrated program on beloved children's author Lois Lenski and her 1954 book Corn-Farm Boy.

Illinois State University’s Milner Library holds a collection of Lois Lenski papers, including the author’s correspondence and research relating to Corn-Farm Boy, a strikingly accurate portrayal of Corn Belt farming in the decade after World War II. Bill’s talk will make use of photographs, newspaper clippings, original illustrations, and other source material collected by Lenski as she researched Corn-Farm Boy.

The book was part of Lenski's American Regional Series, which included Bayou Suzette (1943), Cotton in My Sack (1949), Coal Camp Girl (1959), and others. These books approached the lives children with an honesty and realism uncommon in children's literature at the time.

The program, free and open to the public, will be held at the Evergreen FS Building, 402 N. Hershey Road in Bloomington. Barn Keepers is a McLean County-based not-for-profit dedicated to barn education and preservation.

Zoom Lunch & Learn: University-based Innovation Centers are "Making" a Difference

Thursday, May 12, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, May 12 at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the final Zoom Lunch & Learn of the 2021-2022 season, which will explore how university-based Innovation Centers are “Making” a Difference with John Quarton, Director of the Petrick Idea Center at Illinois Wesleyan University.

It used to be that summer internships were the dominant means for companies to attract and engage students during their college years. Many universities across the country are now partnering with companies, not-for-profits, and communities throughout the entire year through the establishment of makerspaces to create win-win value propositions. Hear about these innovations in higher ed at this lunch and learn.

To register for this free, zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHMayLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

Online only
Lunch & Learn
'Tattooing Finds You:' How Tattooists Navigate their World

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
6:30 PM

On Tuesday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m., the Museum welcomes Dr. David C. Lane, assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University, who will present the program ‘Tattooing Finds You:’ How Tattooists Navigate their World. This, free, public program will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the Museum. To register to attend, please click this link.

Have you ever wondered how tattooists learn to do their jobs, how their careers advance, or what they contend with in order to create tattoos? Tattooists have to navigate the world of work. In this presentation, David C. Lane will take you on a journey about how the contemporary tattoo world operates. Using vivid firsthand accounts from tattooists, and an art worlds perspective, this program will discuss the how these workers pursue meaningful labor. This discussion will explain the methods of learning to work, the hierarchy among tattooists, the mechanisms for maintaining social control, and how tattooists manage changes that threaten their control. Underlying these descriptions is an emphasis on the collective social processes needed to make art worlds operate. Ultimately, and as Lane argues, tattooists have created and sustained an art world that relies on an anachronistic model of organizing labor. Join us and have some fun.

Lane holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Delaware. His monograph, The Other End of the Needle: Continuity and Change among Tattoo Workers was recently released by Rutgers University Press. His research articles on tattoo work appear in Deviant Behavior and the Sociology Compass. Lane also has a forthcoming original research chapter in the Handbook of Social Organization titled, ‘Resistance and Resilience among Tattoo Workers’. Broadly, Lane’s research focuses on tattoo work and culture as a social process, labor and the changes to cultural production in capitalist systems, crime in relation to natural hazards, art theft, and constructionist approaches to social problems. He also serves as the Chair of the Body Art and Images area of the Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture Association. Lane’s research expertise has also been featured on “Inking of Immunity” podcast, Telemundo’s Radar 2021, Bloomberg Made, The Pantagraph, and WGLT.

Currently, Lane is researching the relationship between acquiring a tattoo in relation to experiences of trauma. For more information about this study, or if you are interested in being a participant go to www.tattoostudyisu.com.

... NOTE: Registration is required to attend and capacity for this event is limited to 75 people. Face masks are recommended but not required to attend this program.

Auditions for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Tuesday, May 10, 2022
6:00 PM

Announcing auditions for the 2022 Evergreen Cemetery Walk! Auditions will be held on Tuesday, May 10 from 6:00pm until 9:00pm at First Christian Church, 401 W. Jefferson Street, Bloomington. Performances for the Walk will be September 24 – October 2 at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. You must be available for weekday performance from 8:30-3 and weekends 10 – 4. You will be asked to read from sides provided at the audition. Performers at the Walk receive an honorarium for their time and talent.

Questions or concerns about audition time? Email Susan Thetard (Artistic Director of Illinois Voices Theatre Echoes) at satheta@gmail.com.

The characters portrayed this year are:

Paul F. Beich (1864-1937) was a German immigrant who worked in the candy-making business, first as a salesman and later launching his own company in St. Louis. After purchasing a company in Bloomington, Beich convinced Milton Hershey to move his caramel-making division there from Chicago. Just as Hershey’s is known for its chocolate, Beich’s is known for its Whiz Bars, Katydids, and Laffy Taffy. A visitor to Evergreen Cemetery, where two of his children are buried, Beich is buried at Park Hill Cemetery. (Visiting Voice)

James Preston Butler (1838-1918) was a tinsmith, butcher, grocer, policeman, tax collector, alderman, constable, deputy sheriff, and hotel owner, perhaps best known for his work as a detective in high-profile murder cases. He tracked down Patsey Devine, who was later hung for the crime of murder in Clinton, Illinois, and helped convict the murderer of Zura Burns in Lincoln, Illinois. A small but powerful man, Butler could defend himself against attackers—both physically and verbally—and did.

Alexander G. Erickson (1863-1950), of Swedish heritage, worked in coal mines on Bloomington’s west side as a child and grew up to be an alderman, mayor, and commissioner of public health and safety for the City. A Republican precinct committeeman for forty years, he was on the Bloomington Board of Education for twelve. As the public health commissioner, he guided the city through such difficult events as a 1916 polio outbreak, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919, and a garbage strike.

Helen Clark McCurdy (1866-1962) was the first woman to run for elected office in Bloomington municipal government, one of ten candidates to make it onto the ballot for commissioner in 1915. She campaigned heavily to literally clean up the city, as garbage collection had been a huge issue! The daughter of a merchant, McCurdy worked as a store clerk, but later married a prominent businessman, rising in social class. Intensely civic-minded, she worked with the Women’s Club, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

Ella Lee Stokes (1912-1996) was born in Mississippi and moved to Tennessee with her mother when she was four. First educated in one-room schoolhouses in the South, she attended several local grade schools and half a semester at Bloomington High School. A Black woman employed largely in the service industry, she aspired to achieve more. She worked for Williams-Oil-O-Matic, cleaning parts for ships and airplanes during World War II; and as a housekeeper in Bloomington’s “Red Light District.

Sarah (1814-1879) and David Davis (1815-1886) were married in October of 1838 and lived at Clover Lawn, then a farm at the edge of town, now an elegant mansion and grounds celebrating its 150th anniversary. As David often worked away from home as a lawyer, judge, and statesman, the couple spent much of their marriage apart, maintaining their loving relationship through letters, while Sarah managed the affairs of their estate and construction of their home in Bloomington. (Weekends Only)

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Meet the Author! Greg Koos

Saturday, May 7, 2022
9:00 AM

The Museum is pleased to host author and historian Greg Koos, who will be signing copies of his new publication Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 1730-1900. The book signing will be held on Saturday, May 7 from 9am until 11am on the Museum’s Plaza (located on Washington Street) during the Farmers’ Market.

Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 1730‐1900 tells the story of the diverse peoples and events of this county. Using sources contemporary with the events described, it relates the struggle to shape the land, build community, and secure freedom as these communities knew and defined it. Native peoples, women and men, African Americans, Irish and German immigrants all sought and contested for their freedom. People whose voices have not been heard in previous works about Central Illinois are included here.

Greg Koos served and led the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois from 1977 to 2016. His work there was recognized with numerous state and national awards. His historical research has been published in the United States and Ireland. Koos lives with his wife, Carol, in his hometown of Bloomington, Illinois.

Copies of Koos’s book will be available for purchase for $54.95 plus tax. For more information about this event, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

Museum Open Early for Farmers' Market

Every Saturday 8:30 AM

Our Museum opens at 8:30 a.m. to all visitors, with free admission until noon! Tour the Museum’s latest exhibits and shop at the surrounding Farmer’s Market.

High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing

Tuesday, May 3, 2022
7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. for the second installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2022.

This hybrid discussion will be held in the Governor Fifer Courtroom at the McLean County Museum of History and online via Zoom to discuss High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing by Ben Austen.

Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Suns, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000—all of it packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource—it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed, the island of black poverty engulfed by the white affluence around it, the families dispersed.

In this novelistic and eye-opening narrative, Ben Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told movingly through the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. Beautifully written, rich in detail, and full of moving portraits, High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor—and what we can learn from those mistakes.

To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-590-6168 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

Online + In Person
History Reads Book Club
Old Time Music (Jam Session)

Every Tuesday 5:00 PM

Join the Old Time Music group every Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Museum. A laid back and diverse group of musicians that try to get together once a week. The genre of music they play is called Oldtime, which is the music from the Appalachia region of the U.S. from before the time of radio and phonograph. People would play these “fiddle tunes” at house parties and square dances. Some of the tunes originally come from Scotland and Ireland. There are pockets of Oldtime players all over the U.S. and Canada. The music is mostly unwritten and learned and played by ear. They welcome any instrument to come and play, but the group is primarily composed of fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo. All are welcome to come and play with them or just come and listen!

For more information, please contact the Museum’s Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

"Looking for Lincoln" Funeral Train Marker Dedication

Tuesday, May 3, 2022
1:00 PM

On Tuesday, May 3 at 1:00 p.m., the Museum, in partnership with Looking for Lincoln and the City of Bloomington, will unveil a new marker to honor the site where Lincoln’s funeral train made its final stop before reaching it’s final destination in Springfield. This event will be held at the intersection of Chestnut and Allin Streets in Bloomington, and is free, and open to the public.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 157 years ago on April 14, 1865. He died the next day on April 15th – Good Friday. Commemorating the 157th Anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and death, the McLean County Museum of History will dedicate a new “Looking for Lincoln” historical marker near the site of the old Bloomington Train Depot for the Chicago & Alton Railroad. A special train dubbed “The Lincoln Special” transported the body of Abraham Lincoln from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois, during a 13-day journey that began April 21, 1865. The train passed through Bloomington early in the morning on May 3, 1865, stopping briefly to take on wood and water.

Experience the train’s journey for yourself by reading about it, and then join us on May 3rd for the dedication ceremony. Learn more through the book Lincoln’s Springfield, The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln, May 3rd and 4th, 1865; Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Death of Abraham Lincoln by Richard E. Hart; The Abraham Lincoln Association – Available for purchase at the Cruisin’ With Lincoln on 66 Gift Shop and Visitors Center at the McLean County Museum of History.

For more information about this program, please contact the Development Office at development@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

"Adopt" a Non-Profit: The Baby Fold

Monday, May 2, 2022
9:00 AM

Starting in March, during each quarter of the Museum’s fiscal year, we will be “adopting” a different local nonprofit to help collect much-needed items to assist fulfilling the needs of their patrons. Those who donate items to the Museum from the wish list of our “adopted” groups will be entered into a drawing for a special prize at the end of each quarter.

For this quarter (March through May), the Museum will be collecting items for The Baby Fold in Normal. Founded in 1902 (and celebrating their 120th anniversary this year), The Baby Fold was organized as a home to care for an increasing number of local orphaned children. Today, The Baby Fold serves over 1,200 individuals every year through 12 programs that wrap services around children and families across 28 counties in Central Illinois. The Baby Fold builds positive futures with children and families and strives to transform children’s lives through strong family and community partnerships.

Individuals who donate items from The Baby Fold’s wish list below will be entered into a drawing for a Museum-branded shoulder bag with several local history publications in it, and a voucher for tickets to The Baby Fold’s Festival of Trees this fall! (Limited to one entry per person).

Additionally, in May, the Museum will host a temporary display of archival materials related to The Baby Fold outside of our Library on the second floor in honor of the 120th anniversary.
For more information or questions, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428. Thank you in advance!


THE BABY FOLD WISH LIST

Pull-Ups (all sizes)
Crayons
Markers
Colored Pencils
Baby Gates
Gift cards for Big Box Stores (for clothing, bedding, etc.)

Registration Opens for Futures in History Camp

Sunday, May 1, 2022
1:00 PM

Futures in History Camp is back for two in-person sessions in 2022! This unique 5-day camp experience includes facilitation by Museum staff and other experts, all materials needed for hands-on learning, meals and snacks, friendship, fun, and more! Registration for FiHC is open to any area campers entering 4th, 5th, and 6th grades who are eager to explore the many futures a career in history can offer. From law, to archaeology, to architecture, to museum studies, and environmental science, there is a future for everyone at Futures in History Camp!

FiHC will take place Monday, July 11 - Friday, July 15 and Monday, August 1 - Friday, August 5. Registration for these (2) sessions of 16 campers each will open Sunday, May 1 at 1:00 p.m. For more information, click here.

Online only
For kids
Trades & Labor Fest 2022

Saturday, April 30, 2022
10:00 AM

To highlight industry and industriousness in McLean County—both past and present—the Museum, in partnership with the Bloomington & Normal Trades & Labor Assembly (AFL-CIO), and Livingston & McLean Counties Building & Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO), is inviting local businesses, unions, trades people, skilled workers, and artisans to showcase their skills and the services they provide to our community as part of an interactive Trades & Labor Fest 2022 on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (weather permitting). 

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

Trades & Labor Fest 2022 will take place on the Museum Square in Downtown Bloomington (200 block of North Center Street, the 100 block of West Jefferson Street, and 200 block of North Main Street). Participating businesses/trades will offer thematic activities for attendees to observe and try for themselves. 

Visit the Museum’s booth to pick up a map complete with information about participating businesses/trades. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to go inside the Museum to explore the Museum’s permanent exhibit Challenges, Choices, and Change: Working for a Living, to learn more about McLean County’s local labor history.

Festival activities will include the following:

Musical performances will be held on the north side of the Museum.

10:30 a.m. Hopeful Voices

10:45 a.m to 11:15 a.m. Marcos Mendez

11:15 a.m to 1:00 p.m. She Said So

Bloomington Public Library will have a history of the Bookmobile in pictures, Library Expansion plans, kids’ Bookmobile crafts (Bookmobile origami & coloring page), prizes, and other giveaways too!

Bloomington Police Department will have a squad car and information about BPD.

City of Bloomington Economic and Community Development Department will have information about the Farmers’ Market and children’s activities.

Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 99 will have information about area standard wages and benefits of being part of the Local 99 .

Dreams are Possible will have information about classes and have tools (both modern and historic) for people to try out!

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (Local Lodge 1000) IAM District 8 will have information and a City of Bloomington Water Department backhoe and cutout fire hydrant.

First Student will be bringing one of their school buses, have information about employment opportunities, learn what it is like to be a bus driver, and giveaways and treats.

Carpenters Local 237 will be building kids’ wooden tool boxes.

Meltdown Creative Works will be doing live screen printing and the opportunity for people to try and print a design themselves!

Bloomington-Normal JATC will have information about Electrical Apprenticeships and work in the electrical industry with a small pipe bending activity.

Illinois Laborers’ & Contractors JATP will have GPS & surveying, Virtual Reality goggles, and laborers work simulation.

Black Nurses Association of Central Illinois will have blood pressure checks, anatomy torsos with questions for younger participants, and educational health information for all.

Prairie Aviation Museum will have a Hughes Helicopter on display along with educational information regarding the following general aviation organizations at CIRA - Central Illinois Regional Airport: Synergy Flight Center, FedEx, CrossWinds Flying Club, and EAA Eagle Flights.

Evergreen FS will have a DEF Truck, pool of corn for kids, prizes and information about careers & benefits in agriculture.

Altorfer Ag Products will have a tractor display and information about agricultural equipment.

University of Illinois Extension- McLean County will provide a hands on activity using paper circuits.

Together Press of cometogetherspace featuring Lisa Lofgren print maker will feature a block printing family activity and the history of Pantagraph Printing Co. (a collaborative activity with MCMH).

Legacy Solar will bring a solar panel display and have educational materials about solar energy and what can be accomplished by putting solar panels on residential buildings.

McLean County Ag in the Classroom will have Illinois History Ag Mags and activities highlighting a variety of agricultural products grown in Illinois and careers in agriculture.

Illinois State Police will have information about employment opportunities for both civilian and sworn trooper positions.

StraightUp Solar will have a solar panel and installation equipment and information about how solar electric systems work for homes, businesses , nonprofits, and public facilities in McLean County.

OPCMIA Local 18 JATF (Cement Masons and Plasterers) will have hands-on hand tool work with wet sand.

University Galleries of Illinois State University will have examples of work from the 2022 Faculty Biennial art show to inspire participants to explore creating art with new forms, and patterns with letter stencils. Participants can then see how that art process is altered by manipulating their self-created art too!

AFSCME Local 699 City of Bloomington will have a recycle/garbage truck available where participants can dump a recycle can.

Otto Baum Company, Inc. will have a demonstration of the work they do and a slideshow.

Bloomington Fire Department will be bringing a Fire Engine or truck.

Nussbaum Transportation Services will have a semi-tractor on display, recruitment and information about careers opportunities, and give aways. Additionally, several veteran employees will be on hand to answer questions about truck driving, and will also share knowledge regarding the Nussbaum Trucking Academy (partnered with Heartland Community College), which offers CDL schooling to the public.

YouthBuild McLean County will have information about their program and services.

AFSCME Locals 1110 and 3236 Illinois State University will have a variety of activities and examples of the work they do on campus and giveaways!

Bloomington-Normal Spine will be demonstrating how they do spinal evaluation, and how they detect and correct issues with joints, nerves, muscles, and soft tissue, plus offering chair massages too!

Illinois Army National Guard will have information about careers in the Armed Forces and a vehicle display.

Heartland Community College will have information about training opportunities.

Painters District Council No. 30 will be painting the tool boxes created with the Carpenter’s Local Union 237.

Connect Transit will have information about the bus routes in Bloomington-Normal and the transit union.

Prairie Woodworks will have information about custom woodworking and examples to showcase their work (such as joinery, sanding, staining, and finishing).

Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans will have information about their programs and resources, and activities.

Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local 6 will have hands-on bricklaying, tool demonstrations, and information about careers.

IDOT Highway Construction Careers Training Program will have information about their pre-apprenticeship program and career opportunities with the Illinois Department of Transportation.

United Auto Workers (UAW) Trades & Skills Department will be presenting various information about UAW represented facilities and their jobs. The Activity will involve a robotic arm, showing the advancement of automotive technology.

PLUS! Visit Gathered Illusions and Michael Amis Studio at 300 E. Grove Street where they will be hosting glass blowing demos, answering questions, and will have examples of their art too. Look for the sign that says “Art Market” to enter the building.

Check back regularly as more businesses and activities continue to be added!

If you are a local business, artisan, or organization who is interested in participating, please visit https://bit.ly/TradeandLaborFest22 to register. The registration deadline is Monday, April 18 at 5:00 p.m.

Free parking will be available at the Lincoln Parking Deck located on Front Street. For more information about this free public program, please contact the Museum’s Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

Bloomington/Normal LGBTQ+ Town Hall

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
6:00 PM

Please join the Prairie Pride Coalition and Equity Illinois for a town hall event that will will include a recap of the recently-ended spring session of the IL General Assembly including legislation of interest to the LGBTQ+ community as well as discussion of future legislative efforts to come during the fall veto session. Our elected officials including Sen. Jason Barickman, Sen. Sally Turner, Rep. Dan Brady, and Rep. Keith Sommer have been invited to discuss their votes during the just concluded session. Also invited is Sen. Dave Koehler, whose redrawn district will include a wide swath of the Bloomington/Normal area. This event will be held in the second floor courtroom at the Museum on Tuesday, April 26 from 6:00 until 7:30 p.m.

Bloomington/Normal LGBTQ+ Town Hall

Tuesday, April 26, 2022
6:00 PM

Please join the Prairie Pride Coalition and Equity Illinois for a town hall event that will will include a recap of the recently-ended spring session of the IL General Assembly including legislation of interest to the LGBTQ+ community as well as discussion of future legislative efforts to come during the fall veto session. Our elected officials including Sen. Jason Barickman, Sen. Sally Turner, Rep. Dan Brady, and Rep. Keith Sommer have been invited to discuss their votes during the just concluded session. Also invited is Sen. Dave Koehler, whose redrawn district will include a wide swath of the Bloomington/Normal area. This event will be held in the second floor courtroom at the Museum on Tuesday, April 26 from 6:00 until 7:30 p.m.

Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Bloomington Mayor Mboka Mwilambwe will also attend the town hall. Their appearance will provide us with an opportunity to provide feedback and make suggestions to help make our twin cities a safer, more inclusive, and welcoming place for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Please make plans to join us for this very important event...it's your opportunity to be heard and to learn about legislation that will help make our state a better one for us all!

Zoom MCGS - The Underground Railroad Runs Through Here with Janice Lovelace Ph.D

Tuesday, April 19, 2022
6:30 PM

Janice Lovelace PhD, is a genealogical researcher, educator, author, and lecturer, with over 30 years of experience. She is a frequent speaker at international, national, and regional conferences and at local societies.

The Underground Railroad was a loosely organized way to assist people to leave enslavement in the south and find freedom in the Northern U.S. or Canada.

This program is free and open to the public.

Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8833... Meeting ID: 883 3095 8738 Passcode: 224595 One tap mobile +13126266799,,88330958738#,,,,*224595# US (Chicago) +13017158592,,88330958738#,,,,*224595# US (Washington DC) Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) +1 929 436 2866 US (New York) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 883 3095 8738 Passcode: 224595 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kvYr3FjBf

Mix.Fuze.Evolve: Latin Influence & Contribution to Hip Hop Culture

Saturday, April 16, 2022
6:00 PM

Mix.Fuze.Evolve., an annual fundraiser event for Museum partner BCAI Cultural Arts and Humanities, will bring you an enlightening and intriguing evening full of Latino/a/e/x representation in Hip Hop through music, food, and hands-on exploration. The Museum will be on deck with Lotería Museo for players of all ages from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the IWU Hansen Student Center. This is a ticketed event. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Zoom Lunch & Learn: COVID-19 Past, Present, and Future- Lessons Learned

Thursday, April 14, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, April 14 at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the next Zoom Lunch & Learn which will investigate the past, present, and future of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and the lessons we have learned. Vickie Folse, PhD, APRN and Professor, Director and Rupert Chair School of Nursing, and Melissa Graven, BSN, RN at Arnold Health Services from Illinois Wesleyan University, will engage participants in a discussion on COVID-19’s evolving presence in McLean County and its impact on our community. Speakers will provide insight and experience learned from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To register for this free, zoom webinar, please follow this link: https://bit.ly/MCMHAprilLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

The David Davis Mansion: 150 Years at Cloverlawn with Dr. Marcia Young

Saturday, April 2, 2022
1:00 PM

On Saturday, April 2 at 1:00 p.m., the Museum is pleased to welcome Dr. Marcia Young, historian and former executive director of the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, for a program on her forthcoming publication about the history of the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington. 2022 marks the 150th anniversary of the construction of the David Davis Mansion. To commemorate this special milestone, the site’s foundation board is publishing a new, limited-edition book entitled The David Davis Mansion: 150 Years at Clover Lawn. A book signing will be held immediately following the program. Copies of Young's book will be available for purchase. 

This free, public program will be held in the Museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom. Attendance is limited to 75 people and registration is required. Please visit forms.gle/9eKufnHngaHSrT5k7 to register to attend. For more information about the public program, contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

April First Friday & Slow Art Day

Friday, April 1, 2022
5:00 PM

Ready, Set, SLOW! April 2 is Slow Art Day and the McLean County Museum of History, along with eight other Downtown partners, are taking it slow all weekend. Starting with First Friday!

What is Slow Art Day? Slow Art Day (founded in 2010) is an annual global event with a mission to help more people discover the joy of looking at and learning to appreciate art. Participants in Slow Art Day will have the opportunity to spend time with art in meaningful ways and reflect on that experience with others. To find out more, visit www.slowartday.com


First Friday (Friday, April 1): Find us on the corner of Main and Jefferson on the Museum Square for an evening of egg hunting and art viewing. Kids of all ages and the young at heart can play the tortoise or the hare in our seek-and-find art relay. Can you take your time to find all of the hidden eggs in art works from the Museum’s collection?

YWCA Stepping Stones will be with us on the lawn with a pop-up exhibition of the annual Clothesline Project. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. The Clothesline Project is a national effort founded in 1990 that empowers survivors of sexual violence and abuse to share their experiences through art making. T-shirts decorated by local survivors will be on display as testimony to their survival and the chronic problem of violence against women. The Clothesline Project will also be on display inside the Museum through Saturday, April 16.


Slow Art Day (Saturday, April 2): Enjoy Slow Art Day on Historic Route 66 with nine designated galleries/studios in Downtown Bloomington starting at 10:00 a.m. with a 4:00 p.m. closing reception and discussion of the Slow Art Day experience with artists, patrons, and gallerists at The Hangar Art Co. (105 W. Jefferson St.). The Museum will host the YWCA Stepping Stones Clothesline Project and a small selection of artworks from the Museum collection.

Other Slow Art Day locations in Downtown Bloomington are: 

Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio, 101 W Monroe St., Suite 201 (10-2)

Art Vortex Studio & Gallery, 101 W Monroe St., Suite 210 (10-2)

Eaton Studio Gallery, 411 N Center St (10-3)

Inside-Out Accessible Art, 200 W Monroe St. (10-2)

Joann Goetzinger Studio Gallery, 313 N Main St. (10-3)

Main Gallery 404, 404 N Main St. (10-3)

The Hangar Art Co., 105 W. Jefferson St. (10-6)

Threshold to Hope, Inc., 107 E Chestnut St. (10-2)

Clothesline Project

Friday, April 1, 2022
9:00 AM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). SAAM is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. The Clothesline Project is a national effort founded in 1990 that empowers survivors of sexual violence and abuse to share their experiences through art making. T-shirts decorated by local survivors will be on display as testimony to their survival and the chronic problem of violence against women. The Clothesline Project will be on display inside the Museum through Saturday, April 16. This installation is a collaboration with YWCA of McLean County Stepping Stones.

pt. fwd presents Jon Mueller

Thursday, March 17, 2022
7:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to partner once again with pt.fwd, a non-profit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts performances featuring new work by local and regional artists in Bloomington-Normal. The second performance for 2022 will feature Door County, Wisconsin-based percussionist Jon Mueller. The live, free, in-person performance with Mueller will take place on Thursday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the McLean County Museum of History. Registration is required and attendance is limited to 40 people. Please click this link to fill out the google form to sign up to participate.

Jon Mueller's ""Afterlife Cartoons"" are solo acoustic percussion performances that use repetitive tom patterns and subtle shifts in grid-like pulsing to instigate overtones, phasing, and choir-like acoustic phenomena that transform the work from mere drum solo to the sonic illusion of a small orchestra. Rhythmic minimalism, contemporary phrasing, and energetic sustain drive Mueller's improvisations into a space somewhere between modern electronic music and primal drumming, inspiring audiences toward movement and contemplation.

Jon Mueller’s aim has been to move drums, percussion and rhythm from its anticipated backbeat to a central musical focus, something more intuitive and natural than usually imagined. Audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United Kingdom have experienced this idiosyncratic point of view as, paradoxically, both ‘cathartic’ and ‘meditative’. Notable solo performances have taken place at the Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Alverno Presents, SXSW, Big Ears Festival, Hopscotch Fest and Witching Hour Festival.

From 2013-15, Mueller created and directed the multi-disciplinary project Death Blues. The project issued four critically acclaimed recordings. Rolling Stone cited non-fiction as one of the ‘20 Best Avant Albums of 2014’. Ensemble, created with multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch, was featured on NPR’s ‘First Listen’.

Outside of his solo work, Mueller has performed and recorded with Mind Over Mirrors, was a founding member of the bands Volcano Choir, Collections of Colonies of Bees and Pele, and has worked in depth with artists Aaron Turner, Faith Coloccia, Dawn Springer, Chris Hefner, Jason Kahn, Asmus Tietchens, Z’EV, Andrew McKenzie, Rhys Chatham, Jarboe, James Plotkin, Duane Pitre, and Raymond Dijkstra. His solo work has been released by American Dreams, Table of the Elements, Type Recordings, Important Records, Taiga Records, SIGE Records and his own imprint, Rhythmplex.

You can hear Mueller's music here: https://rhythmplex.bandcamp.com/

Covid 19 Attendance Policy for Indoor Music Performance

For this partner program, all in-person attendees will be required to wear a facial covering over both the nose and mouth for the duration of the performance regardless of vaccination status.

The Museum continues to monitor the conditions that surround the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and how these conditions will impact our ability to hold future in-person programs. As long as current health and safety guidelines from the CDC and State of Illinois allow for in-person programming at that time, we plan to host this program in-person at the Museum. Visit mchistory.org for updates on this and other upcoming programs.

For more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

In Memory: Two Years of COVID-19

Friday, March 11, 2022
5:00 PM

The Museum will acknowledge the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of life McLean County has experienced in that time with a display of candles on the Washington Street Plaza totaling the number of lives lost. People are invited to visit the outdoor memorial throughout the weekend, starting at 5:00 p.m. on March 11 through Sunday, March 13.

Zoom Artists, Advocates, Acrobats, and More! Women Who Made McLean County History with Bloomington Public Library

Thursday, March 10, 2022
7:00 PM

Candace Summers, the Museum’s Director of Community Education, will present a program that will highlight 20 McLean County women, from all walks of life, who shaped our history. From the first woman Illinois State Senator, Florence Fifer Bohrer; to the “Queen of the Flying Trapeze,” Antoinette Concello; and Civil Rights activist Sister Mary Antona Ebo, this illustrated program will explore their lives and recognize their lasting contributions to our community and our world. To register for this free, Zoom presentation with Bloomington Public Library, visit https://bit.ly/bplmccowomen.

Zoom Lunch & Learn: The Pantagraph - Images to Inform and Inspire with Rochelle Gridley/ Assistant Archivist

Thursday, March 10, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, March 10 at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the eighth Zoom Lunch & Learn of the season. Rochelle Gridley, archival assistant at the Museum, will present a program discussing the philosophy of the early Pantagraph photographers and their methods.

The Pantagraph has existed for 185 years, with a long history of newspaper innovation, including the use of photography in presenting the news. From the early wire services to internet publication, the Pantagraph presented and presents the news using the latest technology.The Museum is now home to the Pantagraph Negative Collection which consists of over 1 millions negatives from the 1930s to early 2000s.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHMarLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

The Lunch and Learn series is a partnership between the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University.

"

Before Rivian: The Henney Kilowatt--Bloomington's Battery-powered 'Car of Tomorrow'

Sunday, March 6, 2022
1:00 PM

Join Museum Librarian Bill Kemp for a program delving into the history of Henney Kilowatt electric car! Before Rivian: The Henney Kilowatt--Bloomington's Battery-powered 'Car of Tomorrow' will be presented on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at 1:00 p.m. in the Museum's Governor Fifer Courtroom. To register to attend this program in person, click here. To attend this program online via Zoom, please click here.

Long before Rivian become one of the hottest electric automakers on the planet, the Twin Cities were center stage for another battery-powered vehicle--the Henney Kilowatt, a project of the National Union Electric Co., a conglomerate whose holdings included Bloomington-based Eureka-Williams Co. The electric propulsion system was designed by Eureka-Williams engineers, and the cars were assembled in Bloomington. Although less than 50 autos were sold during the two-year (1959-1960) manufacturing run, the Henney Kilowatt story is in many ways more essential today than it was 70 years ago. The Museum Archives holds a treasure trove of original Henney Kilowatt papers, and this program will showcase many fascinating photos, promotional materials, correspondence, and engineering documents--many of which have never seen the light day! Bill promises an electrifying, edifying time for all!

PLEASE NOTE: The Museum follows all current health and safety guidelines according to the Restore Illinois Phased Plan for Reopening and CDC Guidelines. Masks are recommended but not required inside the Museum.

Registration is required to attend in person and capacity for this event is limited to 75 people.

If you are exhibiting any symptoms or have a temperature above 100.4 degrees, please do not attend this event. If Covid 19 cases continue to rise, guidelines become more restrictive, or our zone is forced to go back to an earlier Phase of the Restore Illinois Plan, this event will be held online only.

Questions? Or for more information, contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or (309) 827-0428.

First Friday: Women's History Month - Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs

Friday, March 4, 2022
5:00 PM

Downtown Bloomington is proud to be the chosen home for over 50 female-owned businesses, and we are excited to celebrate them and the ways they make our district unique! On March First Friday (Friday, March 4 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.), the Museum will host representatives from Women Build of Habitat for Humanity, Dreams are Possible, Labyrinth Made Goods, and the ExtraOrdinary Women Project. Learn of the amazing work these organizations are doing by, for, and with women; and learn more about the history of women in McLean County by exploring the Museum’s exhibits. The Museum will also be collecting needed items for Neville House Shelter, which supports adults and children who have experienced domestic violence. See below for a list of items needed by Neville House.

Help us celebrate Women’s History Month through all of March with a banner installation designed by local graphic designer Rachel Lapp-Whitt. A designer, writer, editor, educator, and communication strategist, Rachel has worked with local design agencies for regional and national clients, and maintains a 20-year freelance business serving nonprofit organizations, schools, musicians, visual artists and small businesses. The daughter and granddaughter of educators, artists, and a Mennonite pastor, Rachel strongly believes in feeding lifelong learning with wonder, reading, self-expression, and laughter. To learn more about Rachel, the story of this work, and the significance of Women’s History Month, visit the Museum! This installation is a partnership between the Museum, the City of Bloomington, I Am Woman Networking Group, and the artist.

For more information about this event, go to: https://fb.me/e/1Ae6pdgTF

List of Items Needed for Neville House:

Non-Perishable Food items

Mac & Cheese

Canned Ravioli

Spaghetti

Tuna

Household Products

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

Hand Sanitizer

Hand Soap (bar or liquid)

Shampoo

Conditioner

Deodorant

Toothpaste

Toothbrushes

Hairbrushes and Combs

Lotion

Tampons and Sanitary Napkins

Batteries (AA, AAA and 9v)

Cleaning Supplies

Lysol Spray

Lysol Soap

Lysol Wipes

Clorox Wipes

Laundry Detergent

Dish Washing Detergent

Garbage bags

Dish Soap

Bleach

New, Unused Clothing (all genders and ages)

Sweatpants

Sweatshirts

T-Shirts

Packaged Socks and Underwear

Gym Shoes

Women's History Month

Tuesday, March 1, 2022
9:00 AM

Help us celebrate Women’s History Month through all of March with a banner installation designed by local graphic designer Rachel Lapp-Whitt. A designer, writer, editor, educator, and communication strategist, Rachel has worked with local design agencies for regional and national clients, and maintains a 20-year freelance business serving nonprofit organizations, schools, musicians, visual artists and small businesses. The daughter and granddaughter of educators, artists, and a Mennonite pastor, Rachel strongly believes in feeding lifelong learning with wonder, reading, self-expression, and laughter. To learn more about Rachel, the story of this work, and the significance of Women’s History Month, visit the Museum! This installation is a partnership between the Museum, the City of Bloomington, and the artist.

pt. fwd presents Lia Kohl and Macie Stewart

Saturday, February 26, 2022
7:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to partner once again with pt.fwd, a non-profit that organizes contemporary music and sonic arts performances featuring new work by local and regional artists in Bloomington-Normal. The first performance for 2022 will feature Lia Kohl and Macie Stewart. The live, free, in-person performance with Kohl will take place on Saturday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Museum. Registration is required and attendance is limited to 40 people. Please click this link to fill out the google form to sign up to participate. 

Lia Kohl and Macie Stewart are a Chicago-based duo creating freely improvised music that explores rich harmonies, timbres, and textures. Starting from the quartet of their two voices, cello, and violin, the duo’s varied sound centers curiosity and an uncanny receptivity to each other. They have recorded two albums, Pocket Full of Bees (2019) and Recipe for a Boiled Egg (2020), both on Astral Spirits. Downbeat magazine calls their music “more filling than a four course meal”.

Macie Stewart and Lia Kohl’s recent duo performances are site-specific works exploring acoustics, distance, and playful interaction with new environments. Over the course of several years, the duo is creating a series of pieces performed in various locations throughout the Midwest, testing the elasticity of their intuitive connection and finding new ways to interact with and react to their environments, whether lakeside lighthouses, bridges under a highway, or cavernous buildings.

You can hear Stewart and Kohl's music here: https://asstewartkohl.bandcamp.com/album/recipe-for-a-boiled-egg

Covid 19 Attendance Policy for Indoor Music Performance

For this partner program, all in-person attendees of this musical performance must show proof of either full vaccination—OR—a negative COVID-19 test performed within 72 hours prior to entry. Patrons will be asked to show their valid vaccination card or test result (photocopies or digital copies on your phone are permissible) alongside a government-issued ID (to confirm identity) when they arrive at the door. Types of “negative” COVID-19 testing allowed include: Rapid “Shield” tests, PCR tests, or Over-The-Counter Antigen tests.

All patrons will be required to wear a facial covering over both the nose and mouth for the duration of the performance regardless of vaccination status, per Illinois State mandates and current CDC guidelines.

The Museum continues to monitor the conditions that surround the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and how these conditions will impact our ability to hold future in-person programs. As long as current health and safety guidelines from the CDC and State of Illinois allow for in-person programming at that time, we plan to host this program in-person at the Museum. Visit mchistory.org for updates on this and other upcoming programs.

For more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

Presence, Pride, and Passion: Black History in McLean County

Thursday, February 24, 2022
6:00 PM

Presence, Pride, and Passion: Black History in McLean County with Jeff Woodard and Hannah Johnson. Join Museum staff for an exploration of the founding of the Bloomington-Normal Black History Project (BNBHP) and the ways that local Black history, both preserved and in the making, continues to inform and inspire programming for learners of all ages.

From the arrival of the first African Americans in McLean County in 1835 to the present, the growth and development of the Bloomington-Normal community has been influenced by the activities and efforts of its Black citizens. In 1982, the BNBHP, under the leadership of Dr. Mildred Pratt, was founded to preserve the tangible evidence of this impact through the collection of oral histories (numbering in the 80s), archival materials, and objects.

To register for this paid program in collaboration with Continuing Education at Heartland Community College, click here. Cost is $15. Capacity is limited to 20 participants. Program will be presented at Heartland Community College (WDC 2004 Classroom).

Free Admission: Presidents' Day

Monday, February 21, 2022
9:00 AM

Visitors of all ages are invited to spend a day off with FREE admission all day in recognition of Presidents' Day. Get excited to get out the vote this midterm election year with some voting-inspired activities. 

Writing the 19th Century in the 21st Century with Greg Koos at the David Davis Mansion

Saturday, February 19, 2022
3:30 PM

The Museum, in partnership with the David Davis Mansion, is pleased to present Writing the 19th Century in the 21st Century with Greg Koos. This free program about the writing of Koos' new book, Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 17301900, will be held on Saturday, February 19 at 3:30 p.m. at the David Davis Mansion.

Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 17301900 tells the story of the diverse peoples and events of this county. Using sources contemporary with the events described, it relates the struggle to shape the land, build community, and secure freedom as these communities knew and defined it. Native peoples, women and men, African Americans, Irish and German immigrants all sought and contested for their freedom. People whose voices have not been heard in previous works about Central Illinois are included here.

Greg Koos served and led the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois from 1977 to 2016. His work there was recognized with numerous state and national awards. His historical research has been published in the United States and Ireland. Koos lives with his wife, Carol, in his hometown of Bloomington, Illinois.

PLEASE NOTE: The Museum and the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site follow all current health and safety guidelines according to the Restore Illinois Phased Plan for Reopening and CDC Guidelines. Registration is required to attend and capacity for this event is limited to 25 people. All program participants will be required to wear a facial covering over both the nose and mouth for the duration of the program regardless of vaccination status, per Illinois State mandates and current CDC guidelines.

This program will be held in the Lincoln Era Barn, located behind the David Davis Mansion. Parking is located on the mansion grounds on the right side of the ring road. To register for this program, please click this link. For more information or questions, please contact the Museum's Education Department at 309-827-0428 or education@mchistory.org.

Tour de Chocolat

Friday, February 18, 2022
5:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to once again participate in this annual Downtown Bloomington tradition by offering locally made chocolate treats generously provided by two of our community partners, RGW Candy Company and BEER NUTS Brand Snacks, on Friday, February 18 from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. And if your sweet tooth isn't satisfied after sampling, you can purchase some in our Visitors Center to take home with you too!

Take a chance to warm up while exploring the Museum’s exhibits on the first floor and stop by our make-n-take table to warm somebody's heart this winter by joining us in some plarn (plastic yarn) making. Every plastic bag cut or strung will go towards making plarn mats for houseless folks in our community. 

Thanks to Palace Events, as always, for lighting up the Museum Square!

This years event is sponsored by Ferrero. Find other Tour de Chocolat stops on the Downtown Bloomington website at downtownbloomington.org

Museum closed due to inclement weather

Thursday, February 17, 2022
12:00 AM

Due to the forecasted inclement winter weather, the Museum and Visitors Center will be closed Thursday, February 17. We will continue to monitor the extreme weather situation to decide it we will be closed additional days this week. We will post further updates on the Museum’s website and social media.

But our website is never closed! You can continue to utilize our resources and engage with us online at www.mchistory.org.

Zoom Lunch & Learn: The NAACP was relevant then, now and forever more!

Thursday, February 10, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, February 10 at 12:10pm join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the sixth Zoom Lunch & Learn of the season. Local leaders of the Adult Branch and the Youth Council President will discuss the rich history and lasting legacy associated with the NAACP.

As the world's largest, boldest and oldest Civil Rights' organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909. The NAACP was chartered as a result of the race riot in Springfield, Illinois. Several Black men were then rushed to Bloomington, Illinois--to avoid being lynched. The panel will discuss the NAACP's involvement in past and current Civil Rights' issues. Additionally, history was made again, as the NAACP Youth Council was officially chartered in August of 2021.

To register for this free, zoom webinar, please follow this link: https://bit.ly/MCMHFebLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

The Lunch and Learn series is a partnership between the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University.

"

Zoom MCGS - Introduction to Heritage Hub and Black Life in America w/ Mimi Davis

Saturday, February 5, 2022
1:00 PM

The Bloomington public Library has two new resources to help you research your family history tree.  Mimi Davis, Electronic Resources Librarian at the Bloomington Public Library will introduce them to you and share some tips and tricks in  this very useful presentation. Discover obituary information spanning more than 200 years with content from all 50 states- including hard-to-find information from the 1940's, 50's, and 60's. 

Black Life in America:  While not strictly for genealogists, there is a wealth of information available in Black Life America.  Explore and gain deeper understanding of the African American experience as recorded by the news media. 1704 through today. 

Link to program:   

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8906...  



https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8906...





   

BSU Local Black Leadership Symposium

Thursday, February 3, 2022
5:00 PM

The Kingsley Junior High School Black Student Union (BSU), in partnership with the Museum, presents the BSU Black Leadership Symposium. Join Museum staff for an exploration of the legacy of local Black leadership in McLean County, the efforts of the Bloomington-Normal Black History Project to capture and preserve those stories, and how those histories inform educational programming to inspire a future generation of leaders and history makers. Q&A will follow.

This free, public program will be presented at Kingsley Junior High School in the cafeteria (303 Kingsley St. in Normal, 61761)

Museum Closed Due to Inclement Weather

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
9:00 AM

Due to the forecasted inclement winter weather, the Museum and Visitors Center will also be closed. We will continue to monitor the extreme weather situation to decide it we will be closed additional days this week. We will post further updates on the Museum’s website and social media.

But our website is never closed! You can continue to utilize our resources and engage with us online at www.mchistory.org.

History Reads Book Club: Stealing Lincoln's Body

Tuesday, February 1, 2022
7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, February 1 at 7:00 p.m. for the fist installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2022. We will meet online via Zoom to discuss Stealing Lincoln's Body by Thomas Craughwell . Visit bit.ly/bplhistory222 to register for this free, online discussion.

On the night of the presidential election in 1876, a gang of counterfeiters out of Chicago attempted to steal the entombed embalmed body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom. The custodian of the tomb was so shaken by the incident that he willingly dedicated the rest of his life to protecting the president's corpse.

In a lively and dramatic narrative, Thomas J. Craughwell returns to this bizarre, and largely forgotten, event with the first book to place the grave robbery in historical context. He takes us through the planning and execution of the crime and the outcome of the investigation. He describes the reactions of Mary Todd Lincoln and Robert Todd Lincoln to the theft―and the peculiar silence of a nation. He follows the unlikely tale of what happened to Lincoln's remains after the attempted robbery, and details the plan devised by the Lincoln Guard of Honor to prevent a similar abominable recurrence.

Along the way, Craughwell offers entertaining sidelights on the rise of counterfeiting in America and the establishment of the Secret Service to combat it; the prevalence of grave robberies; the art of nineteenth-century embalming; and the emergence among Irish immigrants of an ambitious middle class―and a criminal underclass.

This rousing story of hapless con men, intrepid federal agents, and ordinary Springfield citizens who honored their native son by keeping a valuable, burdensome secret for decades offers a riveting glimpse into late-nineteenth-century America, and underscores that truth really is sometimes stranger than fiction.

To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-590-6168 or email reference@bloomingtonlibrary.org.

History Reads Book Club
MUSEUM CLOSED - Staff/Board Retreat

Saturday, January 15, 2022
12:00 AM

The Museum and Visitors Center will be closed to the public on Saturday, January 15, 2022, for a Museum staff and board retreat .  We will reopen the following Monday at 9:00 am January 17, 

Zoom Lunch & Learn: Writing 19th Century County History in the 21st Century

Thursday, January 13, 2022
12:10 PM

On Thursday, January 13 at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the fifth Zoom Lunch & Learn of the season. In this presentation the author and Emeritus Executive Director of the Museum, Greg Koos, will discuss his just published book Freedom, Land & Community: A History of McLean County, Illinois 1730-1900. Koos will explore McLean County History by discussing questions about the inherent conflicts associated with freedom, which are experienced in a place (land) that is claimed by a community. To preorder a copy of Greg's book click here.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHJanLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

World War II Memorial Rededication

Wednesday, January 5, 2022
1:00 PM

The Museum invites the public to a rededication of the World War II memorial at 1:00 p.m. November 5, 2022, on the east side of the Museum Square. This will be the 25th anniversary for the Memorial. Plans include a military flyover, music, reading of names, and a Military Honor Guard and flag presentation. Plans are in the works to also dedicate a Korean and Vietnam memorial for those soldiers who gave their lives in support of freedom. Bronze tablets have been added to the WWII memorial with raised lettering to better honor our fallen heroes. Additional finishing touches will take place before the November ceremony. We will also be announcing additional historic marker renovation projects in the county. Donations from the community may be made online at http://weblink.donorperfect.com/MarkerMatch

Museum Closed for New Years Holiday

Friday, December 31, 2021
9:00 AM

Museum Closed for Christmas Holiday

Friday, December 24, 2021
9:00 AM

A Dedication Honoring the Life and Work of Barb Adkins

Saturday, December 18, 2021
2:00 PM

The City of Bloomington is dedicating a bench and a conference room in Barb Adkins' memory. Please join us at 2 p.m. on Saturday Dec 18 outside the Museum of History for the ceremony. McLean County lost a true leader and community sparkplug with the passing on November 7, 2020 of Barbara Jean Adkins.

Barb served the City of Bloomington for 32 years, beginning as a part-time police dispatcher, completing her career as Deputy City Manager. Following that, she managed The Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center at the McLean County Museum of History. She was 61.

An ISU Criminal Justice scholarship also has been started in Barb's name at ISU (Criminal Justice was her major) through the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation. 

Museum Closed for Professional Development

Monday, December 13, 2021
12:00 AM

The Museum will be closed beginning at 2pm today for staff professional development. If you are needing assistance connecting to the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk during the time we are closed please contact csummers@mchistory.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Zoom Writing the 19th Century in the 21st Century with Greg Koos

Saturday, December 11, 2021
1:00 PM

Zoom Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 1730-1900

The Museum is proud to present a program on its forthcoming publication, Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 1730-1900 by Greg Koos. This free, Zoom webinar will be held on Saturday, December 11 at 1:00 p.m. To register, visit https://bit.ly/FLCMCMH21.

Freedom, Land, and Community: A History of McLean County Illinois, 1730
1900 tells the story of the diverse peoples and events of this county. Using sources contemporary with the events described, it relates the struggle to shape the land, build community, and secure freedom as these communities knew and defined it. Native peoples, women and men, African Americans, Irish and German immigrants all sought and contested for their freedom. People whose voices have not been heard in previous works about Central Illinois are included here.

Greg Koos served and led the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois from 1977 to 2016. His work there was recognized with numerous state and national awards. His historical research has been published in the United States and Ireland. Koos lives with his wife, Carol, in his hometown of Bloomington, Illinois.

For more information about this program, please contact the Museum's Education Department at 309-827-0428 or education@mchistory.org. To preorder your copy today, visit bit.ly/KoosBookFLC or call the Visitors Center at 309-827-0428

Zoom Lunch & Learn: McLean County Economic Update

Thursday, December 9, 2021
12:10 PM

On Thursday, December 9 at 12:10 p.m. join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the fourth Zoom Lunch & Learn of the season. Patrick Hoban, CEO of the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, will provide an overview of the recent economic growth in McLean County and outline the future prospects for McLean County.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHDecLL. Questions? Please contact the Marketing Department at marketing@mchistory.org. Grab your lunch and join us from where ever you may be! You won’t want to miss this fascinating program.

Museum Closed for Professional Development

Monday, December 6, 2021
12:00 AM

The Museum will be closed beginning at 2pm today for staff professional development. If you are needing assistance connecting to the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk during the time we are closed please contact csummers@mchistory.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Christmas Under the Dome

Saturday, December 4, 2021
11:00 AM

Christmas Under the Dome & the Bloomington-Normal Jaycee’s Christmas Parade — Saturday, December 4 from 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. Join the Museum and our friends as we welcome in the holiday season as the Grand Marshall of the Bloomington-Normal Jaycee’s Christmas Parade! The parade begins at 10:00 a.m. at Kingsley Junior High School in Normal and ends in Downtown Bloomington at the steps of the McLean County Museum of Hist