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

Tuesday, November 5

Book Club: The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies (2017) by Jason Fagone

Starts at 7:00 PM

Attention avid readers and lovers of local history, the Museum and Bloomington Public Library are excited to announce the long awaited list of titles for the 2019 season of the ever popular History Reads Book Club.

All discussions, unless otherwise noted, will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom on the second floor of the Museum.

November 5

The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies (2017) by Jason Fagone

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

Copies of the books will be available for checkout at Bloomington Public Library or may be requested via interlibrary loan through your local public library. For more information on this program please contact the Museum’s Education Department by email at or by phone at 309-827-0428; or contact Karen Moen at Bloomington Public Library at

Saturday, November 9

A Community in Conflict Exhibit Opening

Starts at 10:00 AM

Exhibit opens at 10:00 a.m. and there will be an opening program at 11:00 a.m. 

Since the time that people first occupied the land that would become McLean County, conflict has been part of its history. The Museum’s newest (and final permanent) exhibit, Challenges, Choices, & Change: A Community in Conflict examines such instances of conflict. Beginning with native peoples’ struggles for sovereignty and continuing through fights for equal rights for women and minorities, the exhibit asks the question, “Who had the power?” — the power to have a voice, to gain respect, to define morality, to instill fear, and more.

Thursday, November 14

Lunch and Learn: A Passion for Detail- The Architectural Legacy of A.L. Pillsbury with Museum Curator Susan Hartzold

Starts at 12:10 PM

Susan Hartzold, Curator of Collections and Exhibits, will discuss the work of Bloomington Architect Arthur Pillsbury, who designed over 800 homes, business, and schools that were constructed in Illinois. This included 260 homes in Bloomington-Normal alone. As part of the program, Hartzold will examine the broad range of architectural styles represented in Pillsbury’s work.

Bring your lunch and and enjoy the free Lunch and Learn series on the second Thursday each month, September through May. This program is a collaboration between the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University.

Thursday, November 14

Lucy's Girls: Lucy Orme Morgan and the Girl's Industrial Home

Starts at 7:00 PM
206 West College Ave., Normal, IL 61761

Join the Museum’s Director of Education Candace Summers for a program on the Lucy Orme Morgan Home for girls. Lucy Orme Morgan was a woman who was passionate about social welfare and was active in numerous philanthropic activities throughout her lifetime. However, her passion (and what would become the most distinguishable effort in her life) was the Girl’s Industrial Home. Founded in 1889, the Girl’s Industrial Home was a place for dependent children who were neglected or had no one to care for them. It was an institution where girls would be taught useful things to prepare them for a life of independence when they were of age. To Lucy, it was her “hobby” to make it “a home and keep it as far as possible from being an institution.” For more than 30 years, the Home flourished under her watchful eye. And because of her service to that institution, the board of the Home honored that service by renaming it as “The Lucy Orme Morgan Home” in 1929. The program will be held in the Cafe at Normal Public Library and is free and open to the public.

Saturday, November 16

A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

Starts at 1:15 PM

The Museum is pleased to welcome back Dr. Andrew Hartman, professor of history at Illinois State University, who will present a program about America’s struggle over the unprecedented social changes since the 1960s, as the cluster of social norms that had long governed American life began to give way to a new openness to different ideas, identities, and articulations of what it meant to be an American. This free, public program will be on Saturday, November 16 at 1:15 p.m. in the Museum’s second floor courtroom.

“Make America Great Again.” Donald Trump’s now famous campaign slogan evokes the fervent belief among many Americans that the nation is no longer theirs. The slogan has had contemporary appeal, to be sure. But it also speaks to a narrative of decline that has defined conservative attitudes since the 1960s. At bottom, it is a call to revive and restore the orderly, disciplined, and authority-respecting America that seemingly held fast before the 1960s. Related, this was the America before the sixties social movements endowed people of color, women, gays and lesbians, immigrants from strange lands, and other seeming outsiders and fringe characters with the privilege to call themselves Americans. In this way, Trump’s slogan marks but the latest volley in the culture wars that have polarized the United States for decades. This lecture will explore the grand historical arc of these culture wars with an eye for how it helps us make sense of Donald Trump and a polarized American political culture.

Hartman is the author of Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School (2012), A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (second edition 2019), and co-editor of American Labyrinth: Intellectual History for Complicated Times. He is currently at work on his third book, Karl Marx in America. Hartman is the winner of two Fulbright Awards. He was the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark for the 2013-14 academic year, and he is currently the Fulbright British Library Eccles Center Research Scholar for the 2018-19 academic year. Hartman co-hosts the intellectual history podcast, Trotsky and the Wild Orchids.

Copies of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (second edition 2019), will be for sale and a book signing will immediately follow the program. For more information, contact the Education Department at or 309-827-0428.

Monday, November 18

IAM Progressive Event

Starts at 9:39 AM

Conference goers will be visiting various museum sites.