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

Tuesday, February 4

History Reads Book Club: The Starved Rock Murders

Starts at 7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join us on Tuesday, February 4 at the McLean County Museum of History for the History Reads Book Club. The discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Governor Fifer Courtroom. For the first installment of 2020 we will be discussing The Starved Rock Murders, A True Story by Steve Stout.

On March 14, 1960, three women from Riverside journeyed to Starved Rock State Park, near Utica, Illinois, for a few days of rest and recreation. Staying at the park’s majestic lodge, they checked into their rooms, ate lunch at the inn’s dining room and then hiked a few wooded miles across snowy trails into St. Louis Canyon. Two days later, the close friends were found beaten to death in the cold canyon. The crime shocked northern Illinois and led to a manhunt that snared a confessed killer who has been in prison ever since. It also ultimately changed the way Illinois State Police investigated crimes and is one of the most shocking stories to ever occur in this otherwise peaceful region.

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  Bloomington Public Library at

Friday, February 7

F1rst Fr1day- Tour de Chocolat

Starts at 5:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to once again participate in this annual Downtown Bloomington tradition by offering locally made chocolates generously provided by our community partner, RGW Candy Company, who has been making chocolate along Route 66 since 1948. And after you have sampled their wonderful treats, you can purchase some in our Visitors Center to take home with you too!

While you are here, make sure to explore the Museum’s permanent exhibits on the first floor, including the new Challenges, Choices, and Change: A Community in Conflict.

Find other Tour de Chocolat stops on the Dba Bloomington website at

Saturday, February 8

Exploring the community of Noble-Wieting: a 700-year-old Native American village in McLean County

Starts at 1:15 PM

During the Mississippian period (1000-1400 AD), the largest prehistoric North American city existed right here in Illinois. The rise and fall of Cahokia reverberated throughout eastern North America, resulting in many population movements and new ways of life in the region. Archaeologists refer to the new lifeways in northern Illinois at this time as the Langford Tradition. While most major Langford sites occur along the upper Illinois River and the Chicagoland area, one site that does not fit the pattern is the village of Noble-Wieting in McLean County. Thus the Museum is pleased to welcome back Dr. Logan Miller, assistant professor of anthropology at Illinois State University, who will present a program about the most recent archaeological findings at the Noble-Wieting site this past summer 2019. The program will be held on Saturday, February 8 at 1:15 p.m. in the Museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom and is free and open to the public.

Since the early 1900s archaeologists have puzzled over the site’s anomalous nature. Was Noble-Wieting a trading outpost, set up by Langford peoples to access Mississippian goods or ideas? Was it a refuge, established by Langford peoples but accepting disaffected Mississippians? Or was it an example of ethnogenesis, a new cultural entity emerging from the interaction of two or more disparate groups?

The findings by Illinois State University and the Illinois State Archaeological Survey during the past three summers of archaeological excavation at Noble-Wieting have provided a glimpse into what was probably McLean County’s largest community during the 1300s AD. As in any community, the inhabitants of Noble-Wieting shared certain similarities, as well as important differences, with their fellow villagers. Fortunately for archaeologists, many of these social dynamics are likely reflected in their houses and possessions. This presentation will provide a comparison of the remains of dwellings and their associated artifacts from different areas of the village to illustrate what is known about life at this unique and important site.

Dr. Logan Miller’s research and publications cover topics related to lithic technology and Midwestern archaeology. He has directed archaeological field schools in Illinois and Ohio.

For more information about this free, public program, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428 or 

Thursday, February 13

Lunch & Learn: The McLean County Small Business Development Center at IWU Lunch & Learn

Starts at 12:10 PM

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.

Karen Bussone, director of the McLean County Small Business Development Center at Illinois Wesleyan University, will share a brief history of the SBDC, the services the center provides, funding streams, performance parameters, and how clients hoping to start a new business or grow an existing one should prepare for an appointment. 

Thursday, February 20

Museum Closed-- Staff In-service Day

Starts at 8:30 AM

The Museum will be closed today for staff training.

Thursday, February 27

A Community in Conversation: Who Has the Power to Get an Equal Education?

Starts at 4:00 PM
1500 W Raab Rd., Normal, IL 61761

The second in a series of programs will take place at Heartland Community College on Thursday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. in the Community Commons Building, Room 1406 . Heartland Community College, along with representatives of the Bloomington-Normal NAACP, 100 Black Men, Black Lives Matter, and others will host a discussion on the lasting barriers and the lack of equitable access to educational opportunities for minority and marginalized populations. Inspired by the exhibit, Challenges Choices & Change: A Community in Conflict, this program series (January through April) will provide a brief introduction to local stories featured in the exhibit and expand into facilitated small group discussions on the chosen themes. All ages are encouraged to participate in any or all of the planned discussions. The series is being held in collaboration with Not it Our Town (NIOT), Heartland Community College, YWCA McLean County, and Normal Human Relations Commission.

Registration is encouraged, but not required. Click HERE to register.