We are closed today.

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

Tuesday, May 4

Zoom History Reads Book Club- Death in the Haymarket

Starts at 7:00 PM

All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington Public Library on Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. for the second installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2021. We will meet online via Zoom to discuss Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America by James Green. Visit bit.ly/historyreads050421 to register for this free, online discussion.

On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a Chicago labor rally, wounding dozens of policemen, seven of whom eventually died. A wave of mass hysteria swept the country, leading to a sensational trial, that culminated in four controversial executions, and dealt a blow to the labor movement from which it would take decades to recover. Historian James Green recounts the rise of the first great labor movement in the wake of the Civil War and brings to life an epic twenty-year struggle for the eight-hour workday. Blending a gripping narrative, outsized characters and a panoramic portrait of a major social movement, Death in the Haymarket is an important addition to the history of American capitalism and a
moving story about the class tensions at the heart of Gilded Age America.

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.

Saturday, May 8

Breaking Bread in McLean County - Kaffe, Knäckebröd, & Coal: Swedish-Americans in Central Illinois

Starts at 1:00 PM

The Museum, in partnership with BN Welcoming (a coalition of the Immigration Project, Not In Our Town/Not In Our Schools, West Bloomington Revitalization Project, Mennonite Church of Normal, and First United Methodist Church together creating a supportive environment for immigrants to McLean County), Design Streak at Illinois State University, and Heartland Community College will present a 10-part program series exploring stories of migration, immigration, adaptation, assimilation, appropriation, preservation, contribution, and sustentation in McLean County. Breaking Bread in McLean County will highlight the shared and disparate experiences of local migrant communities from the Kickapoo to Congolese Americans, seeking to disrupt the historical chronology in order to promote a deeper understanding of the ways McLean County has traditionally treated its migrant communities.

Join Hannah Johnson of the McLean County Museum of History, Edgar and Virginia Lundeen, and other members of the community as they explore the Swedish American experience in McLean County.

Programs will last approximately 1 hr with time reserved for Q&A.

To register for this Zoom webinar, go to bit.ly/breakbread4

Tuesday, May 11

Carrying The Colors: The Life and Legacy of Medal of Honor Recipient Andrew Jackson Smith

Starts at 7:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to host Sharon MacDonald and Robert Beckman, authors of the book Carrying the Colors, and Greg Koos, historian and Emeritus Executive Director of the Museum, for a program exploring the story of Andrew Jackson Smith, who escaped bondage and fought for the Union Army. On Tuesday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m., this Zoom webinar will discuss his significant connections to central Illinois and how his wartime heroism was finally recognized with the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, in 2001.

In 1862, Andrew “Andy” Jackson Smith, son of a white landowner and enslaved woman, escaped to Union troops operating in Kentucky, made his way to the North, and volunteered for the 55th Massachusetts, one of the newly formed African American regiments. The regiment was deployed to South Carolina, and during a desperate assault on a Confederate battery, the color bearer was killed. Before the flag was lost, Smith quickly retrieved it and under heavy fire held the colors steady while the decimated regiment withdrew. The regiment’s commanding officer pro­moted Smith to color sergeant and wrote him a commendation for both saving the regimental flag and bravery under fire. Honorably discharged, Smith returned to Kentucky, where over the course of the next forty years he invested in land.

In the early twentieth century, Burt G. Wilder, medical officer of the 55th, contacted Smith about his experiences for a book he was writing. During their correspondence, Wilder realized Smith was eligible for the nation’s highest award. In 1916, Wilder applied to the army, but his request for Smith’s medal was denied due to the “absence of records.” At Smith’s death in 1932, his daughter Caruth received a box of his papers revealing the extent of her father’s heroism. Her nephew took up the cause and through long and painstaking research located the lost records. With the help of the authors (historians Sharon MacDonald and W. Robert Beckman), local politicians, and others, Andrew Jackson Smith received his long overdue Medal of Honor in 2001 after obtaining the reversal of the denial of his recommendation for the Medal of Honor.

Copies of this book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, or online through Amazon or Westholme Publishing. To register for this free, zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/3282CTa. Questions? Contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org.

Thursday, May 13

Zoom Lunch and Learn -Brahm's Use of Motive to Unify his Three Intermezzi, Opus 117

Starts at 12:10 PM

Join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for the final  Zoom Lunch and Learn of the season. Franklin Larey, Director and Professor School of Music Illinois Wesleyan University, will present a lecture-recital exploring Brahms’s use of motive to bring structure and unity to the three Intermezzi. This compositional technique was described by Schoenberg as “developing variation” in his famous essay, “Brahms, the Progressive.” Schoenberg also believed that this technique was one of the most important compositional principles since around 1750.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/MCMHMayLunch. 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.

Thursday, May 27

Zoom Lunch & Learn Extra- Rivian: Adventurous Together Lunch & Learn

Starts at 12:10 PM

Join the Museum and Illinois Wesleyan University for a second bonus Zoom Lunch and Learn this season. Laura Ewan, Community Relations Coordinator at Rivian, will share an update on the Rivian Plant in Normal. Rivian is ramping up for SOP (Start of Production) this summer and is excited to share more information with Bloomington-Normal.

To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit http://bit.ly/MCMHMayLunch2. 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.