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

Friday, June 4

Cogs & Corsets- A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening

Starts at 4:00 PM

After a year of separation and isolation, Cogs & Corsets is back full steam ahead on June 4-5 to kick off the summer with some fun and whimsy. The Museum is pleased to be a partner in this now signature downtown event!

This year’s event will feature evening activities in downtown Bloomington on June 4 and several online speakers and a brunch on June 5. All the favorite events will be there including Nerf dueling, Dirigible Races, Splendid Teapot Racing, Costume Contest, Maker Faire, Steampunk Market, and more! Friday night’s activities will conclude with a special concert by Lady Lyric d’Avalon, the Time-Traveling Trouvère. Saturday will feature a brunch buffet on the lawn of the Vrooman Mansion. Tickets will need to be purchased in advance. The online lectures will be free, but require pre-registration.

The festivities will be centered around the Museum Square, and businesses throughout Downtown will be participating in a prize-winning scavenger hunt. Bloomington Public Library will also be joining the fun with pre-event activities for all ages.

Social distancing will be encouraged throughout the event and masks will be required. Most activities will be outdoors. Cogs & Corsets will start off at 4 pm and run until sunset at 9 pm on June 4. The brunch will start at 9 am on Saturday, June 5 followed by the online lectures.

We can’t wait to see you here! For registration and more information, please visit www.cogsandcorsetsil.org.

Saturday, June 5

Cogs & Corsets- The Skinny on the Scanties: A History of Women's Underwear

Starts at 10:00 AM

Join Susan Hartzold, Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the McLean County Museum of History, for a fascinating, illustrated program about what gets put on underneath women’s clothes on Saturday, June 5 at 10:00 a.m.

Ever wondered about the history, purpose, and meaning of women’s undergarments. Well here’s your chance to get a revealing peak at what’s been worn beneath our outer garments through the centuries and the not so hidden meanings they sometimes communicated.

This free webinar is part of the featured events of the annual Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening. To register for this program, please go to https://bit.ly/Cogs21. Questions or for more information about all the activities featured during the festival, visit https://www.cogsandcorsetsil.com.

Saturday, June 5

Cogs & Corsets- Urban Transit: Moving in the City

Starts at 1:00 PM

As countries urbanized and industrialized, a dilemma arose—how to move about efficiently. Transit systems were the solution, evolving from horse drawn omnibuses to cable railroads, elevated trains and the ubiquitous clanging trolley car. And throughout this evolution far-fetched schemes developed, political machinations followed, and early transit equipment highlighted craft work, with inlaid wood, elaborate paint schemes and glass ornamentation. Join us on Saturday, June 5 at 1:00 p.m. for this free, webinar presented by labor historian, Mike Matejka.

Matejka serves on the McLean County Museum of History’s board and is vice-president of the Illinois Labor History Society, along with many other community positions. His father was a St. Louis transit worker, beginning in 1947 as a trolley motorman, and a 50-year member of the Amalgamated Association of Street & Electric Railway Men & Motor Coach Employees of the United States & Canada Division 788.

This free webinar is part of the featured events of the annual Cogs and Corsets: A Central Illinois Steampunk Happening. To register for this program, please go to http://bit.ly/UrbanTransCogs. Questions or for more information about all the activities featured during the festival, visit https://www.cogsandcorsetsil.com/.

Tuesday, June 8

Breaking Bread in McLean County - Kickapoo Food and Remedies

Starts at 6:00 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 Lester Randall, Tribal Chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, as he explores the Kickapoo 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/breakbread5

Saturday, June 12

Meet the Author! Images of Rail: Central Illinois Train Depots by Thomas Dyrek Farmer's Market

Starts at 10:00 AM

The Museum is thrilled to host local author Thomas Dyrek, who will be signing copies of his first book featuring images on train depots found around Central Illinois. The book signing will be held on Saturday, June 12 from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. on the Museum’s Plaza (located on Washington Street) during the Farmer’s Market.

Thomas Dyrek is a senior at Normal West High School who has had a lifelong passion for all things train related. For the past several years he has traveled throughout Illinois and surrounding states taking pictures of trains and train stations and has built up a large collection of historic railroad photographs as well. A few years ago, Dyrek wrote an article about railroad depots in McLean County for the McLean County Genealogical Society’s journal. Since then, his interest in stations greatly expanded, and during 2020 and early 2021 he wrote his first book, Central Illinois Train Depots. The book covers many of the area’s railroad depots and their history, and features photographs of his own, from his collection, and from the cameras and collections of other railroad photographers and local museums (including the McLean County Museum of History). It is Dyrek’s hope that the book will inspire readers to go out and visit their local stations and learn about their own community’s railroad history.

Copies of Dyrek’s book will be available for purchase for $21.99 plus tax. For more information about this event, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org or 309-827-0428.

Wednesday, June 16

History Makers Gala

Starts at 6:30 PM

We hope you will join us this year on June 16th in celebration of our 2021 History Makers that include Carole & Jerry Ringer, Barbara Stuart, and Marilyn & Bob Sutherland. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, this year’s event will feature virtual presentations to our honorees Under the Dome at the Museum. We will livestream the event to those who register at no cost.

The evening will also include our tradition of having a short performance by Illinois Voices Theatre to recognize our honorees and their contributions to our community. We are accepting donations and sponsorships for the evening via the event registration page. Members who register will receive information prior to the event regarding a new slate of board officers and members that will be voted upon during the evening of the Gala.

To register to view this event, follow this link tinyurl.com/historymakersgala21.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Museum this summer and coming together in person for our traditional Gala celebration next year. Meanwhile, help our local restaurants and consider ordering your favorite takeout the evening of the Gala this year.

Tuesday, June 22

Did Black Lives Matter in Early Illinois? Voices from the Brink of Slavery and Freedom.

Starts at 6:30 PM

The Museum is pleased to host Dr. Caroline Kisiel, Associate Professor at DePaul University in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, who will offer a performance-presentation exploring slavery’s roots in Illinois and the people who fought the forces to keep Illinois a free state. This free, virtual presentation will be held on Tuesday, June 22 at 6:30 p.m.

In 1818, Illinois entered the United States with a Constitution declaring itself a free state. But slavery’s roots went back centuries in the region, and its hold on the young state was strong. In the first years of statehood, the Illinois legislature had a number of pro-slavery advocates who made a bold attempt to change the Constitution to allow slavery. They had already succeeded in building in limited slavery clauses into the 1818 Constitution which were to sunset in 1825, and they now wished to expand this foothold. Other voices vehemently fought against them, ultimately prevailing to preserve the free state.

Who were these voices advocating for a permanent constitutional change to allow slavery? And who stood up against them, preserving the free state of Illinois we know? And ultimately, in what ways did these opposing voices support Black lives, or not? This performance-presentation offers a dramatic reading/adaptation of the voices of three key proslavery figures (Territorial Governor, Ninian Edwards; secretary of the Illinois Territory, Joseph P. Phillips; and proslavery delegate, Adolphus Frederick Hubbard) and three antislavery figures (Governor Edward Coles; anti-convention legislator, Nicholas Hansen; English emigrant and Illinois Secretary of State, Morris Birkbeck) from this period.

Dr. Caroline Kisiel is a public historian and educator who has been teaching for over 25 years. With a background in immigration law, literature, history, storytelling, and performance, she writes and presents on early Illinois history and is currently conducting research on the role of Albion, Illinois in the struggle to keep Illinois slavery-free in the early years of statehood. Her presentations showcase researched information, historical documents, dramatic readings, and facilitated audience engagement activities around critical questions of the value of history and activism through themes of early Illinois struggles to keep slavery at bay in the state and key early Illinois figures in this period.

To register for this free, zoom webinar, go to https://bit.ly/3sddr0I. Questions or for more information, please contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org.

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.

Saturday, June 26

Knit In at the David Davis Mansion

Starts at 10:00 AM
1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington, Illinois 61701

All Knitters and Crocheters are invited to participate in a socially distant, outdoor Knit In on the beautiful grounds of the David Davis Mansion on Saturday, June 26 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Registration is required. Please click this link to fill out the google form to sign up to participate: https://bit.ly/KnitInJune. This quarter’s feature charity item to be made are Pet Blankets, which will be donated to local animal shelters. Participants can bring completed blankets to the event if they cannot attend, completed items can be dropped off at the Museum after May 1.

The Museum follows all health and safety guidelines according to the Restore Illinois Phased Plan for Reopening and Illinois State Mandates.Participants will be required to answer health screening questions upon their arrival.

Social distancing of at least six feet will be required and face masks must be worn at all times unless you are seated in your chair and maintaining social distance.

Capacity for this event is limited to 50 people. Participants must bring their own lawn chair and can bring a beverage. No food or beverages will be provided.Public restrooms will be available.

**PLEASE NOTE** 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 canceled.

For questions or more information, please contact the Education Department at the Museum at education@mchistory.org.