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

Saturday, July 10

Breaking Bread in McLean County- Soul, Greens, and Savory Things: Local African American Food Traditions

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 the Congolese, emphasizing shared elements including food, family, tradition, trauma, and exchange; 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 Willie Holton Halbert, author of Cooking with Love and second vice president of the BN NAACP, and Jeff Woodard, Director of Marketing and Community Relations at the Museum. To register, go to

Saturday, July 17

Zoom Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University

Starts at 1:00 PM

The Museum is pleased to host authors Tom Emery and Carl Kasten for a program about Abraham Lincoln’s close ties to Illinois State University, a topic largely ignored in the 156 years since Lincoln’s death. This free, virtual program will be held on Saturday, July 17 at 1:00 p.m. as part of Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66.

Lincoln’s connection to then Illinois State Normal University is the subject of Emery and Kasten’s new book Abraham Lincoln and the Heritage of Illinois State University (2021). Lincoln served as counsel to the State of Illinois’ newly formed Board of Education, which oversaw I.S.N.U. He wrote the guaranty to secure funding for the university and in doing so, ensured that it would be located in Normal in 1857 (which at that time was known as North Bloomington). Additionally, many of the early financial backers of I.S.N.U were among Lincoln’s closest allies and friends, including David Davis and Jesse Fell. Had it not been for Lincoln’s work to secure the guaranty, I.S.N.U could likely have been awarded to nearby Peoria.

Tom Emery is an accomplished freelance writer and historical researcher who has created thirty-six book and booklet titles in his career. Among Emery’s other recent works is The History of Illinois, a full-length 2017 compilation that provides a thorough overview of the rich history of the state. He holds degrees from Blackburn College and Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. Emery is also the recipient of thirteen awards from the Illinois State Historical Society and is currently developing several large-scale historical projects.

Carl Kasten is now retired after a 48-year legal career. He is a graduate of Illinois State University and earned his J.D. from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. A history enthusiast, Kasten is a longtime supporter of education on all levels. From 2003-2008, Kasten served as chair of the Illinois State University Board of Trustees. Prior to that, he spent seven years as Secretary of the board.

To register for this free, Zoom webinar, go to For more information or question, please contact the Education Department at For a complete schedule of events for Lincoln’s Festival on Route 66, visit

Tuesday, July 20

Zoom Civil War Fathers: Sons of the Civil War in World War II

Starts at 6:30 PM

The Museum is pleased to host Peoria author Tim Pletkovich, who will present a virtual program about eight American families whose fathers fought in the U.S. Civil War and sons fought in World War II. This free virtual program will be held on Tuesday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Pletkovich’s book is based on interviews with the surviving WWII veterans, and shares the views of the Civil War through the eyes of children listening to their father’s stories, and World War II through the eyes of the same children as grown up participants. The primary focus of the book, however, is the broad span of social, cultural, and economic change that swept the country over nine decades. The eight families profiled in Civil War Fathers are as diverse as would be expected from any group of eight randomly selected American families, yet their stories all share similar themes and values. Among the World War II participants that will be featured in this presentation is recently deceased Army Air Corps pilot and Navy weatherman Fred Upham, whose father was appointed to West Point during the middle of the Civil War by President Lincoln. Lincoln and the elder Upham met on multiple occasions during the war.

In “Civil War Fathers,” the World War II sons talk about their lives growing up with their elderly Civil War fathers during the 1920s and ’30s, and how the difficult years of the Great Depression did much to prepare them for their own military service.

Tim Pletkovich is also the co-author of Nuns, Nazis, and Notre Dame: Stories of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Fight Irish. His periodical publications have been featured in Blue and Gray Magazine and New York Newsday. He resides in Peoria, Illinois.

To register for this zoom webinar, use this link Questions or for more information, please contact the Education Department at

Tuesday, July 20

Zoom Final Resting Place: The Stones Tell a Story with the McLean County Genealogical Society

Starts at 7:00 PM

Discover more about the life of your great grandfather by understanding the symbols on his gravestone. Learn how to read that death date on grandmother’s deteriorating stone. Find out how to care for that old tombstone before it completely disappears. Jane G. Haldeman is a Chicago-area based professional genealogist and owner of It’s Relative, with more than 25 years of research experience. She lectures on a wide range of topics both locally and nationally. She was the National Co-Chair for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2019 Conference in Washington, DC. She is a former president of both the Illinois State Genealogical Society and Fox Valley Genealogical Society in Naperville, Illinois and the author of A Genealogist’s Guide to Springfield, Illinois. Jane may be reached at and

For additional information contact Pat Perkins


Or phone in: 312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 852 2583 7568
Passcode: 288119