We are open to the public, and are requiring masks for all visitors over the age of 2. See Plan Your Visit page for additional information.
View our calendar of upcoming events here.
After 27 years, the Evergreen Cemetery Walk continues going strong, while evolving to meet the changing needs of the people whom we serve. This year’s roster will feature six new voices and bring back two voices to share a new story. The stories of these individuals offer glimpses into every-day life on the Illinois prairie, shares how individuals in our community bore witness to one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, and also about the power of how an individual can start a movement to combat stereotypes and misinformation about an entire group of people. The impact individuals like these had on our history can be felt near and far.
Additionally, taking those lessons we learned last year into consideration, this year’s Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be BOTH an in-person Walk and a Virtual Walk. This will allow us to continue to offer the Walk to all the audiences that we serve no matter where you live or what your physical abilities may be.
The 2021 Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk will be viewable through the online platform Teachable. Ticket holders will have the option to view the
Walk in its entirety as a full-length video, or watch each performance individually as many times as you want from November 1 through December 31.
Tickets can be purchased by clicking this link. Tickets are $25 for the general public and $20 for Museum members household tickets (a household ticket means that anyone in your immediate household can view this event at any time—and as many times—between November 1 through December 31).
This year’s Walk will feature six new voices and bring back two voices to share a new story. This year’s feature characters are: Dr. William Hill (1829-1906), a surgeon in the Union Army who overcame accusations of being a “bodysnatcher” to become a well-liked and respected doctor in McLean County; William Rodenhauser (1842-1919), a German immigrant who worked as a carpenter for the C&A Railroad Shops for over 20 years; Julia Duff (1895-1984) and her sister Alverta Duff (1885-1968), who belonged to one of the earliest Black families to establish themselves in Normal and bore witness to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921; Mary Ann Marmon (1837-1908), who wrote about life growing up on the prairie, as her family was among the earliest settlers in McLean County; Sigmund Livingston (1872-1946) and Hilda Livingston (1892-1962), members of the Jewish Community and guest voices on this year’s Walk. Sigmund founded the Anti-Defamation League, which still exists today. And finally, George Carman (1838-1868), a printer, writer, actor, and public speaker who served as a soldier in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War.
If you have any questions or need special accommodations, please contact the Education Department at 309-827-0428, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Evergreen Cemetery Walk page on the Museum’s website at mchistory.org/learn/evergreen-cemetery-walk.Museum Closed for Professional Development
The Museum will be closed beginning at 2pm today for staff professional development. If you are needing assistance connecting to the Virtual Evergreen Cemetery Walk during the time we are closed please contact email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible.History Reads Book Club- From Slave to State Legislature: John W. E. Thomas Illinois’ First African American Lawmaker
All avid readers are welcome to join the Museum and Bloomington
Public Library on Tuesday, August 3 at 7:00 p.m. for the final installment of the History Reads Book Club for 2021. We will meet online via Zoom to discuss From Slave to State Legislature: John W. E. Thomas Illinois’ First African American Lawmaker by David Joens. Visit bit.ly/historyreads110221
to register for this free, online discussion.
As the first African American elected to the Illinois general assembly, John W. E. Thomas was the recognized leader of the state’s African American community for nearly twenty years and laid the groundwork for the success of future black leaders in Chicago politics. Despite his key role in the passage of Illinois’ first civil rights act and his commitment to improving his community against steep personal and political barriers, Thomas’s life and career have been long forgotten by historians and the public alike. This fascinating full-length biography—the first to address the full influence of Thomas or any black politician from Illinois during the Reconstruction Era—is also a pioneering effort to explain the dynamics of African American politics and divisions within the black community in post–Civil War Chicago.
In From Slave to State Legislator, David A. Joens traces Thomas’s trajectory from a slave owned by a doctor’s family in Alabama to a prominent attorney believed to be the wealthiest African American man in Chicago at the time of his death in 1899. Providing one of the few comprehensive looks at African Americans in Chicago during this period, Joens reveals how Thomas’s career represents both the opportunities available to African Americans in the postwar period and the limits still placed on them. When Thomas moved to Chicago in 1869, he started a grocery store, invested in real estate, and founded the first private school for African Americans before becoming involved in politics.
Joens cements Thomas’s legacy as a committed and conscientious lawmaker amid political and personal struggles. In revealing the complicated rivalries and competing ambitions that shaped black northern politics during the Reconstruction Era, Joens shows the long-term impact of Thomas’s friendship with other burgeoning African American political stars and his work to get more black representatives elected. The volume is enhanced by short biographies of other key Chicago African American politicians of the era.
To request a copy of the book, please contact the Reference Desk at Bloomington Public library at 309-828-6093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.Zoom Pitfalls and Promise (II): Public Art for McLean County Today
The Museum is pleased to welcome Felix Fiedler, art historian and psychologist from Germany, who will present a program that builds off of this spring’s presentation about how monuments have memorialized McLean County’s past. This free, Zoom webinar will be held on Saturday, November 6 at 1:00 p.m.
Fiedler’s program will explore how municipalities across the United States are calling on artists to mold new visions of their past and a more equitable future. Contemporary public art has long exposed the blind spots and distortions of mainstream memory. But, all too often, monuments that acknowledge racism and injustice can serve as fig leaves. How can we avoid that and foster public art that makes a difference? We will discuss examples from around the world and challenges right here in Bloomington-Normal and its surroundings.
Felix Fiedler is an art historian and psychologist from Germany. After serving as the Research Associate at the City of Hamburg’s public art program, he taught art history at Illinois State University.Día de los Muertos Ofrenda Comunitaria Closes
Visit the first floor of the McLean County Museum of History from Saturday, October 23 through Saturday, November 6 to view a community ofrenda in celebration of Día de los Muertos.Ofrenda (Spanish for offering) is a tiered altar created to honor deceased loved ones and celebrate life. Ofrendas include items significant to those loved ones and other items representing the four elements: Wind, Water, Fire, and Earth. The creation of ofrendas dates to Aztec and Mesoamerican practices. This community ofrenda is inspired by the Mexican Día de los Muertos tradition and is made possible through partnership with Western Avenue Community Center.
For more information, visit: https://fb.me/e/1m0oWXQchZoom Lunch and Learn: Bloomington/Normal Labor Market During the Covid Era: Are we Different? Lunch & Learn
The Bloomington/Normal Labor Market During the Covid Era: Are we Different?
Michael Seeborg, Retired Eckley Professor of Econom
Michael’s talk will focuses on how the Covid recession has impacted the Bloomington/Normal labor market with comparisons to state and national trends. He will also discuss trends in the finance and insurance sectors and the likely impacts of Rivian.
Zoom link to sign up for the webinar: https://bit.ly/MCMHNovLLZoom Breaking Bread in McLean County - Sunday Sauce: An Italian Staple
Sunday Sauce: An Italian Staple
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. Programs will last approximately 1 hr with time reserved for Q&A.
Join Jack Capodice for an exploration of his Central Illinois family’s Italian American cuisine and culture.To register for this Zoom webinar, go to bit.ly/breakbread10Zoom Buckle of the Corn Belt: An Illustrated Tour of McLean County & Everyone's Favorite Grain Cereal
On Saturday, November 20 at 1:00 p.m., please join the Museum’s Librarian, Bill Kemp, for a free, Zoom webinar that will explore the history of corn and how it has been a staple crop in what is today McLean County for the better part of a millennium.
Archaeological excavations tell us that corn has been grown in McLean County for at least 1,000 years. Today, acre-upon-acre of genetically modified corn represent the single defining characteristic of the county’s landscape. Kemp will lead participants through a mostly light-and-breezy tour of what corn has meant to McLean County, with his historical narrative enlivened with dozens and dozens of informative, imaginative, wistful, and humorous illustrations and photographs. Kemp promises a “corntacular” time for all.
To register for this free, Zoom webinar, visit https://bit.ly/MCMHCorn. For more information about this program, please contact the Education Department at email@example.com or 309-827-0428.