|Past Exhibits at Elmhurst Historical Museum
Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst
November 8, 2013 - April 19, 2014
poet and newspaperman, folk song collector and movie critic, family man
and political activist, Lincoln biographer and children’s book author:
Carl Sandburg was a Renaissance man of many talents and passions during
the 1920s when he resided with his family in suburban Elmhurst. Through
rare photos, film, artifacts and touch-screen interactives, this new
exhibit chronicles one of the most prolific decades of Sandburg’s life.
During this time, he penned the children’s favorite Rootabaga Stories, completed Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, tirelessly traversed the country collecting folk songs for the American Songbag,
and wrote numerous poems depicting the grit and disillusionment of life
in a rapidly industrializing nation. The exhibit profiles one of
America's most influential literary figures who ascended to
international fame as a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner and beloved poet
of our state and our country.
Read the Daily Herald article, November 2013.
Learn more about Sandburg
from the Poetry Foundation.
Shutter to Think: The Rock & Roll Lens of Paul Natkin
May 31 - August 25, 2013 - Extended through January 4 at Chicago Cultural Center
Paul Natkin is widely considered to be one of Chicago’s most accomplished music photographers. Starting in the early 1970s, Natkin traveled the world documenting signature moments of drama, excitement, and excess that propelled rock’s tumultuous history. His astute eye and knack for capturing “the decisive moment” earned international acclaim and resulted in numerous magazine and album covers. Learn the stories behind many of Natkin’s photos of rock icons including Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Pearl Jam, The Who and many more. Narrative written by award-winning Chicago Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra and interpretive video elements produced by Tribeca Flashpoint Academy. Experience engaging interactives including a Rolling Stone magazine cover photo op in the 2nd floor gallery and a spyglass for kids to discover hidden clues. Exhibit and program support provided by School of Rock, Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, York Theatre/Classic Cinemas, Elmhurst Public Library, and Elmhurst Heritage Foundation. Read the Chicago Tribune article from May 30.
Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation
August 30-October 20, 2013
Visitors explored the life arc of America’s Greatest Generation—the stories of their lives from birth to old age, told in their own words—in the Midwest debut of this national traveling exhibition. Born in the 1910s and ‘20s, this generation was shaped by their experiences during the Great Depression and World War II, creating both the Baby Boom and the postwar economic surge. Highlights included personal anecdotes and photos, a variety of domestic and cultural objects, and multi-media displays. An interactive kiosk with interviews of Elmhurst residents offering their stories and a local perspective on suburban life during this tumultuous era. Developed by the Minnesota Historical Society and toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road.
On the Road to Glory: Fred Lorenzen
February 1 - May 19, 2013
The story of NASCAR legend and Elmhurst native Fred Lorenzen comes to life through photos, artifacts, and exciting race footage depicting a little-known local hero who etched his name in the annals of racing history. Find out how this Midwestern outsider, known as “Fearless Freddie,” got the inside track in the early days of professional NASCAR racing to become a fan favorite and winner of the 1965 Daytona 500. See the Fred Lorenzen tribute car, an exact replica of Lorenzen’s #28 1964 Ford Galaxie, on opening weekend, Feb. 1-3 from 1-5 p.m. and Museum Day (May 19).
This exhibit was generously sponsored by Chicagoland Speedway.
Read more about this exhibit...
Chicago Tribune Jan. 2013
Elmhurst Press, Feb. 2013
Cover story of Inside Elmhurst debut issue, Feb. 2013
Centuries of Progress: American World's Fairs, 1853-1982
October 26, 2012 - January 6, 2013
The history of the American World's Fairs came to Elmhurst in a national traveling exhibition documenting the spectacle and wonder of the stateside World's Fairs. The exhibit featured photographs, posters, video displays, and artifacts from the exhibitions held on U.S. soil starting with the 1853 New York Crystal Palace Exhibition to the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. Organized by the Hagley Museum and Library and a program of ExhibitsUSA, a division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was sponsored by York Theatre/Classic Cinemas.
Elmhurst Goes to the Fair
October 26, 2012 through April 21, 2013
This supplemental exhibit in the 2nd floor gallery features rare artifacts from the Elmhurst Historical Museum's collection from both of Chicago's World's Fairs -- the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the 1933-34 Century of Progress. See a highlight on former Elmhurst resident and international World Fair promoter, Thomas Barbour Bryan. Learn about artist Caroline Wade and a young Elmhurst girl who made frequent visits to the 1933 fair.
May 11-September 30, 2012
Sweet Home Chicago:
The History of America's Candy Capital
From Fannie May and Brach's Candies to Tootsie Rolls, Frango Mints, Lemonheads and many more -- Chicago has a tasty history of producing candy loved the world over. Visitors learned about Chicago's candy-making history and why the city has been a sweet spot for creating confections. The exhibit included interactive displays with nostalgic photos and artifacts, a Candy IQ Quiz to identify candy bars by their ingredients, a video narrated by Bill Kurtis, and the Twisted Candy Challenge tested candy-wrapping skills. Exhibit collaborator: Leslie Goddard, PhD.
For information on rental of this traveling exhibit, contact Lance Tawzer at 630-833-1457.
January 24-March 18, 2012
Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow:
Living with the Atomic Bomb, 1945-1965
The dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan in 1945 marked the end of World War II but resulted in a new threat: the uncertainty of the Atomic Age. This traveling exhibition from ExhibitsUSA explores the ways in which Americans lived with the daily fear of atomic war, and how government responded to the growth of atomic powers and the onset of the Cold War. Through interesting period artifacts and displays, “Alert Today” shows how Americans were inundated with multi-media propaganda that warned of the dangers of atomic energy and reflected a nervous public and shifting global politics. Visitors experienced the Cold War’s local impact through video interviews with area residents, artifacts, Civil Defense films and more. A program of ExhibitsUSA, a division of the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
April 26-September 27-December 11, 2011
Between the States
A touching, poignant traveling exhibition from the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, NY, "Between the States" focused its sights on the Civil War through the lenses of early American photographers. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of “Mr. Lincoln’s War", the exhibit presents a selection of rare photographs depicting historical Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner and more. "Between the States" and its tour are organized by George Eastman House.
Letters from Home
The Civil War's local impact came vividly to life through original artwork created by the Elmhurst Artists Guild and inspired by Elmhurst Historical Museum's collection of Civil War era letters from area resident, Frederick Fischer, and his family. On exhibition for the first time, these artistic interpretations offered an intimate depiction of the ordeals experienced by soldiers at war and their families on the homefront. Visitors listened to recorded excerpts from the letters detailing skirmishes with confederate soldiers, the drudgery of daily duties, and sad news of a sibling's death in the line of duty in this uniquely collaborative exhibit. The exhibit was sponsored by David Pezen, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist, and supported by Elmhurst Artists Guild, Elmhurst College, and Green Man Theatre Troupe.
April 26-September 18, 2011
Toys in the 'Hood
This original exhibit created by EHM staff, in collaboration with author and toy inventor Tim Walsh, brought the art of play to life with an engaging history of toys and the creative Chicago area inventors who have made the city an epicenter for toy invention. Visitors saw prototypes and early versions of some of the classic toys created here in Chicago (including Operation, Simon and TMX Tickle Me Elmo), as well as video and multi-media displays featuring inventors and their work. In the 2nd floor gallery, interactive stations provided opportunities for hands-on play, including a life-size Operation game. Exhibit Collaborator: Tim Walsh
February 1-April 3, 2011
Anne Frank: A History for Today
The history of the Holocaust unfolded in this traveling exhibition from the Anne Frank Center USA telling the story of Anne Frank through family photographs juxtaposed with images of actual historical events. The exhibit chronicled the history of World II and the key people and events that impacted the lives of the Frank family, and examined difficult choices made by those who joined the Nazi Party, remained bystanders, or chose to resist tyranny. Visitors were encouraged to examine their own attitudes toward others and to work to foster a more just, inclusive society. Click here to read quotes from the Community Diary that was featured in the Anne Frank exhibit. Anne Frank: A History for Today was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by The Anne Frank Center USA.
October 12, 2010 - February 27, 2011
June 15, 2010 - January 2, 2011
The City of Elmhurst commemorated its 100th year of incorporation with a look back at the last century through rare photos, artifacts and video. "Century City" contemplated how Elmhurst was impacted by the change from a village to a city form of government in 1910, and told the stories of visionaries and innovations that shaped the city in its first 100 years. This exhibit was sponsored by ColorGrafx by Tree Towns Reprographics, and supported by Fifth Third Bank of Elmhurst. Take a quick look at an online tour of Century City including video footage featured in the exhibit.
The Magical History Tour
Reviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times as "an enchanted multi-media exhibit about magic and its Chicago connection," The Magical History Tour explored the history of magic and Chicago’s links to the world of magic performance. Features included displays on the legendary magicians who developed this amazing performance art, including Robert-Houdin, Blackstone, Houdini and more. A special section on Elmhurst resident, magician and famous magic teacher, Dr. Harlan Tarbell added a local connection. This exhibit included any fascinating artifacts from local collectors, including items from Marshall Brodien of WGN's Bozo Show and TV Magic Cards fame, as well as Jay Marshall, the Dean of American Magicians. Many video clips and an interactive spy-glass experience for kids added to the magic. Exhibit Collaborator: Neil Tobin
October 13, 2009-May 23, 2010
Dwellings: A Study in Residential Architecture
Using Elmhurst as a case study, this original exhibit takes visitors on an exploration of the diverse architectural styles of the western suburbs. From bungalows and prairie style residences to turn-of-the-century Victorians, Sears mail order homes and more, Dwellings depicts the architectural details of neighborhoods in the Elmhurst area and explains how the city evolved as a classic example of Midwestern suburbanization. The exhibit includes special features on the work of Walter Burley Griffin, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright; a video on "The Lost Homes of Elmhurst"; and a hands-on kids' activity desk with architectural building blocks. Take a look at the Dwellings subdivision map created for the exhibit...click here.
February 2-April 11, 2010
Beyond Baseball: The Life of Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente became a baseball legend during the 1960s and '70s with his explosive throwing arm, lightning speed, and consistently high batting average -- but he was much more than an astounding athlete. For millions of fans across the world, especially in his native Puerto Rico and throughout Latin America, Clemente was a cultural hero who gave underprivileged people a voice. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution, Beyond Baseball included biographical highlights, baseball statistics, rare photographs and artifacts, and the insightful words of the people who knew Clemente best. The exhibit featured bats and a helmet game-used by Clemente, collectibles and memorabilia, and a documentary from the Smithsonian. Beyond Baseball: The Life of Robert Clemente was developed by the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico with the Carimar Design and Research studio, and organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the Smithsonian Latino Center.
February 24-May 24, 2009
Jan. 28-March 15, 2009
Heroes of the Sky: Adventures in Early Flight
Visitors experienced the stories of the bold fliers and innovators who transformed airplanes from novel inventions into sophisticated machines. This national traveling exhibit from NEH on the Road recalled the first remarkable decades of flight by introducing visionaries, such as the Wright Brothers, Bessie Coleman and Henry Ford, who pushed the limits of aviation. The exhibit also documented Elmhurst's own aviation history as former home to a regional airport with many archive photos and artifacts from the Elmhurst Historical Museum collection.
A Celebration of an American Art Form in Elmhurst
This original exhibit explored the eclectic history of jazz by honoring the 75th anniversary of locally-published international jazz journal, DownBeat Magazine, and documenting the music education leadership of Elmhurst College with its long-running collegiate Jazz Festival. Elmhurst Jazz featured rare photos, video and artifacts such as Benny Goodman’s clarinet and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet. Highlights included: a timeline of notable Jazz greats; the story of DownBeat Magazine and its leadership in jazz journalism; the powerful force of the Chicago jazz scene, especially the influences of Goodman and Armstrong; and the evolution of the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival and the college’s commitment to jazz music education.
April 7 - May 31, 2009
Elmhurst Collects: Model Trains
First in a series of exhibits on local collectors, Model Trains depicted the history of model train collecting and featured excellent examples from local collectors, model train clubs, and the museum's permanent collection. Visitors learned about the different types of model trains, and how companies like Lionel fueled enthusiasm for train collecting over the years. Model Trains included an interactive track layout with two running model trains and push-button operation.
June 16-September 6, 2009
The Drawn-Out History of Comic Books
This colorful, family-friendly exhibit was a hit for comic book and pop culture fans of all ages. Museum patrons explored the art and innovation of creating comic books and the people who develop them. Visitors learned how comic books evolved from low-brow, humble beginnings to the sophisticated story lines and memorable characters that spawned a multi-million dollar, multi-media industry.
- The chronological story of the important eras of comic book history spanning from the 1930s to the present.
- Many examples of classic comic books, artifacts and collectibles.
- Interactive multi-media displays.
- Historic comic book film clips.
- Multiple kid-friendly, hands-on stations.
- An “artist’s workshop” developed with the assistance of three local comic book artists featuring a time-elapsed depiction of how they draw comic book characters.
- A larger-than-life fiberglass figure known to every comic book fan lurked in the exhibit’s entryway throughout the exhibit's run: the webbed wonder, Spider-Man.
November 4 - December 1, 2009
WWI: The Elmhurst Frontline and Homefront Story
Elmhurst Historical Museum presented a temporary display at Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave. in Elmhurst, honoring World War I veterans during the month of November. WWI: The Elmhurst Frontline and Homefront Story was an exhibition of photos, documents, and artifacts from the Elmhurst Historical Museum’s permanent collection. Some of the featured artifacts included a 139th Infantry uniform and cap, a mess kit and canteen, identification tags, haversack, and doughboy hat. In addition, letters and photos from the homefront and frontlines added insight to the experience of soldiers and their families during the First World War.