New Resort Exhibit Opening!
Special Exhibits for the 2017 season include:
“Waterways and Getaways: Resort Life in McHenry County”
“A Tale of Ten Textiles”
(Highlights from our textile collection)
“Gone But Not Forgotten: Victorian Mourning Customs”
“Wheeling Through History”
Mobile museum: “McHenry County Enlists - The Great War: 1914-18
* May is Historic Preservation Month – a time to look at local history.
See local listings for special programs.
Program Schedule for 2017 Museum Activities
Sampler Lecture Series
Suggested donation for individual programs is $10. Programs are at the McHenry County Historical Society Museum, 6422 Main St. in Union. Series, which began March 6, is denoted by *
March 20 – Monday
* 7 p.m. – The National Park Service at Age 100. Norman Moline, accomplished cultural geographer from Rock Island, offers highlights of NPS history and discusses some of the nearly 500 sites in the Midwest. Setting aside particularly beautiful, scientific or historic sites and making them available to the public were unprecedented actions in world history and played a crucial role in getting state parks started. Made possible by Illinois Humanities.
April 3 – Monday
* 7 p.m.– Rockford’s Camp Grant and World War I. Terry Dyer, a recognized scholar and lecturer on Camp Grant, will discuss the 1917 origins of this massive National Army Training Center, named for Ulysses S. Grant, that operated until 1946. Dyer, a lifelong resident of northern Illinois, is the past state commander of the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, a member of S.U.V.C.W. John A. Logan Camp No. 26, the Gettysburg Foundation and the Rock River Civil War Round Table.
April 29 – Tuesday
• 7 p.m. – Eugene V. Debs and the Fight for Free Speech in World War I. Join historian Ernest F. Freeberg as he discusses one of the Great War’s greatest opponents: Socialist and one-time McHenry County prisoner, Eugene Debs. Debs was labeled “a clear and present danger” to national security and imprisoned. Is protest in times of war a democratic right or an act of treason? Doors to the McHenry County Historical Society Museum open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door. The lecture is being co-sponsored by the McHenry County Historical Society, Woodstock Celebrates and the Illinois Labor History Society.
May 15 – Monday
* 3 p.m. – General Pershing and World War I. Local historian and re-enactor, Ed O'Brien, will assume the guise of Gen. John L. “Black Jack” Pershing, commander of American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I and responsible for more than 2 million men. Pershing, the best known soldier of his time, is worth remembering as our nation marks the 100th anniversary of its entry into the war.
May 5 – Friday
• 6 to 9 p.m. – The McHenry County Historical Society marks its 54th year with a season-opening soirée featuring a wine tasting, refreshments and the unveiling of its new exhibit: Waterways and Getaways: Resort Life in McHenry County. Shoreline resorts, sportsmen’s hunting and fishing clubs, summer homes, cottage rentals, boarding houses and campgrounds were all built throughout Fox-Chain O’ Lakes region. By 1905 there were 80 resorts and cottages around the shores of Pistakee Bay – most occupied by wealthy summer residents from Chicago.
June 11 – Sunday
• 2 p.m. – Old Fashioned, 1860 baseball game at Village Hall Park off Barreville and Ames roads in Prairie Grove. Civil War-era baseball game pits the McHenry County “Independants” against the Grayslake Athletics. Grayslake Heritage Center Executive Director Dave Oberg will umpire and emcee, explaining the rules and teaching the audience to cheer and jeer in proper 19th-century fashion.
June 21 - Wednesday
• 7 p.m. – Perkins Hall Players return to Perkins Hall for the historic drama, “Banking on Clams,” about a get-rich-quick scheme in the 1920s by a local banking family to grow artificial pearls in Fox River. Come and join in the civil melodrama, located at Garden Valley and Franklinville roads near Woodstock. Period clothing encouraged. Light refreshments. Free admission.
July 9 – Sunday
• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 32st Annual Heritage Fair. Theme: “Unwind Like Its 1899.” Antique car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. White Elephant Sale at 9 a.m. Pie-baking contest at 9:30 a.m. Antique auction with auctioneer Russ Davis will be at 10:30 a.m. Special focus on children’s activities: Pioneer play, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dave Herzog’s Marionettes, 1 p.m.; Freddy Fredericks and other magicians will stroll the grounds throughout the day and give a special performance at 2:30 p.m. on the auditorium stage. Exhibition tours at noon and 3 p.m. Baked goods, book, antique clothing, garden plants and music by the Clef Hangers barbershop quartet throughout the day. “The James” mobile museum will be open and food is available. Admission is free. Village-wide garage sale also scheduled.
July 17– Monday
• 6 p.m. – Annual meeting and members’ picnic. Museum grounds. Meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Aug. 2-6 – Wednesday through Sunday
• McHenry County Fair, Woodstock. Historic photos of county. Quilt raffle. One-of-a-kind museum store items and books. Visit us in Building F.
Aug. 20 – Sunday
• 1 to 4 p.m. – Pringle School Sesquicentennial Celebration. Box lunch auction, exhibits and music mark the school’s 150th birthday at 21596 River Road, just west of Route 23, in Marengo.
Aug. 26 – Saturday
• 4 p.m. – Old Fashioned “ base ball” game at Central Park, Grayslake. (Precursor to annual balloon festival.) Civil War-era baseball game pits the The McHenry County “Independants” (an actual team of that era) against the Grayslake Athletics in a rematch from earlier this year at home. To get there take Route 120 east to South Lake Avenue. Turn left and then take another left into Grayslake Central High School to park. Walk across the street to Central Park to find the ball field.
Sept. 10 – Sunday
• 1 p.m. – Pistakee Bay boat tour. Leaving from Famous Freddie’s in Fox Lake, this two-hour, guided tour points out many of the historic landmarks that captivated tourist at the turn of the century, as well as now. Learn about the geography, famed lotus beds and once thriving resort scene – all of which are chronicled in a new, two-year exhibit at the museum. Limited seating. To buy tickets visit GotHistory.org or call the office.
Oct. 1 – Sunday
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 40th Annual Cider Festival. Civil War re-enactors featuring the 36th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Live music, old fashioned cider making, blacksmith, barn-raising demonstration. An apple goodies bakery, kettle korn, book, antique clothing, and white elephant sale and food will be available. The museum, the Gannon 1843 log cabin and 1895 West Harmony one-room school are also open free all day.
Oct. 11 – Wednesday
• 7 to 9 p.m. – Historic Halloween. “Return of the Dead.” For this dark night only, several of McHenry County’s tragically departed return to describe the details of their demise. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Halloween refreshments in the Society’s West Harmony one-room school afterward. Admission: $5 for members, $10 nonmembers.
Oct. 20, 21 and 22 – Friday through Sunday
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Autumn Drive. Visit Perkins Hall for unique local history gifts during Autumn Drive, along Garden Valley Road, southwest of Woodstock, at the southwest corner of Franklinville and Garden Valley Roads. To rent inside or outside vending spaces call 815-923-2267. For festival information: www.autumndrive.net.
Nov. 8 – Wednesday
• 1:30 p.m. – “Moving forward with a new Tradition – Art Quilts.” Celebrated quilter and lecturer Frieda Anderson of Elgin explains what it takes to make your mark with fabric, drawing inspiration from traditional quilt patterns as well as nature. She will show off many quilts from her collection. Valor Quilt presentation, drawing for the Heritage Quilters’ raffle quilt and a show-and-tell to follow. Admission: $5 members, $10 nonmembers.
Dec. 2 - Saturday
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Holiday Open House. “Rock Around Holiday Quilt Contest & Show.” All quilt-makers regardless of experience are invited to participate. Winners in each category will receive ribbons. View unique historic display. Enjoy holiday music, homemade cookies, browse our bake sale and search for unique gifts in the museum store.
Dec. 6 – Wednesday
• 1 to 3 p.m.: Thank You Luncheon for Historical Society Volunteers.