If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Carmen Ensinger
Winchester’s Old School Museum will host the Illinois Freedom Project, a traveling exhibition from the Illinois Humanities, beginning on Nov. 20 and running through Dec. 18.
“We are very honored to be chosen to host this exhibition,” Old School Museum Director Tricia Wallace said. “The Illinois Freedom Project presents the story of the fight for freedom in Illinois from 18th century French colonial settlements in southwestern Illinois through early 20th century Chicago. It features everyday people in Illinois who struggled against slavery and prejudice and became community, state and national leaders.”
The exhibition is in conjunction with the Voice and Votes: Democracy in America – an exhibition from the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street Program that will be on display at the Jacksonville Area Museum at the same time.
The Museum on Main Street Program is a partnership between Illinois Humanities and the Smithsonian Institution that brings compelling exhibitions to communities with populations of fewer than 25,000 throughout Illinois. It gives Illinoisians the opportunity to experience Smithsonian-produced exhibitions in their own communities and also enables the local cultural organizations that host these exhibitions to enhance their capacities in a variety of ways.
Voices and Votes: Democracy in America examines questions stemming from the leap of faith taken by the American revolutionaries who established a government that entrusted the power of the nation not in a monarchy but its citizens. Who has the right to vote? What are the freedoms and responsibilities of citizens? Whose voices will be heard?
“This Illinois Freedom Project exhibition we are hosting goes hand in hand with this Museum on Main Street Program, which we had the pleasure of hosting a few years back,” Wallace said. “This exhibition will explore the pursuit of civil rights by and for African Americans in Illinois.”
Tim Townsend, Super-intendent of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield and one of the coordinators of the Illinois Freedom Project said he is pleased to be able to present the program.
“This exhibition provides a glimpse into the struggles and victories of African Americans in Illinois,” he said. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with Museum on Main Street and Illinois Humanities and look forward to working with the host or organizations in presenting this traveling exhibit.”
While the Old School Museum usually closes its doors the first week of December for the winter months, they plan to stay open for this exhibit.
“When they asked us if we would be willing to house this Illinois Freedom Project during the time that Jacksonville was having the Museum on Main Street, of course we said yes,” Wallace said. “They are going to have someone come here and set it all up and then the night before the exhibit opens, we are going to have a speaker come here.”
Winchester is the fourth of six communities the exhibitions will be traveling to.
“These exhibitions raise critical questions about how citizen participation – from revolution, to suffrage, to protests and organization – has shaped democracy in America,” Illinois Humanities Executive Director Gabrielle Lyon said. “The six host insitutions are cultural anchors in their communities and are ideally situated to host conversations about what it takes, and has taken in Illinois, to form ‘a more perfect union.’”
Prior to coming to Winchester, the exhibition was in Wood River, Salem and Thompson. After it leaves Winchester, it will go to Clinton and then Carbondale.
The Old School Museum is located at 110 East Cherry St. and is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Please call the museum at 217-742-8090 to arrange group/student visits.