Special Exhibits for the 2016 season include (Download PDF):
“Bottles, Barrels & Brews: McHenry County on Tap”
(Members showcase their collections)
“A Tale of Ten Textiles”
(Highlights from our textile collection)
“Gone But Not Forgotten: Victorian Mourning Customs”
“Wheeling Through History”
“Off the Hook”
* May is Historic Preservation Month – a time to look at local history.
See local listings for special programs.
Program Schedule for 2016 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.
March 7 – Monday
• 7 p.m. – My Kind Of Booze Town. Presented by Liz Garibay. Chicago is a city built on alcohol. From foundation to fires and fairs, beer and booze have played pivotal roles in the development of this area. Beer and tavern historian, Liz Garibay, will discuss how alcohol helped shape Chicago.
March 21 – Monday
• 3 p.m.– The River As A Time Machine. Presented by Fox River laureate and ecologist Brian Ellis of Bishop Hill. This musical ramble through history will explore how we humans have shaped the rivers, how the rivers have changed throughout time, and the importance of rivers in the layers of human history. Made possible by Illinois Humanities.
April 4 –Monday
• 7 p.m.– Wisconsin Supper Clubs - An Old Fashioned Experience. Presented by author/filmmaker Ron Faiola. Discover why supper clubs are such a big part of Wisconsin's food culture. In his new book, “Wisconsin Supper Clubs – Another Round,” slated for release in June, Ron highlights 50 more of the finest establishments, including Fitzgerald’s in Genoa City and the Colony House Restaurant in Trevor.
April 18 – Monday
• 3 p.m. – The History of Mexican Railroad Boxcar Communities in the Chicago Area & the Midwest. Presented by Antonio Delgado. Between 1910 and the 1950s, particularly in the Midwest, railroads employed a large number of Mexican immigrants to lay track. These immigrant railroad workers and their families lived on railroad property, in railroad boxcars and “section houses,” year-round. Made possible by Illinois Humanities.
• 6 to 9 p.m. – The McHenry County Historical Society marks its 53rd year with a season-opening soirée featuring brewing exhibit, refreshments and sampling of regional craft beers.
• Free museum admission for residents of Spring Grove and Richmond.
• Free museum admission for residents of Huntley.
• Free museum admission for resident of Algonquin Township.
• Free museum admission for residents of Ringwood and Fox River Grove.
June 12 – 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. (Part of the Passport to History program Sundays in June. Visit GotHistory.org for details.)
• Free museum admission for residents of McHenry and Burton townships.
June 16– Thursday
• 7 p.m. – Perkins Hall Players presents a historic drama. Be on the Square for a re-enactment of a bellwether event in Woodstock’s history: The 1895 release from the McHenry County Jail of union activist Eugene Victor Debs before a large, enthusiastic crowd. Sentenced to a six-month jail sentence by a federal court for Debs’ American Railway Union’s job action affecting Pullman cars on passenger trains, Debs converted to socialism while in jail and five years later ran in the 1900 presidential election as a socialist. Period clothing encouraged. Light refreshments. Free admission.
• Free museum admission for residents of Prairie Grove and Crystal Lake.
June 26– Sunday
• 4 p.m. – Annual meeting and members’ picnic. Museum grounds. Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.
June 28-July 1
• Free museum admission for residents of McHenry and McCullom Lake.
July 10 – Sunday
• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 31st Annual Heritage Fair. Theme: “Wheeling Through History.” Antique car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. White Elephant Sale at 9 a.m. Antique auction with auctioneer Russ Davis will be at 10:30 a.m. At noon and 3 p.m. AWS certified quilt appraiser, artist, and teacher Sandy Schweitzer of Crystal Lake will demonstrate a quilt bed turning featuring circle patterns. Pie-baking contest at 9:30 a.m. Children’s discovery area. Baked goods, book, antique clothing, garden plants and white elephant sales continue throughout the day. Freddy Fredericks and other magicians will stroll the grounds throughout the day, with a special performance at 2 p.m. on the auditorium stage. Music will be provided by the Clef Hangers barbershop quartet. “The James” mobile museum will be open and food is available. Admission is free. Residents of the village of Union will host garage sales throughout town.
• Free museum admission for residents of Lakemoor and Marengo.
July 24 – Sunday
• 2 p.m. – Dave Oberg, historian, home brewer and executive director of the Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum, presents A Brief History of Beer. From ancient China, Egypt and Sumeria to the modern age, this program uses fascinating anecdotes and images to trace the evolution of this refreshing beverage over a span of more than 9,000 years. $5 members/$10 nonmembers (includes museum admission)
• Free museum admission for residents of Woodstock.
Aug. 3-7 – Wednesday through Sunday
• McHenry County Fair, Woodstock. Visit us in Building E.
• Free museum admission for residents of Alden and Coral townships.
• Free museum admission for residents of Lake in the Hills.
Aug. 12 & 14
• “Elementary Follies” old-fashioned school pageant benefiting Pringle School’s restoration. Set in 1936, this original comedy written by Nancy Fike marks McHenry County’s centennial … in a very unusual way. 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, historical museum stage. Cost: $10.
• Free museum admission for Dorr Township residents.
• Free museum admission for residents of Dunham and Riley townships.
Aug. 27 – 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 ballfield.
Aug. 28 – Sunday
• 2 p.m. – The Seneca Ladies Literary Society, formed in 1855 and believed to be the oldest women’s literary group in America, will discuss its new book chronicling the group’s history. Free with museum admission.
Aug. 30-Sept. 2
• Free museum admission for residents of Wonder Lake.
• Free museum admission for residents of Greenwood Township.
Sept. 11 – Sunday
• 2 p.m. – The Art of War. Presented by Robert Frenz. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the United States entry into World War II. Wartime propaganda posters, like those in Bob’s collection, encouraged Americans to defend their country, ration food, conserve energy, purchase war bonds, produce for victory, and maintain secrecy. Learn about these iconic wartime images and the artists who created them. $5 members/$10 nonmembers (includes museum admission and mobile WWI exhibit)
Sept. 25 – Sunday
• 2 to 4 p.m. – Circuit Sing-along. Learn about the early circuit riders of the Methodist Church and join in singing some old-fashioned hymns. Riley Church, 9316 Riley Road, Marengo. Tap your toes and sing to the music of keyboardist/accordion player Mary Ellen Heelan of Cary. Free will donation to maintain the 1898 church.
Oct. 2– Sunday
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – 39th Annual Cider Festival. Civil War re-enactors featuring the 36th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Live music, old fashioned cider making, 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. 12 – Wednesday
• 7 to 9 p.m. – Historic Halloween. “Victorian Art of Death.” Draw curtains, cover your mirrors, set traps for the Resurrectionists at your loved ones’ graves, and put a bell in the coffin. Michael Murschel, author of “The Uncommon History of Elgin, Illinois and Surrounds,” and Judi Brownfield, owner of Books at Sunset, undertake to lead you in a shadowy procession through more than one hundred of the exquisite points of Victorian funereal culture. 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. 14, 15, 16 – 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. 11 – Friday
• 1:30 p.m. – “Our Women and Their Quilts.” Join Barbara Peterson, owner of the Attic Window in Walworth, Wis., as she showcases vintage quilts from her collection. Listen to the stories behind these rare, vintage quilts, which date from the 1880s to the 1940s. Learn about the local ladies who made these quilts and hear some of their stories. Learn more about McHenry County history and the heritage of quilt-making. Valor Quilt presentation precedes the program. The drawing for the Heritage Quilters’ raffle quilt will follow. Admission: $5 nonmembers, $3 members.
Dec. 3 - Saturday
• 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Holiday Open House. View unique historic display. Enjoy holiday music, homemade cookies, browse our bake sale and search for unique gifts in the gift shop.
Dec. 7 – Wednesday
• 1 to 3 p.m.: Thank You Luncheon for Historical Society Volunteers.