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About this program

With a permanent collection of 150 paintings, drawings and portraits, the McHenry County Historical Society is launching a fundraising initiative to restore and display artwork for its new exhibit, “Art of the Past: Discovering History through McHenry County Artists,” opening May 2021.

Whether due to age, damage, or improper storage or display, several pieces were donated to MCHS in need of restoration. The restoration is necessary to complete before going on exhibit. Some pieces merely need archival materials or framing, while others may need more extensive repairs.

By donating to the Adopt-an-Artwork program, you are directly supporting these restoration efforts. On this page you will find artworks selected for “adoption”. If you choose to donate the full restorative cost, you will receive:

  • “Adopt-an-Artwork” certificate.
  • Information packet on your selected artwork.
  • Before-and-after images once the restoration is complete.
  • Formal acknowledgment of your tax-deductible contribution.
  • You will be credited on the piece’s exhibit label.
  • A personalized invitation to the May 2021 exhibit opening.

Please know that you do not have to adopt an artwork on your own. You and your friends, family, or an organization you belong to may jointly adopt an artwork.

If you cannot decide on an artwork to adopt or cannot fund the whole cost, please consider donating to the General Art Restoration Fund.

Your donation will go towards the adoption of the highest priority piece. As a valued supporter of the McHenry County Historical Society & Museum, we thank you in advance for your commitment to preserving the permanent collection! For more information about the Adopt-an-Artwork Program contact Kira Stell at

How to Adopt an Artwork

  • Choose the artwork that you would like to adopt.
  • Click on the ADOPT NOW button and fill out your information
  • You will receive confirmation of your adoption.
  • An information packet will be mailed to you. This includes your adoption certificate, the condition report and treatment proposal, color prints of the artwork in its “before” state, and relevant background information on the piece.
  • Your adopted artwork will then be sent away for restoration. The curator will check in with you with an update once the piece has been restored.

Painting of the Richmond train station, 1986

Artist Edith Bambas (1911-2001)
Watercolor on paper
Gift of Joel Bambas, 2002.074

ADOPTED by Adrianne Adams.


Painting of a footbridge in Richmond over the Chicago & North Western Railroad tracks, 1981

Artist Edith Bambas (1911-2001)
Watercolor on paper
Gift of Joel Bambas, 2002.074

ADOPTED by the Popenhagen families of Richmond.


Millstream landscape, 1890

Artist Robert Andrews
Oil on linen canvas
Gift of Mrs. Walkup, 1967.031

ADOPTED in Memory of Dora and Tony Nering.


Cartoon of Dick Tracy in a spaceship above Woodstock, Gould’s hometown, 1967

Chester Gould (1900-1985)
Pen & ink, original
Gift of the Estate of Don Peasley, 2013.053
ADOPTED in Memory of Marian Harrison.


Artist Jessie Bowdish (1878-1980)
Oil on linen canvas
Gift of Lois & Lauren Bowdish, 1993.130

ADOPTED by Lake Marine & RV.

Forest landscape

Artist Julia Shoudy (1878-1944)
Oil on linen canvas
Gift of Mildred Hewes, 1974.094

ADOPTED in Memory of Bill Brosch.

Water lilies still life

Artist Julia Brown (1851-1940)
Oil on linen canvas
Gift of Dorothy Wright, 1982.036

ADOPTED in Memory of Marie Hartman.

Pond landscape, early 20th century

Artist Ester Austin (1888-1918)
Watercolor on paper
Gift of Mrs. Sherman, 1970.041

ADOPTED by Lisa Solak.

Painting of Dr. Hepburn’s barn in Ringwood

Artist Paul Jirousek
Watercolor on paper
Gift of Charles Brennan, 1979.004

ADOPTED in Memory of Bill and Evelyn Gardner.

Sunflower print

Artist Helen Leibhardt (1914-1993)
Etching print, numbered
Gift of Helen Leibhardt, 1979.216

ADOPTED by Stacy Nettell & Jim Lima.