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Events & Exhibits

July
11

Fleeing the Nazis: A Journey of Two Sisters and the Hero Who Outwitted the Gestapo

Recently, Bruce Mainzer decided to better organize the affairs of his 103 year old mother who had Alzheimer's. He first looked into a bank safety deposit box which revealed new details about his mother's escape from Nazi occupied Prague in 1939. Despite his mother's inability to recall any details of her harrowing trip, Bruce was able to connect the clues from the documents from the safety deposit box with stories from his own family members and information of newly discovered relatives in Israel and the US of the hero who impersonated an embassy employee to fool the Nazis. Bruce's mother and aunt were the first Jews to try out the forged document scheme and they successfully made it to Paris and then the US. Upon hearing of the two sisters' successful escape, the hero then used the same methods to eventually obtain passage for thousands of other Jews to escape Prague and flee to British occupied Palestine.
Jun
27

Flora, Fauna and Foodways with Archivist Nancy Webster

Researching the early 20th century images of local flora and fauna by Jesse Lowe Smith and E. E. Parratt led to further investigation. Twenty-first century publications including Andreas Viestad's Dinner in Rome a History of the world in one Meal and Arbres et arbustes sauvages des trottoirs toulousains (Wild trees and plants and shrubs of the sidewalks of Toulouse) by Boris Presseq inspired further research of these plants as food sources for humans. We will share selected early 20th century, local images and documentation of these plants' in early recipes.
Jun
3

A Brief History of the Reintroduction of the Native Americans into Illinois

Presented by Gerald Savage, HoChunk Native American, In this presentation, Chief White Winnebago will introduce participants to the culture and history of the HoChunk nation. He will examine the history of his tribal territory and settlements, how his family was relocated into Starved Rock, tribal names and culture, his regalia, and artifacts.
Apr
6

Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites

Chicago food shows its true depth in classic dishes conceived in the kitchens of immigrant innovators, neighborhood entrepreneurs, and mom-and-pop visionaries. Monica Eng and David Hammond draw on decades of exploring the city’s food landscape to serve up thirty can’t-miss eats found in all corners of Chicago. From Mild Sauce to the Jibarito and from Taffy Grapes to Steak and Lemonade, Eng and Hammond present stories of the people and places behind each dish while illuminating how these local favorites reflect the multifaceted history of the city and the people who live there.
Mar
1

Brick by Brick: A History of Naval Station Great Lakes

"Brick by Brick" explores the history of Naval Station Great Lakes, from its founding in 1911 through two world wars, the development of modern warfare technology and its current role as the home of Recruit Training Command, the U.S. Navy's only boot camp.
Feb
23

History of American Pies … and Illinois is well represented! HYBRID Live/Zoom

Pies are as American as pizza is American: we took a great idea, adapted it to our needs and ran with it. Our ancestors used what they had available locally and made the most from it. You might be thinking that pies are just for dessert, but for our American ancestors, they were often considered survival food. Sometimes, they ate pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner for months at a time. Catherine Lambrecht, who achieved Grand Champion and Best of Show at the Lake County Fair for apple pie, will present the history of pies in America and our state.
Feb
15

Bitter Sweet: A Wartime Journal and Heirloom Recipes from Occupied France

… Looking up at me from inside la petite valise was a photographic portrait of a teenage girl dressed in the traditional Alsatian attire of the late 1800s, complete with an oversized black bow in her hair. Blanche Lévy-Neymarck, my great grandmother and namesake. Her portrait partially hid a pocket-size doctor’s notebook titled Carnet Médical 1936, the daily journal of Doctor Prosper Lévy, my great-grandfather, a distinguished army surgeon twice the recipient of the Legion of Honor, that commemorated the advance of the Germans on Eastern France from April to December 1940. 
Dec
7

The Journey of Mollie’s War: WACs and WWII

Using her mother’s letters, Cyndee takes you on a romantic and always frightful journey of an American WAC during the height of WWII. She discusses women in the military during WWII and in particular, her mother’s experiences as a member of the Women’s Army Corps by taking you on a journey from inspiration to publication.