My favorite part about living in the Chicago area is not only do we have world class museums, like the Field Museum and the Art Institute, but we also have so many community museums as well. Almost every suburb/town in the Chicago metropolitan area has their own! I'll admit that I haven't been as good about visiting these gems as I would like, which is why I made sure it got on my current 101 list.
In March I had Good Friday off and decided it was a good day to visit downtown Elmhurst and the three museums it boasts! I had been wanting to visit the Elmhurst History Museum for a while but now that I'm working with one of the staff members on a project it made me want to.visit even more.
This 59 year old museum is located in a beautiful historical building right in the heart of west suburban Elmhurst. I'm a big fan of historical building type museums, in addition to the exhibit that are put on you get to experience some great architecture too!
At the end of March the travelling Smithsonian exhibit Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Backyard kicked off it's Chicago debut and it's run at Elmhurst. I have never experienced a Smithsonian exhibit so getting to see it was a real treat. While I wasn't around during the time of the backyard that the exhibit focused on, I grew up hearing stories and seeing photographs of my parents childhood and teen years. So seeing the photos was very familiar and I could definitely relate. Not gonna lie I was a big fan of the little back yard set up to take selfies in. Who doesn't want to try on a pair of red cat eye glasses! Pretty sure I found my new style.
Heading up to the second floor you'll find the year old permanent exhibit. After talking with a number of people about great the updated exhibit is, I was definitely looking forward to seeing it and the exhibit did not disappoint!
I really liked the way the information about Elmhurst was shared through little topic vignettes, like "Play" and "Travel". You are able to focus on what you're interested in if you are the type of person who prefers not to read everything. I'm also a big fan of the shadow box effect that really shows off each object and make you focus on one at a time.
There were several large architectural fragment pieces that were part of the exhibit. You round the corner and bam there was this beautiful ticket counter! You can see the beautiful barber pole in the back of the photo below.
Exhibits in the more recent years have incorporated technology from the beginning and the permanent exhibit at Elmhurst History Museum is no exception. The video below is of my absolute favorite part of the exhibit. The Curator of Exhibitions took photographs from the collection and animated them. They took a green screen and had actors in period costumes interact then filmed it. The film was then put together to look like the actors were always a part of the scene. Seriously it is soooo cool. Watch the clip below!
Elmhurst History Museum is a great museum that you really need to visit. If you're coming from downtown it's within walking distance of the Metra plus it's right off 294/290 so it's accessible by car really easily. Make a day of it and experience all that downtown Elmhurst has to offer.