Historical Society marks 60 years of collecting historyMay 19, 2023
The McHenry County Historical Society & Museum is marking a big anniversary as it celebrates its 60th year and launches a new museum season.
The MCHS will have a celebration to mark the anniversary and kick off its new year with a reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, June 2 at the Historical Society’s museum, 6422 Main St. in Union.
There also will be opportunities to win a special 60th anniversary quilt and a 60/40 raffle.
The highlight of the evening will be the unveiling of five new museum exhibits, led by a unique exhibition called “60 Years, 60 Objects: Stories from McHenry County.” This exhibit showcases 60 never-before-seen objects from the historical society’s collection.
Other exhibits making their debut are: “You Auto be in McHenry County;” “McHenry County Enlists: The Great War, 1914-1918;” “Strike up the Band” and “Bootleggers & Speakeasies: Prohibition in McHenry County.”
Live music provided by Johnny and the Madmen will be part of the evening’s festivities along with barbecue from Kissed by Fire and ice cream from Julie Ann’s Frozen Custard.
There will also be tasting samples from local craft breweries Crystal Lake Brewing, MobCraft Brewery and Taproom, Sew Hop’d Brewery of Huntley, Scorched Earth Brewing Company, and Spirit Water Brewery, Distillery, Taproom. Drink tickets are $3 each or four for $10. Be prepared to show your ID.
This event is open to MCHS members, friends, and the general public. Museum admission is free.
Community Foundation grant aids research library
Thanks to an $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation for McHenry County, this year and next, the McHenry County Historical Society & Museum has a new part-time librarian.
Rachel Seidner of Mundelein earned a master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She brings with her a file cabinet full of skills, including serving as a library services assistant at the College of Lake County and being able to speak Spanish.
“We are thrilled to have Rachel join our team,” said Administrator Kurt Begalka. “The demands on library volunteers necessitated the hiring of a trained librarian to share the load and take MCHS into the 21st century.”
Among the challenges facing the MCHS is the need to ramp up digitization and public access to its collection — which exceeds 40,000 items.
Demands on the 40-year-old research library have grown along with the society’s collection. The vast archive features family biography files, obituaries, atlases and maps, pictures, postcards and shelves of local history books. To request a research appointment visit https://mchenrycountyhistory.org/research-center.
The generosity of donors enabled the Community Foundation to distribute $629,943 to 39 local nonprofit organizations who serve our friends and neighbors in McHenry County. A majority of the mission grants are being used to cover operational expenses which allow nonprofits to fulfill their missions.
The foundation, founded in 2001, is the leader in McHenry County for providing legacy giving opportunities to the community’s donors and charitable organizations.
For more information, visit thecfmc.org or explore the historical society website at GotHistory.org.