This year marks the 200th anniversary of Illinois becoming a state and the Peoria Riverfront Museum is kicking off this Bicentennial celebration with a four month exhibit celebrating all things Illinois! It just opened up last weekend and while most of you were watching the Stupor Bowl last Sunday, I was at the exhibit taking pictures and notes and the evidence of this work is below, so keep on scrolling and you’ll see what awaits you at the newest Peoria Riverfront exhibition!
Here we are and it’s freezing out and it’s snowing and I hate winter, so let’s get inside pronto!
The ticket counter is over there and Michele not only gave me my ticket, she posed for the MBIP Camera and gave us a beautiful smile! Okay, it’s into the Celebrate Illinois exhibition we go!
As soon as you walk in you’re greeted by a framed portrait of Abraham Lincoln and a quilted map of Illinois. The mission statement for the exhibition is opposite these two pieces of art.
Random Landscape Exhibition Photos
There’s so much to see in here, I won’t be able to capture all of it, but here’s some random landscape shots of the exhibit. Now we’ll focus in on some of the highlights.
Of course there’s lots of Abraham Lincoln art, sculptures and historical mementos. The first four photos are Lincoln sculptures, then there’s the actual chair and desk where Abe drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. The next photo is a rocking chair that belonged to Abe’s wife, Mary. Three of her four sons died before they reached adulthood and then after Lincoln was assassinated she plunged into a deep depression that she never recovered from. Both her and Abraham Lincoln are buried in the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield. The last two photos are the actual cufflinks that Lincoln was wearing the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865. See I actually did take notes on this tour!
Here’s some artifacts from Caterpillar. The miniature bulldozer is a Caterpillar D4 Dozer pedal car from 1949.
There’s a display with some famous authors from Illinois including David Foster Wallace, Vachal Lindsay, Philip Jose Farmer and a framed collection of writings by Carl Sandburg. Hey, they forgot about this guy!
There’s lots of art on display from various Illinois artists that were created through the years. My favorite is the last one, it made me think of this.
Walt Disney From The Steve Spain Collection
I didn’t know that Walt Disney was from Chicago! This entire section is from the personal collection of Steve Spain that we featured here on MBIP last year!
Penicillin was produced right here in Peoria at the Ag Lab and the top photo is some of the instruments used in the original production of Penicillin. The bottom photos are vintage posters from the era including Moldy Mary who got infected from a spoiled cantaloupe in Peoria. At least that’s what she told her parents!
There’s some vintage Illinois sports artifacts on display including items from “Mr. Cub” himself, Ernie Banks. There’s also signed baseball bats from Ben Zobrist, Frank Thomas and Jim Thome. Peoria native Shaun Livingston’s 2004 jersey is hanging on the wall and there’s a display case that houses a signed baseball cap from Jim Thome, and a signed helmet and batting gloves worn by Ben Zobrist in the World Series.
There’s a lot of historical political information and artifacts from Illinois including a display case featuring Ronald Reagan’s White House cowboy boots and his diploma from Eureka College. The last photo are two Illinois natives from the last Presidential administration: President Barack Obama and Peoria native, Ray LaHood, who was not only the Secretary of Transportation, he’s also my dad’s cousin!
There’s a wall with photos of Illinois state symbols and check it out, my friend Bill Molleck is on there! I didn’t know he was such a big shot, I’ll have to get his autograph the next time I see him!
At the end of the tour you can have your photo taken with and Illinois themed background. I got mine taken and now let’s go to the gift shop and see how it turned out!
The Museum Gift Shop
They have a lot of Abraham Lincoln gifts, books and memorabilia in stock for this exhibit. And check it out, local artist, Chelsie Tamms has her very own section and she even made a Lincoln magnet for the exhibit, very cool! Okay, let’s go take a look at my photo!
Rachel was working behind the counter and presented me with my photo. Check it out, it’s both an Illinois themed background and a photo of the savings in my bank account! This is just a glimpse at this exhibit, there's a lot more than this to be seen, so you should go and take a look at all things Illinois in the Peoria Riverfront Museum. This exhibit runs until June third and you can read more about it here. We’ll see you all tomorrow!
222 SW Washington Street