ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF MUSEUMS TO HONOR DUPAGE COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Brett Peto, Wheaton Park District
630.510.4987 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: September 19, 2016
DuPage County, Ill.— According to some historians, history is using the past to make sense of the present, and according to the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM), the DuPage County Historical Museum (102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton, Ill.) is doing an excellent job of it.
On September 29, IAM will honor the Museum with an Award of Merit for its recent exhibit Wedding Traditions Unveiled and an Award of Excellence for its Rehousing of Off-Site Storage initiative, which safely relocated many artifacts to another facility of the Wheaton Park District.
The awards are perfectly aligned with the Museum’s mission of preserving and displaying the county’s history, according to Michelle Podkowa, Museum Manager and Educator.
“The Museum’s mission of stewardship and education continues to be staff’s top priorities,” she said. “These awards demonstrate the Museum’s commitment to preserving artifacts for future generations, as well as its belief in education through exhibits and programming.”
Thousands of visitors experienced Wedding Traditions Unveiled and its exploration of the nature of nuptials in DuPage County, featuring extravagant dresses, photos, and accounts of local marriage customs during its ten-month run October 17, 2015 through July 31, 2016.
“The wedding exhibit was especially interesting and we loved seeing where the different customs came from,” said Heather Baker, Leader of Girl Scout Troop 41835. “Of course, there were many conversations and questions too [from the Girl Scouts].”
Several programs supported the exhibit, including a Victorian Valentines workshop where visitors crafted their own love letters, a Wedding Chocolates Tasting with the finest of Fannie May, an authentic demonstration of a Victorian wedding, and more.
IAM reviewers commended the Museum “for putting together an aggressive and creative programming and fundraising campaign to accompany this exhibit” and for “providing a concise overview of wedding customs in conjunction with national events, such as Prohibition.”
For Museum Curator Ashley Downing, the awards help encourage future efforts.
“Winning the awards feels great,” she said. “Nothing makes me feel better about the work we are doing like getting recognition from other professionals in the field.”
Downing is especially proud of the Rehousing of Off-Site Storage project.
“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last year cleaning up our long list of pending donations and rehousing thousands of artifacts, and it’s nice others think the work we are doing is beneficial,” Downing said.
Indeed, reviewers said the Museum “should be proud of its collections relocation project,” particularly “the fact that no artifacts were damaged in the move” to their new location.
Founded in 1967 by the DuPage County Historical Society, the Museum turns 50 next year, and Podkowa expects the long tradition of excellence to continue.
“Next year our Museum celebrates 50 years,” she said. “We look forward to providing 50 more years of stewardship and education to DuPage County.”
To learn more about the DuPage County Historical Museum and its award-winning exhibits, programs, and initiatives to preserve local history, visit http://www.dupagemuseum.org.
For more information about the Illinois Association of Museums, its advocacy for Illinois’ museum community, and its member institutions, visit http://illinoismuseums.org.