Museum seeks village old-timers, young detectives

The Wilmette Historical Museum hopes to spark interest among young and old in village history with two initiatives: awards for families with deep village roots and a club for children that encourages them to become history detectives, museum officials said this week.

Each program was born from brain storming efforts among museum staff, volunteers and board members, Museum Director Kathy Hussey-Arntson said this week.

The Wilmette Generations Awards program recognizes families who have lived or worked in the village for at least half a century, and the museum is now soliciting applications, she said Wednesday.

“We hear from a lot of families whose ancestors came to Wilmette in the 1800s, and we would like to honor them for their role in the growth of the community,” she said.

Rachel Ramirez, assistant curator at the museum, agreed.

“It’s a great way for us to find out about people who’ve been living here and have become part of the village tradition, to get their stories and photographs,” Ramirez said.

Families can apply for recognition in one of two categories: one for families that have been in Wilmette at least 50 years, and the second for those who have been in the village for at least 100 years.

The nomination form is available at the museum, 609 Ridge Road, or online, www.wilmettehistory.org, the museum’s recently redesigned website. At least four family photographs should accompany the form. Hussey-Arntson said the organization welcomes donations of original photos, and the museum will make high quality scans of any donated pictures for families to keep.

Families in the “Generations” program will be honored at an annual Museum event and will receive a certificate that recognizes their contributions. Additionally, they will be featured on the website.

While the awards program celebrates families with a Wilmette past, Ramirez said the junior history club seeks to introduce a new generation to the history of their hometown.

Ramirez credited museum board member Lori Batten for sparking work on the history club, which will allow young people to learn about Wilmette in two ways: by working through activities at their own pace and by attending club meetings at the museum.

Club members will get a binder of more than 20 activities — scavenger hunts and games like Eye Spy Signs of Wilmette or Wilmette BINGO, for example — they can complete at home, at the museum or around town. A certificate or prize will be earned for every five activities a junior history detective completes.

Activities, which will also include special club meetings, are particularly focused on children in kindergarten through sixth grade although younger children can take part with parental guidance.

The club costs $20 per child, but the rate drops to $5 per child for families with a museum membership, and there are other discounts that also apply, Ramirez said

More information is available at www.wilmettehistory.org/history-detectives-junior-history-club-0.

Tags:

SEEK AND FIND

WHERE: Wilmette Historical Museum

PAST: Generations Award

FUTURE: Junior History Club

INFO: www.wilmettehistory.org

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