You don’t need to travel far to learn more about this area’s history; plenty of museums in the region provide substantial insight into anthropology, art, local history and so much more. See if you can answer the following questions about local museums. Then, visit the museums themselves to learn more about these intriguing collections!
1. Which Rockford museum proudly houses the bones of Jane the Dinosaur?
2. The former home of which U.S. president, who lived in Dixon, Ill., during the 1920s, is now transformed into a museum?
3. Which local Victorian-style museum was inspired by European architecture?
4. Which museum contains Rockford’s former name in its title?
5. Where can you find a tribute to war veterans from Winnebago County?
6. What are the five major genres of art represented in the Rockford Art Museum?
7. Where can you find costumes and cars used by a variety of famous singers and American leaders?
8. The Fogg Museum at Harvard University inspired the construction of which local college campus museum?
9. Which local museum displays items of Swedish culture in Rockford?
10. Which Beloit museum sent early curators to France and Algeria to discover Paleolithic and Neolithic artifacts?
1. Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-3433. Jane the Dinosaur, a tyrannosaurus rex, was found in Montana in 2001, and was later added to Burpee’s collection. The discovery is known as one of the 10 most important dinosaur discoveries within the past century. The museum also features a Children’s Gallery, a rooftop garden and PaleoFest, a weekend filled with intriguing history about dinosaurs.
2. Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home & Visitors Center, 816 S. Hennepin Ave., Dixon, Ill., (815) 288-5176. Reagan’s family lived in this house throughout his preteen years. Tours include intriguing facts about both Reagan’s family and his life in Dixon.
3. Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, 411 Kent St., Rockford, (815) 964-2424. After Robert Tinker visited Europe, he decided to emulate the impressive architecture he found in Switzerland into this Rockford home. Complete with gardens, ancient artifacts and a pre-Columbian American Indian mound, the cottage grounds provide visitors with a wealth of regional history.
4. Midway Village Museum, 6799 Guilford Road, Rockford, (815) 397-9112. Before settlers renamed the area Rockford in 1837, it was called Midway. Thus, Midway Village Museum showcases the vast history of this city. Actors re-create scenes from various time periods, such as World War II, to enhance the historical learning experience for visitors.
5. Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 969-1999. The hall pays homage to those from the area who have served in war. Erected in 1903, it stands as the first memorial hall in the U.S. that honors veterans from every war. President Theodore Roosevelt offered words of dedication by saying, “No more fitting memorial could be erected to the men who fought, than a hall such as this…a hall beautiful because of the uses to which it is consecrated.”
6. Rockford Art Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787. This museum includes modern and contemporary American art; American Masters art, which was artwork produced by Americans between 1830 and 1940; photography; contemporary glass art; and outsider art, mainly created by African-Americans who display their culture and beliefs through their artwork. The museum has been named a Partner in Excellence of the Illinois Arts Council.
7. Historic Auto Attractions, 13825 Metric Drive, Roscoe, (815) 389-7917. This museum houses Elvis Presley’s car and the Family Truckster from the 1983 movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, as well as artifacts from World War II and John F. Kennedy’s family. Also on display is George Clooney’s costume from the movie Batman and Robin (1997).
8. Wright Museum of Art, 700 College St., Beloit, Wis., (608) 363-2151. This art museum on Beloit College’s campus provides opportunities for students and community members to appreciate a wide range of artwork donated since the museum was built in 1930. Some genres included in the 6,000-piece collection are American impressionism, Modernism and German expressionism.
9. Erlander Home Museum, 404 S. Third St., Rockford, (815) 963-5559. As part of the Swedish Historical Society of Rockford, this museum includes a variety of Swedish artifacts and highlights historic details of Swedish immigrants who settled in this area.
10. Logan Museum of Anthropology, 700 College St., Beloit, Wis., (608) 363-2000. Created in 1893 by Frank Logan, this museum began with the goal of educating visitors. More than a century later, the Beloit College museum collection represents a vast array of countries and cultures throughout the world.