The Western Illinois Museum will hold its Annual Meeting of members on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm. The museum’s board of directors invites its over 400 members to join in celebrating the past year’s accomplishments, to hear plans for the coming year and to approve the slate of directors for the 2016-17 year. The meeting will take the Cabinet of Curiosities as its theme and will be held at the museum, located at 201 South Lafayette Street, one block south of Macomb’s Courthouse Square.
The meeting’s theme takes its cue from the 18th century painter and naturalist Charles Wilson Pearle’s Cabinet of Curiosities, often considered America’s first museum. Following in Europe’s tradition of placing like items in boxes or “wonder” rooms, he created the Cabinet of Curiosities to display natural history items, as well as his well-known paintings. He envisioned the cabinets to be open to all, unlike his European counterparts who served scholars and aristocrats. By 1840, P.T. Barnum purchased Pearle’s cabinet and added many oddities to the display. It is fair to say these are the roots of today’s museums, often considered an educational experience. In celebrations of the newly completed insulation work in the museum’s storage area, members are invited to take a guided and entertaining tour to experience the eclectic collection of the region’s treasures.
In addition to replacing the insulation in the ceiling, this year the board of directors and the museum’s volunteer team has been working to improve the storage of many artifacts in the museum’s collection. Contributions to the Rezab Family Preservation Fund have been used to purchase archival boxes for many of the more fragile artifacts, like those made of cloth and paper. The tour will also include a chance to see the positive impact of these contributions, and learn about the museum’s methods and standards for preserving various types of artifacts.
During the meeting the following slate of officers will be presented for member approval: President Carmen Keist will continue in that role, joined by Vice President Karen Mencel, and Secretary Lois Lueck, along with members-at-large, Anna Bower, Lowell Lueck, Tim Roberts and Marla Vizdal. The museum also has an Advisory Council which provides guidance to the directors and includes: Dennis Danowski, Nikki Gray, Bobby Jo Kellogg, Peggy Ma, and Patrick Stout.
The doors open at 5:00 pm and guided tours will be offered followed by a brief program and election of officers at 6:30 pm. At 5:30 pm event sponsor Macomb Hy-Vee will provide a selection of hors d’oeuvres and will launch their new cash bar services. Advance tickets for the Annual Meeting are encouraged and are $15 a person. RSVP is requested by Tuesday, May 1oth. For more information, or to make a reservation, contact the museum at 309.837.2750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.