The Western Illinois Museum will hold an Illinois Speaks program to document the community’s diverse responses to the local impact of Illinois’ recent economic struggles. The Illinois Speaks series, an initiative created and funded by the Illinois Humanities Council, is designed to foster conversations within and across communities about important issues impacting our lives. The program will be held on Friday, March 3, 2017, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Western Illinois Museum. Tim Roberts, a history professor at WIU, and a museum board member, will act as moderator for the conversation.
With unreliable state funding for Western Illinois University (WIU) and other state and local agencies, a sluggish housing market, and a shrinking workforce, many sectors of our region are grappling with how to adapt. The program will provide a forum to gain understanding, share strategies, and build support. Three members from the community, Jason Buchannan, John Curtis, and Gayla English, will be on hand to start the conversation, sharing their recent experiences. The audience is encouraged to be a part of the dialogue.
The Western Illinois Museum has an ongoing mission to collect artifacts and oral histories that describe our region’s significant events, and is compelled to ensure that the issues and personal stories are captured and become part of our historical record. How the community responds to current financial issues, the museum believes, will shape the future of the region.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.
The Western Illinois Museum is located at 201 South Lafayette Street, one block south of Macomb’s Courthouse Square. For more information contact the museum at 309.837.2750 or email@example.com.
About the Participants
Dr. Tim Roberts is a history professor at WIU and a member of the Western Illinois Museum Board of Directors. He participated in two NEH Summer Institutes, gaining an understanding of the role public humanities can play in a community. He organized and moderated the reading and discussion series, Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War, at the WIU Library, which received funding from the NEH and American Library Association.
Jason Buchannan is the former owner of the Little Java Coffee Shop on West Jackson Street in Macomb, and is currently the chef at a WIU sorority, Tri Sigma. He is also the leader of the Celebrate Recovery ministry at The Crossing Church.
John Curtis is the owner of Barefoot Gardens, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) organic farm, with over 150 members. He is also a teacher at WIU. Many people know John from his run for the Illinois state legislature in 2016.
Gayla English graduated summa cum laude from Western Illinois University. She is full-time educator, homeschooling her seven daughters and one niece. She is the West Central Illinois representative for the Classical Conversations homeschooling curriculum.