History museum

A new exhibit at the Elmhurst History Museum shares the 150-year journey of Elmhurst U.


On December 6, 1871, Carl F. Kranz and 14 students got off a train in the small town on the Illinois prairies known as Elmhurst. They would be the first students and teachers of a newly formed “proseminar”, a high school intended to prepare young men to attend seminary or to teach in parish schools of the German Evangelical Church.

Much has changed on the Elmhurst campus since that time. One hundred and fifty years later, it is evident that the progress of what we know today as Elmhurst University and the town of Elmhurst were linked from those early days.

A new exhibit at the Elmhurst History Museum, “An Ever-Enlarging Circle: Elmhurst University at 150”, traces the story of this symbiotic relationship and the University’s 150-year journey. .

The exhibit opens at the Elmhurst History Museum, 120 E. Park Ave. in downtown Elmhurst on Friday, September 24, 2021 and continues through January 2, 2022, as part of a one-year celebration of the 150th anniversary of Elmhurst University. The exhibition is sponsored by Community Bank of Elmhurst, Feze Roofing and Storino, Ramello and Durkin Attorneys at Law.

“I think it can be said that the University of Elmhurst that we see today would not be what it is without this rich history and this close relationship with his hometown,” said Dan Bartlett, Curator of Exhibitions at the Elmhurst History Museum. “It’s hard to imagine one without the other and the two entities have evolved together in many ways. The school has always been strongly linked to the community, and the Town of Elmhurst has been positively impacted by the educational values, cultural opportunities and resources that result from having a world-class higher education institution in her breast. It is a tremendous asset for a city or a suburb to have a university in its center for 150 years.

The circle gets bigger

Through a detailed timeline, rare photographs, eclectic artifacts, videos and more, “An Ever Wider Circle” chronicles the many ways the school has grown and changed, from its beginnings as a theological proseminar to at today’s modern and dynamic university. The exhibition arc considers campus life, academics, faculty, sports teams and more. Some of the themes in the exhibit include the daily life of students in the late 1800s; building a strong faculty; development of sports programs; the transition from proseminar to college to university; and open the doors to an ever wider circle of new students.

Some of the archival items on display in the Elmhurst History Museum exhibit include:

  • Rare footage filmed from the Elmhurst campus in 1940.
  • School-minded items including freshman ‘E Beanies’, a 50s college sweater and ‘E’ blanket, as well as a headwear worn by the team’s mascot known as name of Victor E. Bluejay circa 1990.
  • Photographs and manuscripts from the Elmhurst History Museum and Elmhurst University Archives.
  • Souvenirs of sports teams and sportswear, including a 1924 pennant, uniforms and equipment, intramural champion badges from different eras and a lettered jacket from the 1980s.
  • A 1956 class key pendant linked to an engagement and marriage of over 60 years.
  • A set of rooms from the first common building (1895-1964).
  • A uniform bib worn by nursing students in the 1980s.

The museum’s opening hours are 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday to Friday; and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance is free and limited free parking is available. For the latest information, please visit elmhursthistory.org.

Exhibition programs

The Elmhurst History Museum will feature a number of engaging programs over the coming months to connect with the exhibit and the 150th anniversary.

  • Vintage Baseball Game: An old-fashioned baseball game played under the very different rules of 1858 will take place on the campus of Elmhurst University, pitting University players against residents of the town of Elmhurst in a “town” competition. against dress ”. Bring a picnic basket and lawn chair. 1:00 p.m., September 26, Elmhurst University Mall. Free entry and parking in the campus car parks.
  • Visit of the Arboretum of Elmhurst University: Marc Wakely, an Elmhurst University alumnus and longtime director of campus services, will lead a walking tour showcasing the best specimens in the Arboretum’s collection. The visit lasts approximately 2 hours. 12:00 p.m., October 16. Limit: 30 participants. Cost $ 5. Registration required.
  • Elmhurst Greats and Grads Conference (online): Discover some of the important people who led, developed and graduated from Elmhurst University over its 150-year history in this free online lecture. Led by the Joan and Lester Brune Chair of History at Elmhurst University, Robert butler. Available online from November 4, 2021 to January 2, 2022.

For more information visit elmhursthistory.org in the Programs section.



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