Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chanute Air Museum Receives $2,000.00 for Organizational Support

The Chanute Air Museum is proud to announce that it has received a $2,000.00 General Support Grant from the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) to support the Museum's collections preservation efforts. The current target for these efforts is the Tuskegee Airmen-related photographic media from the William R. Thompson Collection.

The IHC grant funds are being used to hire and intern and purchase necessary equipment and supplies to properly catalog, digitize, and archivally rehouse several hundred photographic prints and film negatives and multiple scrapbooks.

"The Illinois Humanities Council is proud to support not-for-profit organizations that promote the importance of the humanities in private and public life. Through their efforts, Illinoisans have greater access to lifelong learning opportunities," said IHC Executive Director Kristina A. Valaitis. "These champions of the humanities make their communities and our whole state more vibrant."

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Chanute Air Museum is proud to host the B-17G Flying Fortress "Texas Raiders." Operated by the Gulf Coast Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, "Texas Raiders" will offer aircraft tours and flight experience opportunities.

Come and experience a dynamic component of our World War II aviation heritage and legacy!

Saturday July 24, 2010:
Tours from 10:00am-12:00pm
Rides at 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm

Sunday July 25, 2010:
Tours from 12:00pm-2:00pm
Rides at 3:00pm, 4:00pm

Tours = $5 for adults, $3 for children, FREE for WWII Veterans
Rides = $425 per person (donations ar tax deductable)

To learn more about the Gulf Coast Wing and "Texas Raiders," visit their website at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Call to Educators!

The Spurlock Museum Education Section will be updating its school information booklet over the summer. The booklet gives information about our tours, programs, special exhibits and special events. If you would like to be on the list to receive an email version of the booklet in August, send your email address to Kim Sheahan at If you have suggestions for improving the booklet (e.g. there is information you wanted but couldn't find), let Kim know that, too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer fun for kids at the Spurlock Museum

The Spurlock Museum Education staff is excited about our summer offerings for kids. There are three different programs available:

Wrapped Up in Ancient Egypt • June 6 • 1:30-4:00 PM
Participants ages 8-13 will visit hands-on stations that highlight the mummy-making process and head home with their own “tomb-to-go!” Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Cost: $3. Contact Kim Sheahan (217-244-3355 or

Castles, Catapults, and Coats of Arms • June 23-25 • 9:00 AM-3:00 PM
The Museum is pleased to offer Club Invention’s "Castles, Catapults, and Coats of Arms," a hands-on, three-day, summer enrichment program that blends science and history and focuses on the lifestyles and scientific ideas of Medieval Europe. Participants will build (towers, catapults, water wheels), create (jewelry, shields), and spend time in the Spurlock Museum’s Gallery of European Cultures. Registration ends Monday June 15, costs $70, and is open to children entering grades 3 - 7. Space is limited. Contact Brook Taylor (217-265-0474 or

It's All Greek to Me • July 10 • 1:30-4:00 PM
Kids 9 to 14 years old! Join the Museum staff for an afternoon celebrating ancient Greece. Activities will include storytelling, dressing up as heroes, heroines, and gods, performing a play in the Greek style, artifact seek-and-finds, and a “Guess the Olympic Sport” game. Pre-registration is required, and space is limited. Cost: $3. Contact Kim Sheahan (217-244-3355 or

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Champaign County's Lincoln

The Early American Museum has a new permanent exhibit! "Champaign County's Lincoln" explores the time Lincoln spent in our home county as a lawyer, politician and friend. This exhibit is full of surprises-- you can ride in a buggy, sit down for an imaginary drink at our own Kelley's Tavern, have a sitting in a 19th century photographers shop, or hear a political discussion in our own re-creation of the Goose Pond Church where Lincoln spoke in 1856.
There is something for everyone.

The new exhibit has a companion exhibit at the Champaign County Courthouse. Through multimedia, the courthouse exhibit helps you to discover Lincoln's legal practice in Champaign County. That exhbit is open 8-5 on weekdays, the Early American Museum exhibit is open 1-5 daily year-round.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Spurlock Museum will be celebrating its Centennial in 2011. As part of the celebration, we are asking anyone with memories from either the Spurlock Museum or World Heritage Museum to share them on our website at Was there an exhibit, event, party, work, or visit experience that was special to you? Let us hear it!

New exhibit opening

The Spurlock Museum has just opened a new temporary exhibit called "Korean Funerary Figures: Companions for the Journey to the Other World." The exhibit features over 70 carved wooden figures that would have been placed on the funeral bier used to transport the deceased's coffin to the burial grounds. Some of the figures represent mythical creatures, like dragons. Others portray different kinds of people, including caregivers, nobles, musicians, acrobats, and clowns. It is thought that the figures both protected the deceased on the journey to the next world and brought happiness and joy in this time of sadness and grief. The pieces are quite engaging.

The grand opening for the exhibit will be March 13 from 1-4 PM. There will be games, crafts, and storytelling for all ages. Come celebrate with us! Admission is free!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Chanute Air Museum (CAM) has been chosen to participate in the 2010 Conservation Assessment Program (CAP). The Chanute Air Museum joins the 2,700 museums that have participated in CAP in its twenty year history of serving small museums. CAP assists museums by providing funds for professional conservation and preservation specialists to identify the conservation needs of their collections and recommend ways to correctly improve collections conditions.

CAP provides a general conservation assessment of the museum's collections and building. Professional conservators will spend two days surveying the site and three days writing comprehensive reports that will identify conservation priorities. The on-site consultation will enable the Chanute Air Museum to evaluate its current collections care policies, procedures, and environmental conditions. The assessment reports will help the museum make appropriate improvements for the immediate, mid-range, and long-range care of their collections.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In 2009, the Spurlock Museum was awarded accreditation by the American Association of Museums. This is the highest national award a museum can receive, and I'll tell you, the process was NOT an easy, short, or simple one. Our preparation began almost as soon as we opened the new Spurlock Museum building in 2002. First, we spent months filling out a preliminary self-study. This forced us to think about how we run all the different aspects of the Museum and plan for areas where improvement or expansion was necessary. We checked everything, including written policies, educational programs, artifact preservation and storage procedures, information storage, volunteers, security, finances, and exhibit creation.

This self-study was then sent to the American Association of Museums and evaluated. We were told that our self-study proved we were ready for step two, which was the completion of a questionnaire that took us a year to finish. This document asked for incredibly detailed information and lots of pictures. We're talking literally thousands of pages of information....multiple four-inch, three-ring binders.

Once step two was approved, we moved to step three: a site visit by peer advisors, who talked to the staff members about their work and asked specific questions they still had after reading our answers to the questionnaire.

After step three, we waited for the advisors to write their report and the accreditation committee to read it and come to a decision. There was a lot of whooping and hollering the day the news came in!

What does all this mean? It means the Museum has received what every professional institution wants: recognition by its peers that it is following best practices. Of over 17,000 museums in the U.S., only about 775 are accredited. It allows institutions with traveling exhibits to know we have a trustworthy and appropriate venue. It adds to the prestige of the University. It's the Oscar of the Museum world. I'd start thanking everyone who is a part of this incredible staff (and, trust me, none of them are "the little people"), but the orchestra would start playing about halfway through...

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Chanute Air Museum has applied for a 2010 CAP Assessment to to help the museum more professionally protect and preserve its collections.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Staerkel Planetarium to reopen in February

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will be closed for the month of January for needed maintenance. In addition to the replacement of the carpeting in the dome, the dome itself will be cleaned and repainted. The new paint will effectively reduce the reflectance of the dome ahead of the installation of a full-dome digital video system, scheduled for the summer of 2010. The first weekend for public shows will be February 5/6. A full schedule appears at Photos of the maintenance work can be found on the Staerkel Planetarium's Facebook site.