In The News

Savanna preparing for Smithsonian exhibit

This article originally appeared in the Clinton Herald.

By Samantha Piddle

SAVANNA, Ill. — The Savanna Historical Society is working to get everything ready for a visiting Smithsonian exhibit at the Savanna Museum and Cultural Museum, 406 Main St.

“(We are) pretty excited because this is our first (traveling) exhibit,” Board member Connie Zink said.

The Smithsonian exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” will visit Savanna from the end of February to the beginning of April. The exhibit explores how work became a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and the environments.

“The Way We Worked” will show how Americans worked a diverse array of jobs to power society. Its goal is to answer why people work, and what aspects of life do jobs fulfill.

The exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council. Zink said the purpose of the grant is to bring Smithsonian-quality exhibitions into small and medium-sized communities in Illinois, which might not get them otherwise. The exhibition will also stop in Carbondale, Ill., Marshall, Ill., Ottawa, Ill., Waterloo, Ill., and Beardstown, Ill.

Volunteers will travel to Beardstown on Feb. 21 to pick up the exhibit and bring it back to the Savanna Museum and Community Center. The exhibit will be held in the first floor community room from Feb. 25 to April 7. This exhibition is free and open to the public; however donations are welcome. The hours of operation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.

Local businesses will set up displays. These will show visitors how local businesses have helped build the community and influenced the society.

Volunteers Keith Brown and Don Nolte were at the museum this week building a temporary wall in the front room. This wall will be used as a temporary movie theater. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Savanna Historical Society will sponsor a film festival. During the six weeks of the exhibit, several films will be shown that portray informative and humorous aspects of work.

Following the 1 p.m. opening ceremony on Feb. 25, members of the public will have a chance to watch an original film highlighting railroad workers and Savanna.

“Railroad Town on the River” will be shown at 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s theater. The film was developed professionally from recording hours of conversation and film with former area railroad workers. It tells the story of the people who worked in Savanna to make a complex rail system work. The film will be repeated on March 3.

Other films and programs will be held in conjunction with the exhibit.

“It’s not just a museum. It’s really a resource for the community,” Dorie Steffen, grant writer for the historical society, said.

Steffen was thankful to all of those in the community who have given the museum support.