In The News

Pontiac hosting Smithsonian exhibit

This article originally appeared in the Daily Journal

By Robert Themer

Beginning Saturday, the Smithsonian Institute’s “Journey Stories” exhibit — a display of artifacts and images relating the story of transportation and travel in the United States — will be on display at the Livingston County Courthouse in downtown Pontiac.

Supported by the Illinois Humanities Council, the exhibit is making its final Illinois stop through April 6. It is open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for Easter Sunday. Admission is free.

The exhibit is part of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street Traveling Exhibition Service.

The Journey Stories exhibit focuses on Americans’ love of travel. From the days of the first immigrants to land to contemporary GPS-guided travel, America has become the most traveled nation in the world.

Along with the national “Journey Stories” exhibit will be a locally produced set of displays that tell the stories of travel relating to Pontiac and Livingston County.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the city of Pontiac will sponsor a set of free public programs centered around transportation history. On Feb. 28, Dr. Rob Doyle will talk about the history of railroads. Doyle is a board member of several Midwest area railroad associations and has lectured previously on rail history. On March 28, the program will feature John Weiss, noted U.S. Route 66 historian, author and tour guide from Wilmington.

Both programs will be at 7:30 p.m. at Pontiac City Hall, 115 W. Howard St. (Illinois Route 116).

Pontiac also is home to four museums:

• The Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center opened on the west side of the courthouse square last year

• The International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum is next door and is related to the many murals that adorn buildings in the city

• The Route 66 Association Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum is a block north of the courthouse on Howard Street — Illinois Route 116

• The Livingston County War Museum is next door

Also of interest is the historic home of state Sen. Jason Sewell, at 401 E. Livingston St., where Sewell’s friend and Illinois Legislature colleague Abraham Lincoln stayed the night on Jan. 27, 1860.

For more information, contact Pontiac Tourism at 815-844-5847.