Historical Society’s House Museum Now Open


A dining room table with a sleigh at the Historical Society’s House Museum. (Photo: Jane Nicoll)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—

The last regularly scheduled open hours to see the museum decorated will be Saturday December 29 from 1-3 p.m.  It may be possible to schedule an appointment for a small group into mid-January, weather permitting. Several new decorations from the 1950s appear in several rooms. If you saw the museum last Decmeber, there are many new items to see.  We have added more Gurley candles, and Rosbro elves, Santas and smowmen, along with vintage wrapping paper, and red electric bells.  We have an aluminum tree with a colored light wheel. Santa delivered several toys to the museum this year.  When was the last time you said ‘Hello" to Howdy Doody, or to Zippy/ Mr. Bim the stuffed chimpanzee?  The metal dollhouse has a family living in it, now.  There are three new baby dolls to enjoy.

The house museum is operated by the Park Forest Historical Society and is now re-open in a unit generously provided by AIMCO, the owners of Central Park Townhomes. It is furnished as a unit might have been from 1948-1953, including metal dollhouses, a metal farm with farm animals, a doll stroller and doll beds, Tonka trucks and interlocking building blocks. A trip to the museum is like a look into Christmas Past.

The society has re-opened the museum in its new location in time for the Holiday season. Curator Jane Nicoll says, "We had so many visitors last December who enjoyed re-visiting the holidays of the 1950s, that we have made a push to be open and decorated for the season. This year we have had fewer visitors because there has been a snow or ice storm each Saturday.  We had been counting on the donations to help with expenses we did not have in our previous home. The museum will have a grand re-opening and ribbon-cutting later." The museum will be open Saturday December 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 1-3 p.m. Appointments can be made for small groups to view the house, weather allowing. A donation of $2 is asked of adults; children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.  The donation will go up to $5 in January.

A docent is on duty to tell about how the village came about and to describe social and fashion trends in the early 1950s. For appointments, leave a message with Jane Nicoll at 708-481-4252, or at parkforesthistory1atyahoo.com. People interested in being trained as docents, or guides, should also contact Jane. The museum will be closed during the month of January. Learn more about Park Forest history, at "Park Forest: An Illinois Planned Community," at www.idaillinois.org. 12-28-07

House Museum Needs Volunteers

The Park Forest Historical Society needs many more volunteers to cover open hours of the museum and to be available to open the museum by appointment.The 1950s Park Forest House Museum, located at 141 Forest Blvd, is usually open Saturday from 1-3 p.m., or by appointment.The museum is located atthe corner of Forest and Fir, within a block of the police station. If we find interested volunteers, we could open for a day during the week.

Long-time residents enjoy reminiscing with visitors, newer residents enjoy learning the history of this unique village and people who have lived in nearby towns enjoy sharing what they have known about the village over the years.

The society is seeking other volunteers for special projects including fundraising and work on the Park Forest Local History Collection and Archive.Part of the collection is in remote storage, but there are still projects to do, including clipping and photocopying articles, and updating the website. If you have a talent to offer or need toput in some public service time, please contact Jane Nicoll at the phone number above, or by email. 12-28-07