The 1950s Park Forest House Museum is in Its New Home

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—September 5, 2015. The 1950s Park Forest House Museum, now located in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 227 Monee Road, is settled in its new home. The Society has not yet re-established regular open hours, but the museum can be shown by appointment, if a volunteer is available. Those wishing to see the museum by appointment should contact us via email, or should call Jane Nicoll, Museum Director, at 708-481-4252; or Michael Gans, at 708-305-3308. Target hours will be Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, 1-3:30 p.m. We are not open for a regular schedule yet because we need more people to help! Anyone interested in being trained to be a volunteer museum guide or docent should also call Jane or Mike.

The museum now represents a home in the first five years the village was settled, 1948 – 1953. Although no longer in an original rental unit, the layout is very similar, and it looks like a home furnished as it might have been in those first years.  

View of the new 1950s Park Forest House Museum

Andrew Brown, our former landlord at Central Park Apartments, generously allowed us to take the kitchen cupboards, which his staff carefully removed. Superior Cabinet and Window employees, Al Jones and Tom Grant, with permission of owner, Frank Klauck, built us a rolling platform on which they mounted the upper and lower cabinets. It looks great and very authentic. Thanks to all the owners and staff involved!!

Many people helped pack the museum carefully before the move. Museum Director, Jane Nicoll, worked on the layout, which required measuring all of the pieces and arranging them on a gird until most of the collection could be fit into the two rooms. She used a few volunteers to help unpack some of the collection. Jane put in many hours beyond her work as Society Archivist setting the museum back up. Volunteers Carl Stover and Bill Wilkinson built Bedroom and Living Room closets and a wall divider for display material. Mike Wiater of Crete donated a standing kitchen pantry which replaced the built-in pantry we had in the original rental townhome.

The move took place on May 19, 2015. It took until late-July for everything to be in place. The bathroom sink and medicine cabinet (originals from 141 Forest Blvd) still need a wall built to support them for the bathroom display to be complete.

Now we need a Volunteer Coordinator or Scheduler and more volunteers before we can get fully up and running again. We have been open a few sporadic times since August 1, and we are working on some tours by appointment.

One advantage of the museum being in St. Mary’s is that it is now accessible. We hope this means that more senior citizen groups and nursing home visitors can enjoy the nostalgic trip down Memory Lane that the museum provides. We do need to set up appointments for such visits.

The Society will hold its Annual Meeting and Election of Board Members Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. in Ryan Hall of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. THIS MEETING WILL BE OPEN FOR MEMBERS ONLY, AND WILL INCLUDE AN OPEN HOUSE OF THE MUSEUM FOR PAID MEMBERS. Our membership year begins in September and we are hoping to lure more people in the community to become active, paying members to support our mission and this museum by holding this Open House for MEMBERS ONLY! People may sign up for membership at this meeting!

Spread the word to neighbors, friends and family that the museum is ready to be shown, and that we need volunteers!! Volunteer yourself!! It takes a village to support a museum!