This exhibit is housed in the South Gallery of the museum and is the largest exhibit space on display. The exhibit details the story of the county from the time of the glacier all the way to the 1980s “boom and bust” of the economy. This newly redesigned exhibit is the largest overhaul in recent history. The museum implemented new technology in the form of films and digital picture frames, and it added interactive displays. You can sit at an old desk and thumb through replications of texts and you may take your picture in the old bank exhibit.
The North Gallery is comprised of three separate newly redesigned exhibits. Kankakee’s Three Governors displays artifacts and information related to the three governors of Illinois from Kankakee County. James Lillie, Life at the Turn of the Century, displays artifacts from large historic homes in the County that were built during a time of opulence and have since been demolished. The interpretive signage also explains the Gilded Age in American History. The F.D. Radeke Brewing Company exhibit contains many artifacts from the Brewery and tells of how the Volstead Act affected local businesses.
The Union Army in the Civil War had a regiment from Kankakee, and many of the artifacts from the men who served are on display. One of our longest running unchanged exhibits, a redesign is planned for April 2017.
Drawn on the 16th Century practice among the rich and fashionable of collecting and displaying curious items, the Museum has unearthed some of its more rare, strange, historic and downright weird.The items presented range from a Civil War-era bayonet unearthed during construction on Olivet Nazarene University's campus in Bourbonnais, to WWII era toilet paper and a set of dentures.
Open: Now - October 21, 2017
This the story of a local man and his experiences as a prisoner of war in Germany during WWII. From his harrowing flight and escape from the downed plane to his days as a prisoner in a German P.O.W. camp, the exhibit contains artifacts on loan from the Kyrouac family.
Open: Now - TBA 2018
George Grey Barnard was an American sculptor from the early 1900s that received praise for his works in Europe and the United States. The Kankakee County Museum has several dozen of his pieces, many of which are very large. The exhibit has just received a redesign to include new interpretive signage and photographs of the artist’s work in his studio, as well as his sketches.
Built in 1855, this home is one of the Museum’s living history buildings. The home is set to look as though a family home may have looked in the mid to late 1800s. 2015 saw the renovation of the upstairs bedrooms, including a master bedroom, children’s bedrooms, and a play area featuring a collection of 19th Century toys. There is also a display of typewriter styles throughout the decades.
The Schoolhouse was moved to the Museum Campus in 1876 and is another living history building. Students and adults can sit in antique school desks, explore the coat closets, and read about education in the 1900s. The Museum also offers tours of the Schoolhouse to local schools for field trips.
This print shop exhibit highlights the inner-workings of a twentieth century printing business. With printing machines of various types donated by local newspaper businesses, visitors can explore the way newspapers were once put together.
Plans are underway to redesign this exhibit. It includes information on local ties to the Underground Railroad, local black leaders, and cultural objects from African American Heritage.
The museums World War II exhibit is full of artifacts and stories of WWII soldiers and veterans. A subset of the museum’s exhibit is the temporary exhibit entitled B-17 Flying Fortress, which includes portions of a B-17 aircraft, the story of a pilot that became a P.O.W in WWII, and an actual bomb site used in the war.
The Kankakee Art League has been exhibiting in the museum since its founding. Each year, members loan several pieces of their works to the museum so we may display them for the summer months. The show consists of various forms of art made with various mediums. Visitors are encouraged to vote for their favorite pieces.
Open: Now - August 26, 2017
Our sports gallery is full of memorabilia from local teams, players, and those from the area that went on to the professional level. The exhibit highlights the incredible feats of sportsmanship in Kankakee and shows what so many different people can accomplish from such a small region.
On every Flying Fortress mission, the bombardier’s responsibility was the precise delivery of the bomb load on the intended target. Using the Norden bombsight and the C-1 automatic pilot, he positioned the plane and dropped the bombs from an altitude of almost five miles. Lieutenant Thomas P. Lennon Jr. of Chicago was one such bombardier.
Open: Now - August 2018
KANKAKEE COUNTY MUSEUM EXHIBITS