Although the Madison County Archival Library is closed until future notice due to COVID-19 and the Museum for renovation, the Madison County Historical Society and museum staff continue to offer access to information about Madison County history through its website (https://madcohistory.org/) and Facebook page.
Assistant Curator Mary Z. Rose has created two on-line exhibits in recent months. The first was on Edward Coles, an Illinois governor who once made his home in Madison County. Many credit Coles with assuring that Illinois remained a free state.
The second recent exhibit explores the Wood River Refinery in Roxana that last year celebrated its centennial. Earlier topics covered by online exhibits, and still available for viewing, include Civil War stories of Madison County, music and African-American history. There is a total of 10 exhibits currently available.
The website also has archived copies of the society’s award-winning newsletter, MCHS News. Each issue of the eight-page newsletter focuses on a different aspect of Madison County history. For example, if readers go to the January 2015 issue, they can read about the 1918 Flu Pandemic in Madison County. Other topics include the ethnic neighborhood of Lincoln Place in Granite City, the Wildi Masonic Temple in Highland, the Village of Carpenter and the Civil War Prison in Alton.
The Society’s Facebook page, “Madison County Historical Society,” offers a variety of posts about Madison County history that usually include photographs. Recent posts that have proved popular were photographs of the historic Nickel Plate Depot in Edwardsville moving to its new location and a story from WW II provided by MCHS member Marilyn Sulc.
MCHS is encourages residents to remember nonprofits. Additional contributions will help with renovation of the Madison County Historical Museum building. For more information visit the Society webpage at https://madcohistory.org/ or call (618) 656-1294.
Historical Society looks for stories of COVID-19
Madison County is asking people to donate materials, or tell their stories, related to the coronavirus pandemic, as a way to preserve this moment in history.
Director of the Madison County Historical Museum Jon Parkin said that an historic event is taking place all around us right now, and he is asking people to share their stories, so it will be preserved for future generations. The museum is also looking for objects, and paper or digital items, that document the current crisis.
“We want to include the heroic efforts of first responders, the plight of victims, the effects on businesses, schools, and cultural groups; and the creativity borne of isolation,” Parkin said.
The museum will collect paper memorabilia, like flyers, postcards, signs, emails, drawings, or anything that shows how county residents are handling the current situation. Other items the museum will accept include household objects that reflect life under quarantine.
“The different types of masks people are wearing or other objects will be accepted,” Parkin said. He added that donated masks should be clean, so as to prevent the spread of the virus.
Parkin said the COVID-19 crisis will be written and spoken about by many generations to come. As record-keepers of local history, the Historical Museum is inviting residents to help document this event and share their stories
“We want to hear in your own words what you and your family are going through,” he said.
More information on how to donate items or paper and digital items for the museum’s collection visit the can visit the Edwardsville Public Library website at https://www.edwardsvillelibrary.org/teen-historian-challenge.
“Although the website link is labeled Teen Historian Projects, submissions from ‘teenagers’ of all ages are encouraged, and will be accepted,” Parkin said. “We want to hear from our residents, both young and old, who are living ‘history’.”
The museum is also asking residents who share photos and document personal experiences online during the pandemic, using the hashtag #CovidStoriesMadisonCountyIL.