What we're about

Mission

The mission of the Highland Park Historical Society is to preserve our community’s past, to inspire an appreciation of our history and culture and share with the community and scholars the rich history of Highland Park, Illinois.

The Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Society’s operations, exhibits and research collections are housed in the National Register-listed Jean Butz James house.

Museums

The Highland Park Historical Society maintains or preserves three historic structures: the Jean Butz James Museum, the Francis Stupey Cabin and the Robert G. Robinison Bandstand. Click on each image below for more information on each of our sites.

Exhibits and Education

Throughout the year, the Society hosts exhibits, lectures and educational events at our historic sites as well as throughout the community. Educational Field Trips are conducted throughout the year and Teacher Toolkits are available by appointment.

Research Center

The Highland Park Historical Society Archives and Research Center holds approximately 700 cubic feet of research materials. The repository’s collection documents the distinct, diverse community of Highland Park, Illinois and its citizens. The Museum houses a wide variety of items. Some collections of note:

Highland Park City Records; and local collections documenting business, progressive and vocational education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cultural life, and photography.
Architecture records of J. Marion Gutnayer and Robert Arnold
Jesse Lowe Smith Photographic Botany Collection
Highland Park Woman’s Club
Ravina Festival programs
Ravinia Artists
Photographs of Highland Park and environs
100 years of Highland Park High School Yearbooks
Oral Histories
Local Artifacts
In 2010 the Society became the recipient of an $86,000 Basic Processing and Preservation Planning Project matching grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the National Archives and Records Administration. This grant has allowed us to focus on organizing, preserving and making the Collections accessible to the public online.

www.HighlandParkHistory.com

Upcoming events (1)

John Deere: A Discussion of the History and Future of Agriculture

Highland Park ---- Highland Park Historical Society will host ‘John Deere: A Discussion of the History and Future of Agriculture,' with Historian Brian 'Fox' Ellis in character as John Deere. This program is supported by a grant from Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Program. You have been ‘invited to a private board meeting and celebration of John Deere & Co.’ The founder of the company is retiring and handing the plow to his son Charles. John Deere reflects on the history of his self-scouring plows, shares some of his personal struggles, and then turns to the future and the great changes in agriculture that he foresees in the vision of his son, who transforms the company and the future of farming. As John Deere, historian and author Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis covers a hundred years of agricultural history and then leads a discussion on the future of farming. Raising issues like the pros and cons of agriculture versus agribusiness, the role of technology and mechanization, the small family farm, centennial farms, and community service agriculture, this program promises to engage the audience in a complex conversation on how we continue to help feed the world. Turning the old Question and Answer session on its head, a large portion of the program is John Deere asking the audience questions about their family roots in agriculture and where they think the future will lead us. Brian ‘Fox’ Ellis is an internationally acclaimed author, storyteller, historian and naturalist. He has worked with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Field Museum and dozens of other museums across the country. Fox is also the Artistic Director for Prairie Folklore Theatre, a unique theatre company that celebrates ecology and history through original musical theatre productions. He and his wife, Kimberly Thrush, run a bed and breakfast, the Twinflower Inn, in Bishop Hill, Illinois. Admission is free. For further information, please contact the Highland Park Historical Society:[masked] or [masked]. About the Highland Park Historical Society: The mission of the Highland Park Historical Society is to preserve our community’s past, to inspire an appreciation of our history and culture, and to share with the community and scholars the rich history of Highland Park, Illinois. The Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Archives and Research Collections are housed in the Highland Park Public Library. For more information about Highland Park Historical Society, visit https://highlandparkhistory.com About Illinois Humanities: Illinois Humanities strengthens the social, political, and economic fabric of Illinois through constructive conversation and community engagement. Founded in 1974 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Illinois Humanities is the only statewide proponent of the public humanities in Illinois. Through public programs, education and training, and grantmaking, Illinois Humanities connects Illinoisans who might not otherwise encounter one another. www.HighlandParkHistory.com

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