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Fall 2020 is full of challenges for students, as teachers and parents look to navigate the changed educational landscape. Distance learning, whether full-time or to supplement in-person instruction, is a reality for students. Oak Park River Forest Museum aims to be a community resource for students, parents, and teachers. We all need to support students in this moment. 

The museum is open each week from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and anyone can visit to see exhibits on Oak Park's long struggle to become a more welcoming and diverse community, the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts in the villages, notable residents of our two villages, and the history of photography. We feature photographs and maps and artifacts that tell the wide range of stories, and our Fields Research Center is open to answer questions.

Each Thursday afternoon, by appointment, we also will be offering a new sort of field trip! We invite small groups of students, parents, or teachers to join us at 3:30 or 4 p.m. each Thursday to an hour-long, hands-on field trip and guided tour to explore the museum and introduce visitors to the resources we have been gathering for more than 50 years. Each group of up to 10 adults and children may consist of family members or friends/neighbors who have created an educational pod for home learning. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students and includes a chance to further explore the museum before and after the session. Please reserve your field trip at least one week in advance. Of course, masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing are required!

For more information on how to plan your visit, contact us on our website, by email at oprfhistorymatters@sbcglobal.net, or call 708-848-6755.

Below are a few other resources you can use at any time.

  • Webpages
    • Our "Explore History Online" page includes brief histories of Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Home Cemetery, and local photographer Philander Barclay's collection of photographs taken at the turn of the last century.
    • Our "Hometown Legends" page features biographies for notable past and present residents of Oak Park or River Forest who left their mark on society.
    • Our "This Month in History" page shares stories of interesting or important events in the community's history, often using the museum's collection of printed copies of the Oak Leaves and Wednesday Journal newspapers.
    • Our "Photo Store" shows dozens of historic photos from our collection of thousands, including a variety of photos from the Philander Barclay Collection.

 

 

Book Recommendation List

Oak Park and River Forest have been home to many great cultural figures, especially in literature. This list of books features a series of authors relating to the history, setting, or people of Illinois.

  • K-5th grade
    • …If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln Ann McGovern
    • Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick
    • I Survived #11: I Survived the Great Chicago Fire 1871 by Lauren Trashis
    • Children of the Fire by Harriette Gillem Robinet*
    • Missing from Haymarket Square  by Harriette Gillem Robinet*
    • What Can a Citizen Do? by Dave Eggers

 

  • 6-8th grade
    • Illinois Native Americans: A 9,000 Year Civilization  by in60Learning
    • Abraham Lincoln – The Writer: A treasury of His Great Speeches and Letters by Harold Holzer
    • Children of the Fire by Harriette Gillem Robinet*
    • Missing from Haymarket Square by Harriette Gillem Robinet*
    • 10 True Tales: World War I Heroes by Alan Zullo
    • A Bus of Our Own by Freddi Williams Evans
    • Extra Credit by Andrew Clements
    • New Kid by Jerry Craft

 

  • 9-12th grade
    • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway*
    • The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway*
    • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields*
    • Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
    • The Chicago Race Riots, July 1919 by Carl Sandburg
    • Poems by Charles Simic*

*Author is from Oak Park or River Forest