At Home in the Heartland Online

About the Exhibit

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This online exhibit is based on an exhibit at the Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL, At Home in the Heartland, which opened in November 1992 with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

[TOP] The Heartland

Illinois serves as the heart of America both geographically and culturally. As the hub of a vast transportation network, Illinois is where East and West, North and South meet and mix. Big cities and small towns, quiet farms and heavy industry are all important parts of this microcosmic America. Illinois has witnessed the dynamics of cultural contact from the first French-Indian encounters through waves of immigration--Southern, Yankee, German, Irish, Scandinavian, Black, Italian, Slavic, Mexican, and Asian. Technological revolutions and social and political confrontations that have shaped our nation have been conceived or nurtured in Illinois. The works of many inspired Illinois architects, artists, writers, and musicians have helped to define American culture. In many ways Illinois is truly the heartland of America.

[TOP] Home

Homes are more than just shelters from the environment. Homes and families fill important emotional needs in our lives. To be "at home" is to be comfortable, relaxed, at ease. We often have little control over what we encounter in the outside world, but in our home we are more free to express our personalities and preferences.

[TOP] Choice

People have chosen a variety of ways to make themselves at home in Illinois, the heartland of America. Their choices were influenced by many factors, such as:

Throughout this exhibit, you and your students will explore some of these factors while meeting people from the past and sharing their experiences in making choices.

[TOP] The People

The people introduced to you in this exhibit are real people. In some cases, names have been changed to protect people's privacy. Many types of historical records have been used to reconstruct possible moments of decision and the choices made during their lives. These situations have been dramatized for this presentation; however, the people's own words have been used, whenever possible. In some cases, the details of the choices are not completely known, but are based on current historical understanding.

[TOP] Exhibit Credits

Project Director:
Janice Tauer Wass
Content Consultants:
Jeannette Booth, Children's Museum, Indianapolis; Lizabeth Cohen, N.Y. University; Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, University of Chicago; Carl Ekberg, Illinois State University; John Mack Faragher, Yale University; Jeff Hayward, Peoples, Places & Design Research; Thomas Schlereth, Notre Dame University; Fred Schroeder, University of Minnesota, Duluth
Research and Curatorial Development:
Janice Tauer Wass, Irene Boyer, Kent Smith, Linda Norbut Suits, Tandy Lacy, Melinda Kwedar, Tacie Campbell, Lynitta Summers, Kay Ripplemeyer, Claire Martin, Marsha Bray, Nancy McLoud, Mark Whitlock
Script Writer:
John Ahart

[TOP] QTVR Views of the Exhibit

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© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96