Monday, October 17, 2016

Music of the Civil Rights Movement with Chris Vallillo, a singing success

A big thank you to the Scholar Program of the Illinois Humanities Council for sponsoring the "Music of the Civil Rights Movement" program with Chris Vallillo that we hosted at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum last Thursday, 10/13, and thanks to all those who showed up for the program and sang along!

Chris led the room in song as he told us the story behind the musical movement that inspired a generation of change. Songs like "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," "This Little Light of Mine," and "Ain't Nobody Gonna Turn Me Around" were all featured next to stories of the Freedom Riders, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Freedom Marches on Washington and Birmingham.

Missed this program? Watch video of this fantastic performance on our Facebook and Instagram pages and save the date to see Jimmy Keane's "Irish Labor and Irish Music in Chicago" on Saturday, November 12th at 7pm.


Don't Forget! This is the last week to register for Festival of the Wreaths! To register a wreath or to learn more visit our website:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Holly Jolly Workshop instructed by Urban Garden's, Cindy Platt

Thank you to Cindy Platt of Urban Garden in Arlington Heights for teaching a class on ways to create a beautiful holiday wreath last Thursday.  So full of tips that none of us had ever known... For instance, when using a grape vine wreath base, you aren't supposed to keep it wrapped the way you buy it, but instead pull it apart so the vine is looser.  I know, right!?  Gives the wreath a completely different look.  If you are looking for a gorgeous flower arrangement, Cindy is your floral designer.  Check out and see for yourself.  Better yet, visit the shop located in downtown AH.    

Here are some pics from Thursday's class.  Be sure to mark your calendars for the viewing and bidding of the wreaths which will start November 22 and ends December 4.  This is a chance to see creative wreaths from area businesses, youth groups, families, individuals and organizations.  All proceeds raised by the wreath auction will benefit the museum.  For more information on the Festival of the Wreaths, visit

Monday, September 26, 2016

Wreath Registration Deadline is October 21

The deadline to register a wreath is approaching, Have you decided what the theme will be yet?  The museum is in full "Festival of the Wreaths" mode and is expecting a great turn out for the 2nd annual event. 

For inspiration as you ponder your wreath design, you can check out a slideshow of wreaths from 2015 here.  Last year, the event received 78 donated wreaths and were displayed in the museum for the public to view and place bids.  The money earned through this event helped to support the Arlington Heights Historical Society's mission of preserving Arlington Height's history.

The Society hopes to see your wreath displayed on the walls of the museum this year!  For more information about the Festival of the Wreaths, check out the website here. Registration can be made in person by filling out at form found at the museum or online here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lucky Junk Wreath Workshop Nets Wreath Donation for Festival of the Wreaths


Wreath made at Lucky Junk, located in Arlington Heights, by Terry Karow
Photo by Arlington Heights Historical Society
The wreath, entitled “Once Upon a Christmas,” was created by Terry Karow from vintage materials at a special workshop held at Lucky Junk, 405 S. Arlington Heights Rd., on September 13. The wreath will be donated to the Arlington Heights Historical Society for the silent auction fundraiser Festival of the Wreaths, November 22-December 4, at the Heritage Gallery of the Historical Museum, 110 W. Fremont Street, Arlington Heights.
Vintage scraps of lace and ribbon, along with vintage ornaments, old silver cutlery, and other vintage pieces were combined with a rusted piece of wrought iron fencing for a unique holiday vibe. The workshop was led by Donna Castellanos, who created the wreath entitled Lucky Loco, which won first prize in the Artisan/Professional Category in the inaugural Festival of the Wreaths last year. Lucky Junk is owned by Janet McCarthy, and is located at 405 S. Arlington Heights Road.

Due to the success of the September workshop, Lucky Junk has added another wreath workshop called Woodsy Autumn Wreath on Tuesday, October 11, 6 PM-8:30 PM, cost is $90 and all materials are provided.  Register for the workshop by calling Lucky Junk at 847-440-6633.    

If you would like to participate in the Festival of the Wreaths by donating a wreath, go to and register online or stop by the museum to pick up a registration form. The deadline to register your wreath is Friday, October 21. For more details about Festival of the Wreaths, go to the same website or call 847.255-1225. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Behind the scenes at the Museum: CLYDE COMES HOME!

Yesterday was a very special day here at the Arlington Heights Historical Museum. Our life-size, fiberglass horse, named Clyde, returned home.

He had been on loan to the Buffalo Grove 's Raupp Museum for many years. He is currently in storage,  but we have some big plans for him!

We are so thankful to the Buffalo Grove Park District for taking care of him & getting him home safely.

Staff at the Museum would have loved to see the looks on people's faces as this drove past them on Arlington Heights Road, but since we can't, we figured we would share the pictures with world, and hopefully bring a smile to someone's face.

For more information on upcoming events and programs at the Museum, please click below.

"Um. Hey. We have your horse."
Clyde on Euclid
Welcome home Clyde!
Huge thank you to the Buffalo Park District crew!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Historical Arlington War Stories

Civil War – In 1865 nineteen-year-old John E. Best signed up to fight the Southern Rebellion with his older brother, James. They were placed in the 95th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. Both boys survived the battles but a bout of measles killed John’s brother. John also suffered the disease, the conditions of the wartime hospitals had a tremendous effect on his thinking. After the war, John Best graduated from Rush Medical College in 1870. He returned to Arlington Heights (then called Dunton) to practice his craft.

WWI – The attitude towards Germans in the U.S. at the time was of course negative. Nonetheless the community continued to print its newspaper in both English and German editions during the war, even writing articles in defense of the German originated families residing there. 4 days before the war actually ended, resident Nathaniel Banta (original owner of Banta House on the Arlington Heights Historical Museum property) received faulty news by telephone that the war was over. He proceeded to rouse the entire town in the wee hours of the morning. Schools were closed and a holiday was announced. 4 days later when the official announcement of victory emerged, town officials cautiously doubled-checked the information before again closing schools and celebrating. In all 133 men enlisted from Arlington Heights. Two boys, Theodore Heismoth and David H. Hodges failed to return.

WWII – A unique effort to other support to servicemen during World War II was by Lil and Mar Johnson. Lil and Mar owned the Park View Tavern, a popular social establishment. Every Saturday throughout wartime they would leave a toy ambulance bank on top of the counter to gather loose change and donations. At the end of the night whatever was in the bank would be turned into a money order and mailed off to an Arlington Heights serviceman. At some points the amount in the jar amounted to as much as $100. This community effort demonstrated to the servicemen that they were being kept in the community’s thoughts.
There are many more stories that we wish we had time to share. The Arlington heights Historical Museum thanks all Veterans for their incredible sacrifice and service.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween and the Autumn season

The earliest records of Halloween come from ancient Celtic records. “Samhain” was celebrated on November 1st and marked the Celtic New Year. This was the beginning of the “dark half” of the year, which ended May 1st. The Celtic people also used this time to celebrate the harvest with a time of feasting. At the same time though, it was a celebration of death as well. Crops were harvested, livestock were butchered, and Winter was coming. Winter was when most human deaths happened because of cold and food shortages made people especially vulnerable. In New Year tradition, life was celebrated as well. The Celtic people believed all good things started in the darkness. It was not scary or frightening. Halloween was adopted by Catholics as All Saints Day, which is celebrated on Nov. 1st. Dressing up became popular in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Many other cultures and religions vary on how they celebrate the holiday, but they all mirror the early Celtic celebrations.

To some people, Halloween might also mean the start to the Holiday Season, or the coming of the cold. The Museum has some really great upcoming programs to help you celebrate and keep warm.

Oct. 30th- deadline to bring in wreaths for Festival of the Wreaths

Nov. 14th - Get Ready for Thanksgiving
Learn about how Thanksgiving would have been celebrated differently for the early residents of Arlington Heights. We will explore the traditions and how the food was prepared. Kids will also make a centerpiece that they get to take home for their celebrations. One adult must be attend this program with children.

Nov. 27-29 –  Festival of the Wreaths (viewing of wreaths, open to the public)

Dec. 1st - Holiday Fairy Door

Every house should have a fairy or two, so shouldn't they have a door of their own. Paint your own fairy door and add some holiday trim for a unique decoration that you can change with the seasons. 

Dec. 5th- Get ready for the Holidays

Get in the holiday spirit and make some decorations, a wreath and personalized wrapping paper for the season.