Ethnic Heritage Museum receives gift from Mayor Bloom’s estate

Ethnic Heritage Museum receives gift from Mayor Bloom’s estate


The Ethnic Heritage Museum is taking on a new role as a “historical research facility” for the Rockford community. From a recent acquisition, the Ethnic Heritage Museum has received artifacts from the estates of Mayor Bloom and Mayor Lundquist. Among the artifacts were authentic reproductions on genuine parchment paper of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (1863), The Emancipation Proclamation (1863), his Second Inaugural Address and his 1864 letter to Mrs. Bixby. These items were written by Abraham Lincoln in his own hand and bear his signature, and were purchased by Mayor Bloom during his trip to Washington in 1955.

Ms. Jackie Anderson donated hundreds of documents, newspapers and news clippings recording Rockford’s history from the 1950s. With the museum recently opening its Learning Center to the public, the museum is becoming the place to research Rockford’s history. The Learning Center has a state-of-the-art computer system for public use and includes language tapes, so visitors could learn the languages originally spoken by Rockford’s early settlers.

During spring 2002, from the Rev. Joseph Turner Estate, Lloyd Hawks donated to the museum more than 50 copies of Rockford’s Crusader newspaper. The Crusader reported on news in Rockford’s black community during the 1950s-’60s. Through a grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, these newspapers will be put on CDs and available to the public.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum preserves the culture and tradition of past generations for future generations, honors those who are currently playing an active role in Rockford, and is working on programs to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

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