Tinker Swiss exhibit explores 1862 trip to Europe

Robert Tinker, the Rev. John Heyl Vincent on vacation

Ireland, London, Italy, Swiss Alps all featured in exhibit

“Robert & John’s European Vacation,” a new exhibit at Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, is now open to the public. The exhibit explores the trip Robert Tinker and his friend the Rev. John Heyl Vincent took in 1862. Many of the places the two friends visited are still popular tourist destinations, including Blarney Castle in Ireland; London, England; Venice, Italy; and the Swiss Alps.

The exhibit features many sketches Robert Tinker made during the journey. It also offers visitors a chance to experience some of Robert’s souvenirs just as he would have 145 years ago—by peering at some of his European stereoview cards through a stereoscope (yesterday’s View Master). On display in the Tinker Visitors Center, “Robert & John’s European Vacation” is free.

Robert Tinker would return to Rockford to build the unique Tinker Swiss Cottage, serve a term as mayor, and help found Rockford’s renowned park district. The Rev. John Heyl Vincent returned to his duties as minister at Rockford’s Court Street Methodist Church before moving on to posts in Chicago and founding the Chautauqua movement in 1874. He was named a bishop in the Methodist Church in 1888.

Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum, a Rockford Park District affiliate, is an educational, not-for-profit institution, dedicated to the preservation of and access to historic Tinker Swiss Cottage, its collections and the legacy of the Robert H. Tinker family for the community-at-large.

Open year round, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum is at 411 Kent St. Guided general admission tours of the historic Cottage are offered at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and Sunday afternoons. Groups of eight or more may reserve a tour convenient to them any time between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.

For more information, call the museum at (815) 964-2424 or visit tinkercottage.com.

from the June 20-26, 2007, issue

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