Byron Museum of History opens two new exhibits Oct. 24
From press release
BYRON, Ill.—Byron Museum of History has announced the opening of two new exhibits: “Byron in the Railroad Era” and “Into the Outhouse.”
A special exhibit opening will be held for both exhibits from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
“Byron in the Railroad Era” is a new permanent exhibit in the museum’s Exhibition Hall. This exhibit tells the story of how Byron flourished during the early 20th century railroad industry.
In 1910, Byron was bustling with the coming and going of trains. The Milwaukee Road and the Chicago Great Western were the two railroads that passed through Byron in those days.
Melissa Clark, summer intern at the museum, said, “Railroads were the economic backbone of many communities and helped small towns like Byron thrive and flourish.”
This exhibit also explores several local businesses that used the railroad to ship their products to Chicago. Several memorable quotes about the railroad, taken from the museum’s Oral History collection, are also on display. Featured objects in this exhibit include an interactive Byron Train Model of 1910, a red caboose lantern, photographs of Byron’s two depots, a model Hiawatha train, and an authentic piece of a railway track.
“Into the Outhouse” is a another new permanent exhibit opening at the Byron Museum.
Before the invention of indoor plumbing, outhouses or privies served as toilets. This exhibit will take you back into the outhouse and remind you of days long past when outhouses were part of daily life in Byron. They were also a convenient dumping spot for household trash.
Privy diggers excavate these outhouse pits in search of artifacts, which provides a glimpse into the daily lives of the people who used them.
Several artifacts from the recent pit dig of The Lucius Read House are also showcased in this exhibit.
The Read House, circa 1840s, served as a place of business as well as a church and a “station” stop on the Underground Railroad.
Kira Halvey, volunteer coordinator at the museum, said: “This was an exciting and important project because the Byron Museum’s collection contains no Read family objects. Hundreds of pieces of broken china, glass, metal and bone were uncovered during the dig. [Those items] are now featured in our Outhouse exhibit.”
The Byron Museum will also host several activities for kids during the exhibit opening. Kids will have the opportunity to create either a mosaic mirror or picture frame from historic fine china. This activity will be between 10 and 11 a.m., and is recommended for ages 8 and older. Space is limited. Call (815) 234-5031 to make reservations.
Byron Museum volunteers will also be dressed up as train engineers and hobos. Kids will also have the opportunity to get their picture taken with them and participate in a hobo lingo scavenger hunt. Prizes will be given to those who can guess the correct weight of a piece of train track. We hope to see you there!
Byron Museum is at 110 N. Union St. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturdays. Admission is always free. Call the Byron Museum at (815) 234-5031 with any questions, or visit www.byronmuseum.org.
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