Ethnic Heritage Museum offers ‘A Tribute to the Butler Family’

From press release

Mother’s Day is right around the corner. The Ethnic Heritage Museum (EHM) will salute three generations of local women who have made many contributions to life in Rockford—the Butler family.

The public is invited to attend the unveiling of “A Tribute to the Butler Family,” featuring E. Faye Butler, from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, April 19. E. Faye Butler will be on hand to greet visitors, explain the display and sign her latest CD, A Circle of Firsts.

The “A Tribute to the Butler Family” exhibit examines the accomplishment of Elizabeth Peterd-Standfield; her daughter, the late Elizabeth “Liz” Butler; and her granddaughter, E. Faye Butler.

Elizabeth Peterd-Standfield, “Ms. Peterd,” one of Rockford’s oldest living citizens who turns 100 on May 20 this year, is a former owner of a local dress design business. She opened and ran the first kitchen at Booker Washington Center, as well as had her own restaurant. She was the kitchen supervisor for the State of Illinois halfway houses, managing three houses in the Rockford area until she retired.

The only living charter member of Providence Baptist Church, she helped lay the first brick and started the first kitchen there to raise money for the building.

Ms. Peterd received the Bertha Palmer Award for her dedication to children. It has been said that Ms. Peterd raised more than 100 children and, in 1993, became Lifescape’s Super Senior Award recipient.

The late Elizabeth “Liz” Butler was a retired social worker, former model and social activist in Chicago and Rockford. Her life offers many unique stories, and visitors will be surprised at her accomplishments.

E. Faye Butler, actress and recording artist, has acted in numerous stage productions around the country and has performed with Barry Manilow. She has appeared in various Chicago productions including Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dinah Was and Caroline, or Change. E. Faye, the goddaughter of gospel music icon Mahalia Jackson, is starring in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom in Baltimore.

“A Tribute to the Butler Family” will display items revisiting their careers, their accomplishments and their contribution to life in Rockford. Included in the display will be some of the hats and dresses created and designed by Ms. Peterd. It will include the prom dress worn by Liz Butler and the costume E. Faye wore in the The Wiz.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum, at 1129 S. Main St., is unique in its blend of ethnic groups: African-American, Polish, Italian, Lithuanian, Irish and Hispanic. A visit to each gallery will enlighten visitors of the values and traditions of each of these groups.

The “A Tribute to the Butler Family” exhibit will be on display until mid-September. Admission is free to the public, but donations are appreciated.

For more information, visit or e-mail or

The museum is handicap accessible. Group tours can be arranged by contacting the museum at (815) 962-7402 or e-mailing

From the April 14-20, 2010 issue

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