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Park Forest Historical Society receives grant

The 1950s Park Forest House Museum has been known feature scenes from Christmases past.  |  Supplied photo

The 1950s Park Forest House Museum has been known to feature scenes from Christmases past. | Supplied photo

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Updated: January 9, 2014 6:02AM



The Park Forest Historical Society recently received one of 244 awards through The Institute of Museum and Library Services agency’s grant programs.

The Park Forest Historical Society received $22,701 through the Museums for America Collections Stewardship grant program for a two-year project to begin entering its collection into a PastPerfect Collection Maintenance Database, improving intellectual and legal control and making its collections more accessible.

The project will cover collections held by the society in the 1950s Park Forest House Museum, 141 Forest Blvd., and in the Park Forest Local History Collection and Archive, 227 Monee Road.

Institute of Museum and Library Services director Susan Hildreth presented a workshop and ceremony on Capitol Hill to recognize the 2013 museum winners and to highlight successful applicants and awards.

“IMLS recognizes three valuable roles museums have in their communities: putting the learner at the center, serving as community anchors, and serving as stewards of cultural and scientific collections,” Hildreth said. “It is exciting to see the many ways our newly announced grants further these important museum roles. I congratulate the slate of 2013 museum grant recipients for planning projects that advance innovation in museum practice, lifelong learning and community engagement.”

The 1950s Park Forest House Museum represents the first five years of village occupancy from 1948 to 1953. The Park Forest Local History Collection and Archive is an important source of images, documents, newspapers, audio and visual recordings, oral histories and artifacts from what is called “America’s Original GI Town,” according to a press release about the grant.

Park Forest was the first fully planned, post-World War II suburb, home to one of the first two shopping centers in the United States.

“This grant will allow the society to increase and improve documentation of both collections, improve intellectual and legal control, and make these collections much more accessible to residents, visitors of the museum, authors, scholars, students and publishers,” museum director and archivist Jane Nicoll said.

Nicoll, who wrote the grant, said volunteers will be recruited for the documentation of the materials.

Anyone interested in being interviewed to volunteer may contact Nicoll at (708) 481-4252.

Staff report



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