Family Fun
June 14, 2013 • 05:35:10 p.m.

Vintage folk art on display in Wheaton museum


This cow windmill weight is one of the examples of folk art from the 19th and 20th centuries that fills three floors of the DuPage County Historical Museum. (Photo provided)

A major exhibit, “Early Illinois Folk Art 1825-1925,” is on display at the DuPage County Historical Museum all summer. A free family lecture and workshop on scrimshaw carving is offered this month.

Scrimshaw, or bone carving, was a form of folk art that developed near coastal areas. While scrimshaw is not a new technique, Americans added their own flair to the historic art form.

Participants will learn how to carve their own scrimshaw art out of soap, while learning more about the art form. The lecture is offered from 1 to 2:30 p.m., followed by the workshop from 2:30 to 3:20 p.m. It's open to visitors age 5 and older Saturday, June 22. Registration is requested at

Filling three floors, the folk art exhibit features objects made and used in Illinois in the 19th and 20th centuries. It includes both functional and decorative artwork, from coverlets and decoys to weathervanes and whirligigs.

The museum staff developed informative learning stations for families to enjoy together, including an interactive portrait studio and community quilt. Each learning station draws a connection to items on display. Learning stations are available during regular museum hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

"The Early Illinois Folk Art 1825-1925" exhibit runs through Sept. 15. A commemorative catalogue, including photos and details on many of the objects, is available for purchase in the museum gift shop.

The museum is at Main and Wesley streets in downtown Wheaton. For information about the exhibit, visit or call 630-510-4941.

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