The Midway Village Museum consists of a 136-acre campus located in Rockford, Illinois. The facility is a Victorian Village circa 1890-1910, and has 24 historical buildings filled with artifacts of the era and several 19th century gardens on the grounds. Tour guides are decked out in authentic period dress and provide informative presentations about the exhibits, displays and history of the museum and Rockford, Illinois.
With a donation of land from the Severin Family, the Midway Village Museum was organized in 1968, by the Swedish, Harlem and Rockford Historical Societies. The purpose for organizing a museum was to preserve, collect and interpret the history of Rockford.
The original museum was located on 11-acres and today the site has grown to more than 130-acres. The Museum Center facility first opened its doors in 1974, consisting of 10,000 square feet. The Industrial Hall and Exhibition Hall were merged together in 1986, and a short time later more galleries were opened.
The Aviation Gallery and Carlson Education Gallery and Old Doll Museum were constructed in 1988. Currently, the Museum Center has grown to 52,700 square feet and houses 7 exhibit galleries, collection storage, classrooms, educational facilities, library, an audio-visual room and the Museum Store gift shop.
In 2000, the History Building was renovated and the facility became handicapped accessible, making the location more user friendly. The collections have grown to include more than 80,000 items, including three-dimensional pieces, textiles, structures and archived materials.
The construction of Midway Village started in 1974, and is representative of typical rural town life in Northern Illinois at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century. Midway Village showcases 26 historic structures including a print shop, blacksmith shop, general store, hotel, bank, hardware store, school house, police station, law office, church, fire station, hospital, hotel, plumbing shop, barber shop, four farm houses and two barns.
Exhibits featured at Midway Village Museum include "The Origin of Species'', which centers on sock monkeys, red heeled socks and stories about the sock knitting industry in Rockford, Illinois. The "Come Fly with Us'' exhibit is designed to allow visitors to learn about Rockford's Pioneer aviators. The "Becoming a City'' display invites guests to learn about the foundations that were laid down during the first 20 years of Rockford, Illinois. The "No Crying in Baseball'', is an exhibit devoted to All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and tells the story of the Rockford Peaches and their place in history. The "Water Power'' exhibit is actually an old millhouse located at the edge of the Museums Severin Lake, and is a working replica of a water-powered machine house.
The Midway Village Museum Center, Millhouse, Old Doll House and Museum Store are opened January-April and September-December on Tuesday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, on Saturday from 10:30 am until 4 pm, and closed on Sunday and Monday. The hours of operation from May-August are Tuesday through Friday from 10 am until 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am until 4 pm, and closed on Monday. The Historic Village hours are Thursday through Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm in the month of May, Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm in June-August, and closed on Monday. The village is open by appointment only September through April.
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