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"Just what is so special about your Courthouse Museum?" is a question I often hear from people. It's a question that can't be answered with a few quick sentences.
Our Courthouse Museum is the look of pride on the face of a widow of a WWII veteran as she looks at his picture, uniform, or medals. It's the beaming smiles of baby boomers as they share their tales about their fathers' lives and their mothers' lives during the war years. It is the the wistful looks on the faces of adults who bring pictures in for us to share and say, "I never knew my dad. I was just a baby when he died in the war." It's the awe-struck look on school children's faces as you tell them about the brave deeds of some of our veterans. It's the pride I feel as one boy says, "Wow! I hope I can grow up to be brave like him. He must have been a good man!" It is the voice of a veteran saying, "God bless you people for remembering us."
It is the sound of families telling stories of their loved ones with pride even as tears roll down their faces. It is my feeling of pride when my cousin tells me that our Grandpa's railroad memorabilia needs to come home to Effingham. It is the look of little children's faces lighting up with excitement as they watch our trains go round and round. It's the sound of the train whistle eagerly made by a little one's hands. It is the excitement of voices saying thank you for telling our county's story. It's the nostalgic voices of people pointing to a picture or a model of a favorite hangout from their youth. It is the laughter of old friends who no longer live here meeting up and reminiscing about the "good old days" of their youth in Effingham. It is the shaking of heads as people look at the 800 pound log that was part of the National Road, and their statements of how tough it must have been to be a pioneer. It is the far-away look in people's eyes as they try to visualize what our county looked like when the first settlers came. It is the look of pride when people discover Effingham County's connection to Abraham Lincoln. It is the stricken look on faces as they learn how so many died from Spanish Influenza in our county, state, and country during WWI. It is the look of love as people tell of their veteran's service in WWI. It is the tears that roll down my own face as I print out a picture that shows two Effingham County sailors from WWII standing at the grave of their friend on the island of Okinawa so far from home.
It is all this and so much more that makes our museum special. It is our history. It is our past, our present, and our future. Give us a chance to share these stories with you. Come in and share the stories of your family with us. Let us add your pictures, stories, and artifacts so that your story will become a part of the patchwork quilt of memories that is being woven by the people of Effingham County. Come and be a part of what is happening at the Courthouse Museum. I think you will like what you see. Yes, I really think you will like what you see.
Article by Jane Loy Ries in the Effingham Daily News, July 24, 2013
100 E. Jefferson Ave.,
Effingham, IL 62401
(January-February)- By appointment only and some special evening hours, TBA
Phone: 217.540.8655 to leave a message
(March through December)
Tuesday and Saturday 10 a.m-2 p.m.
6:00-7:00 p.m. on night of lecture series, November-March
Other times by appointment: Call (217)540-8655 to leave a message
Board Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom. For information contact Delaine Donaldson, President at: email@example.com.
General Membership Meetings are held once a month of the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom.
Our MISSION is to establish, maintain, and operate a museum for the general public, and to collect, research, care for, and interpret materials and artifacts of cultural
and historical interest to the residents of, and visitors to, Effingham County, Illinois.
Our VISION is that the 1872 Effingham County Courthouse remains as an architectural gem that instills a sense of community pride and provides a venue to
educate and showcase the history, art, and transportation of Effingham County.
On November 11, 2012, the Museum opened its doors to the public. Currently there are exhibits only on the first floor, but work is taking place on the second floor to create more exhibit space and more room for lectures and other types of public gatherings.
Much work needs to be done. Can we count on your help?
© 2015 Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association, Inc.