This online exhibit is based on an exhibit at the Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL, At Home in the Heartland, which opened in November 1992 with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Illinois serves as the heart of America both geographically and culturally. As the hub of a vast transportation network, Illinois is where East and West, North and South meet and mix. Big cities and small towns, quiet farms and heavy industry are all important parts of this microcosmic America. Illinois has witnessed the dynamics of cultural contact from the first French-Indian encounters through waves of immigration--Southern, Yankee, German, Irish, Scandinavian, Black, Italian, Slavic, Mexican, and Asian. Technological revolutions and social and political confrontations that have shaped our nation have been conceived or nurtured in Illinois. The works of many inspired Illinois architects, artists, writers, and musicians have helped to define American culture. In many ways Illinois is truly the heartland of America.
Homes are more than just shelters from the environment. Homes and families fill important emotional needs in our lives. To be "at home" is to be comfortable, relaxed, at ease. We often have little control over what we encounter in the outside world, but in our home we are more free to express our personalities and preferences.
People have chosen a variety of ways to make themselves at home in Illinois, the heartland of America. Their choices were influenced by many factors, such as:
Throughout this exhibit, you and your students will explore some of these factors while meeting people from the past and sharing their experiences in making choices.
The people introduced to you in this exhibit are real people. In some cases, names have been changed to protect people's privacy. Many types of historical records have been used to reconstruct possible moments of decision and the choices made during their lives. These situations have been dramatized for this presentation; however, the people's own words have been used, whenever possible. In some cases, the details of the choices are not completely known, but are based on current historical understanding.
QTVR Views of the Exhibit
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© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96