Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum

Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum Open Tuesday through Friday from 9am until 4pm. Private Group Tours By Appointment. Free Admission. Rentals Available.
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As the oldest museum in Winnebago County, Veterans Memorial Hall is an exquisite space for special events and gatherings.

Mission: The mission of Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum is to preserve, display, and share the artifacts of Rockford and Winnebago County veterans who served in branches of the military. Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum does this through outreach, exhibits, lectures, and other educational opportunities to visitors. We strive to be a contributing member of the redevelopment of downtown Rockford, Illinois.

NWVU Rockford SheVet Chapter
05/27/2020

NWVU Rockford SheVet Chapter

photo credit Shannon Criss-Amos

Memorial Day 2020 Photos! We had some challenges this year but we pulled it off! Not even a broken water main that day c...
05/27/2020

Memorial Day 2020 Photos! We had some challenges this year but we pulled it off! Not even a broken water main that day could stop us!

I know we have lots of Civil War aficionados that might be interested in following this project.
05/27/2020
Cast & Crew Needed for Movie About General John A. Logan

I know we have lots of Civil War aficionados that might be interested in following this project.

An Iowa Writer and Producer is in the planning stages of making a movie about General John A. Logan, with shooting scheduled to begin in the Summer of 2021

Buck
05/21/2020

Buck

Honoring our deceased veterans. 🇺🇸

Phil Skaggs
05/20/2020

Phil Skaggs

So, we have a once-in-a-century viral pandemic, a once-in-a-few-generations economic collapse, a once-a-few-generations dam collapse (about to be two dams, but don't panic, the dams are outside Midland ... unless you're in Sanford-Midland, in which case, panic and run for the hills), something called murder hornets, and now we have had to evacuate the recycling plant because SOMEONE TRIED TO RECYCLE A CIVIL WAR CANNONBALL. Yep, you heard that last part right.

From the Kent County Department of Public Works: "This afternoon, a Civil War-era cannonball was found on the recycling process line. The Grand Rapids police and fire departments were contacted and dispatched to the Recycle Center. Officers determined that the cannonball was live ordnance (gunpowder and likely percussion cap style detonator) and evacuated the premises. The Michigan State Police bomb squad was dispatched and the ordinance was safely removed."

Thanks to all the public safety officers who helped and to the brave men and women at the ReimagineTrash - Kent County MI Dept. Public Works Recycling & Education Center.

And a reminder, everyone, please follow the instructions on how to recycle. Just to be clear: DO NOT RECYCLE CANNONBALLS FROM ANY WAR!
💣💣💣💥♻️🚫
— Your County Commissioner

A little extra touch of color for visitors when we reopen.
05/18/2020

A little extra touch of color for visitors when we reopen.

****Cancellation of the 2020 Memorial Day Parade, Memorial Day Ceremony and Sinking of the Ship Ceremony ****Topic: 2020...
05/06/2020

****Cancellation of the 2020 Memorial Day Parade, Memorial Day Ceremony and Sinking of the Ship Ceremony ****
Topic: 2020 Memorial Day Events, Downtown Rockford IL
Contact: Museum Director Scott Lewandowski | (815) 969-1999 | [email protected].
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Who: Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum & Winnebago County Veterans Association
Where: Downtown Rockford Illinois
When: Memorial Day Monday, May 25, 2020
What: Cancellation of the 2020 Memorial Day Parade, Memorial Day Ceremony and Sinking of the Ship Ceremony
Due to the ongoing concerns for public safety and Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order to shelter in place all previously scheduled public events to honor our fallen Veterans this Memorial Day Monday May 25th 2020 are hereby canceled. Although the events are canceled we would like to ask the public to keep the spirit of Memoria Day alive by decorating a Veterans grave on this day and to honor the sacrifices made by our Military Veterans. 2020 marks the 152nd anniversary of Grand Army of the Republic, Commander General John Logan’s General Order # 11 which created “Decoration Day”, which was designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country. (See Below)
General Order # 11
The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.
We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, "of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion." What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.
If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.
Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from his honor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation's gratitude, the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan.
It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.
By order of JOHN A. LOGAN, Commander-in-Chief- G.A.R.

04/29/2020
Pin-Ups For Vets

And now for something a little more upbeat.

Female Veterans Turned Pin-Ups Continue Their Service with Pin-Ups For Vets

04/08/2020

While we can not be there in person to show you around the museum, I can give you sneak peak at a new project. When all of this pandemic has receded and life starts to return to the new normal there will be treasures pulled from our collection storage for you to see.
Did you know that there are entire books written on the history of Military Canteens? That you can tell when a fork was used by our soldiers by the shape of the handle? In the field in Vietnam soldiers used paper-plates?

03/23/2020

COVID -19 Update
With our Visitors and Staff’s safety in mind we are close to the public until April 30th 2020 or once the all clear has been given. This includes all rentals and monthly meetings meeting.

03/14/2020
RAAC Rockford Area Arts Council

We will be contacting our registered artists beginning Monday.

March 13, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

In accordance with Winnebago County Health Department’s recommendation that businesses, institutions, and organizations suspend nonessential public gatherings of 25 people or more, as a way to reduce and prevent community transmission of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Rockford Area Arts Council is cancelling our biannual Spring ArtScene gallery walk, April 17 and 18, 2020.

• ArtScene galleries, restaurants, and venue hosts will have their checks voided and credit card payments and checks/cash payments will be reimbursed.
• ArtScene galleries, restaurants, and venue hosts are responsible for communicating to their hosted-artists regarding this cancellation.

It is always tough to make decisions that affect so many adversely, however, the Rockford Area Arts Council is putting the health and well-being of our community first.

The Arts Council will continue to be available, at 713 E. State Street, 9-5, 815-963-6765.

We encourage our members and the community at large to call or email first, before stopping in, to avoid unnecessary exposure to one another.

Mary McNamara Bernsten
Executive Director
Rockford Area Arts Council

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29
03/04/2020

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29

The Veterans Assistance Commission of Winnebago County needs your help. Please volunteer to drive and share this with your friends and coworkers.

03/03/2020
Wisconsin Historical Society
03/03/2020

Wisconsin Historical Society

75 years ago in March 1945, Dickey Chapelle took this photograph of three women getting water at a reservoir in the 148th General Hospital compound at Saipan.

World War II was the beginning of Chapelle’s work as a war correspondent.

Chapelle was born in Shorewood in 1919. Dickey was one of the first women foreign correspondents to cover World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War military struggles. Her work appeared in Reader's Digest, "National Geographic,” “Look,” and The Saturday Evening Post. On the morning of Nov. 4, 1965,

Chapelle was killed by a land mine while on patrol with a platoon.

Learn more about her life: https://wihist.org/2wbeR4g

Learn even more about her life by reading the Wisconsin Historical Society Press book, “Dickey Chapelle Under Fire: Photographs by the First American Female War Correspondent Killed in Action” by John Garofolo.

Find this book and other Society Press books at your favorite book retailer: https://wihist.org/394JzL9

📸: WHI Images 115199 and 64787
#womenshistorymonth

Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Mark Finnegan of VetsRoll
02/27/2020
Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Mark Finnegan of VetsRoll

Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Mark Finnegan of VetsRoll

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- This spring, military veterans from across the country will be heading out on the trip of a lifetime. It’s called VetsRoll, and Mark Finnegan is the man who makes it happen. It

Retrace the Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in National Parks
02/20/2020
Retrace the Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in National Parks

Retrace the Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in National Parks

Buffalo Soldiers served bravely in the United States military, often as park rangers in the West. These remarkable African-American troops are responsible for the early preservation of parks including Yosemite and Sequoia national parks.

The Spring Art Scene has been canceled by the Rockford Area Arts Council.Save the Date The Art of Healing, Veteran Showc...
02/18/2020

The Spring Art Scene has been canceled by the Rockford Area Arts Council.

Save the Date
The Art of Healing, Veteran Showcase 2020

On Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18 of 2020 we will again participate in the Rockford Area Arts Council Spring ArtScene 2020. The Art of Healing, Veteran Showcase is a veteran supported, veteran centered exhibit of art. Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum opens its doors for an exhibit of works in the unique environment only the Museum can provide. For The Art of Healing, Veteran Showcase 2020, we will again fill Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum with art of all types, 2D and 3D, paint, sculpture, and photography.
Help us by spreading the word about this wonderful event and join us in paying tribute to our veterans.

Limited exhibit space is available in the Grand Hall, Library, and Lower Level Exhibit Hall if you are a veteran interest in exhibiting.

“The Art of Healing, Veteran Showcase” RAAC Spring ArtScene 2019
Friday, April 17th from 5-9 PM Saturday April 18th form 5-9 PM
For information phone: 815-969-1999 E-mail: [email protected]

A little history to read before tomorrows awesome event featuring our very own African American Female Veterans.
02/15/2020

A little history to read before tomorrows awesome event featuring our very own African American Female Veterans.

On this day 75 years ago, the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion of the Women's Army Corps, the only all-African American, all-female unit sent overseas to work in WWII, arrived in my home city of Birmingham. The enlisted women were quartered in the old King Edward's School, and the officers were quartered in two houses nearby. They can be seen in the first photograph lined up outside.

Their job was to alleviate the huge back log of post for the U.S. military (also Government personnel and the Red Cross) serving in the European Theatre. Those serving noticed that they weren’t getting mail from home, and Army officials reported that the lack of mail delivery was damaging morale. The 6888th motto was, “No mail, low morale”. The Allied troops were on the move in the ETO, and it became increasingly difficult for the military to maintain basic services. Priority was given to food, equipment, and supplies and so the mail was set aside.

Formed in November 1944 of 824 enlisted African American women, including 31 officers, they worked under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams, the Second World War's highest ranking African American woman. Most of the 6888th worked as postal clerks, but others were cooks, mechanics and held other support positions, so that 6888th was a self-sufficient unit. The women quickly organised a system with three separate eight-hour shifts, so work continued around the clock, seven days a week. This unique unit of women hand processed an average of 65,000 pieces of mail per shift!

With seven million Americans serving in Europe at the time, many sharing common names and with ever-changing locations as the war moved on, it was an enormous task to identify where the post needed to go. One general predicted that the backlog in Birmingham would take six months to process. They achieved unprecedented success and cleared the backlog in half that time and were ready for their next assignment, sailing to France on 9 June 1945, shortly after V-E Day. They worked in Rouen and then Paris. Their work brought comfort to countless American soldiers who awaited messages from home.

In 2018 I was fortune enough to work on a local BBC news piece, a link to the clip on YouTube is below. I was also able to help launch the UK Premiere of a film about these incredible women (details on flyer pictured).

I am glad that the women felt welcomed by the people of Birmingham and we will continue to tell their story.

#6888th #WAC #WWII #CentralPostalDirectoryBattalion

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6XrGKLwjkmI&feature=youtu.be

Women In Military Service For America Memorial
02/03/2020

Women In Military Service For America Memorial

You may have heard of the Buffalo Soldiers, but have you heard of Cathay Williams?

She was the first Black woman to enlist in the U.S. Army and the only known woman to serve in the historic, all-Black regiment called the Buffalo Soldiers. When Williams enlisted in 1866, women were prohibited from serving in the military. Not to be deterred, Williams disguised herself as a man and enlisted under the false name of William Cathay. Like many servicewomen, she quietly defied norms to find a better life, overcoming continuous obstacles.

In celebration of Black History Month, please share Cathay Williams’ remarkable story of service and dedication!

Women At War
01/30/2020

Women At War

Betty Hoefler from Buffalo, NY, a member of the first contingent of WACs to arrive in Italy 1943 wearing her M1 helmet, overcoat, utility bag and webbing with canteen. #WAC #WWII #womenatwar

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29
01/28/2020

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29

I'm sending a big shout out to Tamara Gaumond for including Veterans Memorial Hal in her book "100 Things to do in Rockf...
01/24/2020

I'm sending a big shout out to Tamara Gaumond for including Veterans Memorial Hal in her book "100 Things to do in Rockford before you die" !

01/14/2020

Research, research, and more research...

• Prior to 1942 women in the military could only be part of all female Nurse Corps
• 1942 - An Act to Establish the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, Public Law (PL) 77- 554
o The first WAAC training schools open.
o The Women's Reserve of the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve program (officially nicknamed the "SPARs")
o The Marine Corps Women's Reserve (MCWR) was authorized by the U.S Congress
• 1943 - An Act to Establish the Women's Army Corps in the Army of the United States Public Law 78- 110
o WAAC is officially changed to the WAC.
o WAC Special Troops are deployed overseas for duty in Italy.
o Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) established.
• 1945 - The first five African-American women entered the Women's Reserve of the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve (SPARs)
• 1946 - Army Chief of Staff General Dwight D. Eisenhower directs legislation to include WACs in the Regular Army and the Organized Reserve Corps.
o Congress provides re-employment rights for WAAC and WAC.
• 1947 - The Women's Reserve of the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve, SPARs was inactivated in July, reactivated November 1949
• 1948 - Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 becomes Public Law 80-625
o Woman Enlisted in Regular Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and the recently formed Air Force.
o WACs with prior service are enlisted in the Regular Army.

Address

211 N Main St
Rockford, IL
61101

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 16:00
Thursday 09:00 - 16:00
Friday 09:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(815) 969-1999

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Our Story

This Memorial Hall, one of the first of it's kind in the state of Illinois to be dedicated to our veterans of all wars, was completed in the year 1903. The doors opened with the dedication ceremonies on June third of that year by our twenty - sixth president Theodore Roosevelt with these words: "No more fitting memorial could be erected to the men who fought, than a hall such as this..... a hall beautiful because of the uses to which it is consecrated" - Teddy Roosevelt 1903 Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum is a living memorial to Veterans from all wars. It will serve as a constant reminder to the sacrifices given by brave men and women from Winnebago County and a way for generations to remember and learn about their lives.


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Comments

What an amazing piece of history! A photogenic place!
** Next Friday [email protected]!! ** Ernie Hendrickson Album Release Show Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum Friday September 27th 2019 Doors: 7pm Pre-Sale Tickets: $12 Day of: $15 Opening Act: Emily Hurd Make sure to join us Friday September 27th 2019 for the Highly Anticipated Return of Rockford's Own, Ernie Hendrickson. Ernie is releasing his Full Length 2nd Album, Roll On and wants you guys to join in the excitement for the night. This show at the Veteran's Memorial Hall will Feature Opening Act Emily Hurd and then Ernie Hendrickson closing out the night with the 8 Piece Full Studio Band featured on the Album. Shows at the Veteran's Memorial Hall always promise an intimate experience with you and the Bands. This is night NOT to be missed! Pre - Sale Tickets can be located at Culture Shock - Clothing and Records, The Norwegian and also Online at www.erniehendrickson.com https://www.facebook.com/events/393234768060711/
11 Days Away !!!! Ernie Hendrickson Album Release Show Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum Friday September 27th 2019 Doors: 7pm Pre-Sale Tickets: $12 Day of: $15 Opening Act: Emily Hurd Make sure to join us Friday September 27th 2019 for the Highly Anticipated Return of Rockford's Own, Ernie Hendrickson. Ernie is releasing his Full Length 2nd Album, Roll On and wants you guys to join in the excitement for the night. This show at the Veteran's Memorial Hall will Feature Opening Act Emily Hurd and then Ernie Hendrickson closing out the night with the 8 Piece Full Studio Band featured on the Album. Shows at the Veteran's Memorial Hall always promise an intimate experience with you and the Bands. This is night NOT to be missed! Pre - Sale Tickets can be located at Culture Shock - Clothing and Records, The Norwegian Restaurant and also Online at www.erniehendrickson.com https://www.facebook.com/events/393234768060711/
** Save the Date [email protected]!! ** Ernie Hendrickson Album Release Show !!!! Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum Friday September 27th 2019 Doors: 7pm Pre-Sale Tickets: $12 Day of: $15 Opening Act: Emily Hurd Make sure to join us Friday September 27th 2019 for the Highly Anticipated Return of Rockford's Own, Ernie Hendrickson. Ernie is releasing his Full Length 2nd Album, " Roll On " and wants you guys to join in the excitement for the night. This show at the Veteran's Memorial Hall will Feature Opening Act Emily Hurd and then Ernie Hendrickson closing out the night with the 8 Piece Full Studio Band featured on the Album. Shows at the Veteran's Memorial Hall always promise an intimate experience with you and the Artist. This is a night NOT to be missed! Pre - Sale Tickets can be located at Culture Shock - Clothing and Records, The Norwegian Restaurant and also Online at www.erniehendrickson.com https://www.facebook.com/events/393234768060711/
** Save the Date [email protected]!! ** Ernie Hendrickson Album Release Show !!!! Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum Friday September 27th 2019 Doors: 7pm Pre-Sale Tickets: $12 Day of: $15 Opening Act: Emily Hurd Make sure to join us Friday September 27th 2019 for the Highly Anticipated Return of Rockford's Own, Ernie Hendrickson. Ernie is releasing his Full Length 2nd Album, " Roll On " and wants you guys to join in the excitement for the night. This show at the Veteran's Memorial Hall will Feature Opening Act Emily Hurd and then Ernie Hendrickson closing out the night with the 8 Piece Full Studio Band featured on the Album. Shows at the Veteran's Memorial Hall always promise an intimate experience with you and the Artist. This is a night NOT to be missed! Pre - Sale Tickets can be located at Culture Shock - Clothing and Records, The Norwegian Restaurant and also Online at www.erniehendrickson.com https://www.facebook.com/events/393234768060711/ Poster Art credited to Local Artist: Joe Tallman
Scott - Great to talk with you this morning. I appreciate your efforts to inform your teachers about this opportunity to join Skype in the Classroom and set up some interviews with our veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Cold War, Iraq and Afghanistan. I came across a couple of videos of Major General John Borling and have bought the book, Taps on the Walls. So impressive. We would like to invite him to Pontiac to see our museum and possibly to speak at Pontiac Township High School. - David Estes Education Director Livingston County War Museum Dal Estes Education Center Pontiac IL
Like the lights, and a great place of History
I like the lights!
I certianly have a favorite, do you?