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.

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.

Veterans' event raises more than $200K
01/10/2020
Veterans' event raises more than $200K

Veterans' event raises more than $200K

ORFORDVILLE - The love of one fallen veteran has helped give more than 230 other veterans closure and honor. S

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
12/09/2019

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Today we congratulate our friends at United Way of Rock River Valley as they celebrate 100 years of service and leadership in our community! What a humbling experience, to stand in Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum one century to the day since Rockford’s community leaders came together in the same space to establish this organization. Happy Birthday, United Way RRV! Here’s to another century of living united.

12/09/2019
Winnebago County CASA

Winnebago County CASA

Thank you to Eyewitness News for stopping by today! They interviewd Mike for their 5pm spot regarding our Open House tonight at 5:30 PM at Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum. Stop by today and see how you can change a child's story.

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
12/05/2019

Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

Today we congratulate our friends at United Way of Rock River Valley as they celebrate 100 years of service and leadership in our community! What a humbling experience, to stand in Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum one century to the day since Rockford’s community leaders came together in the same space to establish this organization. Happy Birthday, United Way RRV! Here’s to another century of living united.

Joe Tallman Illustration
11/20/2019

Joe Tallman Illustration

Poster art for Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts show next week at Veterans Memorial Hall in Rockford. There will be limited edition screen prints available at the show, don't sleep on it!

Stroll on State
11/20/2019

Stroll on State

24 DAYS! – Make your way over to Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum during Stroll on State to watch the RVC Starlight Theatre perform a holiday classic, “A Christmas Story.” You can watch their FREE performance at 4:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. We’d also like to give a big thank you to Rock Valley College for opening up their Downtown Campus building to the Stroll on State team!

Illinois Bank & Trust

Stroll on State
11/18/2019

Stroll on State

16 DAYS! – Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum (sponsored by Iron Workers Local 498) has tons of fun for the whole family! Aside from RVC Starlight Theatre's performance of “A Christmas Story,” kids can meet and greet with all their favorite characters from Once Upon a Dream Performances and the "Royal Tea Room"! Princesses, superheroes and magical holiday guests will delight your family and create lasting memories.👸🦸‍♂️ Don't forget to bring your camera for pictures! 📸

Illinois Bank & Trust

Stroll on State
11/14/2019

Stroll on State

16 DAYS! – Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum (sponsored by Iron Workers Local 498) has tons of fun for the whole family! Aside from RVC Starlight Theatre's performance of “A Christmas Story,” kids can meet and greet with all their favorite characters from Once Upon a Dream Performances and the "Royal Tea Room"! Princesses, superheroes and magical holiday guests will delight your family and create lasting memories.👸🦸‍♂️ Don't forget to bring your camera for pictures! 📸

Illinois Bank & Trust

Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum has crafted our very own Challenge coin. Whats that you say?? Come for a visit and lea...
11/12/2019

Veterans Memorial Hall and Museum has crafted our very own Challenge coin. Whats that you say?? Come for a visit and learn the history behind the Challenge Coin.

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29
11/09/2019

DAV - Blackhawk - Life Chapter #29

The first time DAV members ever gave the little, blue 'Forget-Me-Not' to the public was on February 24, 1926. The first Forget-Me-Not Drive was held to raise funds to support DAV services and assistance desperately needed by veterans disabled in World War I.

The DAV wasn't the first veterans' organization to support some of its humanitarian work through the sale of artificial flowers. Actually, the DAV was picking up on the idea that later became an international tradition now shared by veterans' groups in more than 50 countries.

The idea behind the 'Forget-Me-Not' flower grew out of an image carried home from the First World War in the memories of soldiers who had seen spring flowers growing among the graves of comrades and allies killed in the fighting.

The scene, with its promise of new life following the sacrifices of so many, was immortalized in the poem "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Lt. Col. John McCrae, thus capturing the hearts of people yearning for peace.

The flower soon became the accepted symbol for commemorating those who had fallen in war. This small flower says, "Please, don't forget me" for those who had come home as well as for those who had given their lives.

It's an appropriate symbol to remind us continually of the service and sacrifice that make our way of life possible. This symbol of living history is a legacy that continues to serve veterans of all eras today as it did in the aftermath of World War I.

This symbol of remembrance has been the staple of Chapter-level fundraising efforts, which provides assistance to your local heroes. Your support of our mission honors our heroes and makes our grassroots service initiatives possible.

The public responds well to Forget-Me-Not drives because it believes in the DAV and knows our organization has consistently been there to assist all disabled veterans and their families. The American people trust you to spend every penny they donate in our drive wisely for the good of disabled veterans who need the DAV's help.

Thank you for your remembrance and for helping us fulfill our promises to the men and women who served.

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?