Ethnic Heritage Museum

Ethnic Heritage Museum Open Sundays and other days prearranged tours by calling 815-962-7402
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Join us as local history lives on in a quaint home built in 1850's. Known today as The Ethnic Heritage Museum it is here that you will find six fascinating galleries devoted to the primary immigrant groups that settled in southwest Rockford, IL. African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish. Through displays of early Rockford area maps, everyday artifacts, vintage clothing and more, visitors of all ages can learn about Old World customs and traditions. Historical photographs tell the stories of the earliest settlers who established factories near the old "waterpower district" and built their homes nearby. By comparing early with current lifestyles, the museum strives to bridge the gap between yesterday and today ... encouraging visitors to relive the past with a clear focus on Rockford's bright future. Tours may be scheduled during the week. If you would like more information on membership or request a private tour please call us at (815) 962-7402!

Volunteers (aka our superhero’s that give of their time and talents)...  Meet Kay, former Director & Docent (tour guide)...
01/22/2020

Volunteers (aka our superhero’s that give of their time and talents)... Meet Kay, former Director & Docent (tour guide), for the Graham-Ginestra House. Volunteers like herself help to keep our rich Rockford history alive.

Standing in front of one of the unique features of the house, a stain glass widow, which depicts a winter scene similar to a Currier & Ives painted lithograph. Currier & Ives were among the most popular wall hangings in 19th-century America which typically depict the history and customs of the American people. They also provided a valuable historical record of a time when news photography was still unknown.

Come and learn more about Rockford’s historic home, built in 1857, along with all the Ethnic Heritage Museum’s galleries. Open every Sunday beginning February, 9th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

Please DM us if you are interested in joining our amazing volunteer team.

Ethnic Heritage Museum
01/17/2020

Ethnic Heritage Museum

Freeman Graham, builder & first resident of the Graham-Ginestra House, owned and operated the first legal distillery in Rockford, IL. The Graham Bros. Distillery was one of the few distillers in the country allowed to continue to distill to make “medicinal” alcohol. Come tour the home and learn more about the two families that occupied this historic home.
Open every Sunday, 2:00-4:00, starting February 9th.

Freeman Graham, builder & first resident of the Graham-Ginestra House, owned and operated the first legal distillery in ...
01/15/2020

Freeman Graham, builder & first resident of the Graham-Ginestra House, owned and operated the first legal distillery in Rockford, IL. The Graham Bros. Distillery was one of the few distillers in the country allowed to continue to distill to make “medicinal” alcohol. Come tour the home and learn more about the two families that occupied this historic home.
Open every Sunday, 2:00-4:00, starting February 9th.

12/26/2019
12/15/2019

The Rockford Readers performing for the Black Nativity. Celebrating Kwanzaa and Christmas!

12/08/2019
12/08/2019
Next weekend is our Day in the Gardens event! We need your help with this fall cleanup project. See you there!
10/05/2019
🌻🌺Volunteer Event! 🌺🌻

Next weekend is our Day in the Gardens event! We need your help with this fall cleanup project. See you there!

As you know, the museum is maintained 100% by volunteers. Every year, volunteers spend hundreds of hours ensuring the Ethnic Heritage Museum and Graham-Ginestra House are well cared for and preserved, so the entire community can enjoy these treasures. We need your help! Please join us for our annual...

Thanks to Uncrated for stopping by the Culture Crawl in collaboration with Midway Village!
09/27/2019
Uncrated

Thanks to Uncrated for stopping by the Culture Crawl in collaboration with Midway Village!

Happy Autumn, everybody! We chopped our eventful Culture Crawl into separate videos for each location. Check out the playlist below, and stay tuned because more new adventures are on the way!

Thank you to the staff and volunteers of Midway Village Museum, Anderson Japanese Gardens, Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens - Rockford Park District, Discovery Center Museum, Rockford Art Museum, Burpee Museum of Natural History, Ethnic Heritage Museum, and Highland Community College Mass Communication Department for making this event possible!

Great interview by Samantha Hochmann, Executive Director of Tinker Swiss Cottage. We love working with her and Tinker!!
09/17/2019
Treasure Trove of Local History

Great interview by Samantha Hochmann, Executive Director of Tinker Swiss Cottage. We love working with her and Tinker!!

Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford. The complex contains the historic house museum, barn, & carriage house & boasts a collection of over 10,000 objects. There are also paranormal tours & barn rentals.

Ethnic Heritage Museum
08/26/2019

Ethnic Heritage Museum

Meet our Board President, Jocelyn Kit Hare. She was recently featured in the RRStar’s NEXTED UP series! #GoRockford #Gra...
07/01/2019
Dive into business community revealed life's path

Meet our Board President, Jocelyn Kit Hare. She was recently featured in the RRStar’s NEXTED UP series! #GoRockford #GrahamGinestra

This article is part of Next Up, a special section published June 30 about the future leaders of the Rock River Valley

The Graham Bros Distillery opened in 1873. They used local heritage grains to make their recipes. We can’t wait to try t...
06/19/2019

The Graham Bros Distillery opened in 1873. They used local heritage grains to make their recipes. We can’t wait to try this inspired Heritage Bourbon! Take a tour through our Graham-Ginestra House to learn more about the original distillery and the Graham family! #GrantViewDistillery #GoRockford #SourMash #buylocal #HeritageMuseumPark

This week we will begin producing a Heritage Bourbon...
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inspired by The Graham Bros. Distillery (RD#2, 1st District of Winnebago County, IL) which was the first sour mash producer in Illinois right here in Rockford over 100 years ago!!!
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A little fun fact... these grains were grown in the United States before World War II and now thanks to our regenerative local farmer, who’s crops are only a few miles from us, are available again.
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We are proud to be producing the Spirit of Rockford!!!!
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#spiritofrockford #regenerativeagriculture #regenerativefarming #sustainable #spirits #buylocal #grantviewdistillery @beargrains @gustafsonfarms #Graham-GinestraHouse #ethnicheritagemuseum #gorockford #rockfordhistory #farmlife #bourbon #whiskey #rye #heritagegrains #rockfordproud #craftspirits @craftspiritsus #illinoiscraftdistillers @womenofthevineandspirits

We hope you can join us Sunday, June 23 for this unique entertaining experience.
06/17/2019

We hope you can join us Sunday, June 23 for this unique entertaining experience.

05/03/2019
Rockford Buzz

We are proud to be able to collaborate with Midway Village for their Culture Crawl in July! Great segment by Rockford Buzz! #GoRockford #MidwayVillage #RockfordBuzz #GrahamGinestraHouse

There's a really exciting event coming to Rockford this summer. With all of the history we have here, the museums have joined forces to bring you the Rockford Culture Crawl! Family activities during the day and 21+ activities at night in the Victorian Village at Midway Village Museum. Check out the details below. This is gonna be a good one!

Stop by our Volunteer Open House to learn about the many ways we could use your help and talent!
04/28/2019

Stop by our Volunteer Open House to learn about the many ways we could use your help and talent!

04/28/2019

Heritage Museum Park Volunteer Open House!

We have amazing volunteers! Meet Pat & John Jepsen whom we chose to honor and recognize at this year’s AFP “Honor Your O...
04/24/2019

We have amazing volunteers! Meet Pat & John Jepsen whom we chose to honor and recognize at this year’s AFP “Honor Your Own” event. Through gardening, maintenance, special programming and fundraising this dynamic duo is committed to making the Heritage Museum Park a success. Thank you both and all of our dedicated volunteers who go Above & Beyond! #GoRockford #AFP #RockfordProud #HeritageMuseumPark

04/20/2019

We are closed tomorrow. We wish all of you a wonderful Easter with friends and family!

Good luck to all of the participating artists during the Art Battle at the Rockford Art Museum! #GoRockford #RAM
04/02/2019

Good luck to all of the participating artists during the Art Battle at the Rockford Art Museum! #GoRockford #RAM

Just announced! Our first Paint Wars will feature these twelve artists:

Winter 2019 Newsletter!
01/21/2019

Winter 2019 Newsletter!

12/20/2018

Ethnic Heritage Museum and Graham-Ginestra House are CLOSED December 23rd. We will be open on December 30th from 2-4pm before we close for the entire month of January. Happy Holidays to all of you!

Langston Hughes Black Nativity Sun. Dec. 16 from 2-4 p.m. Ethnic Heritage Museum 1129 S. Main St. 61101. A Gospel Song/P...
12/15/2018

Langston Hughes Black Nativity Sun. Dec. 16 from 2-4 p.m. Ethnic Heritage Museum 1129 S. Main St. 61101. A Gospel Song/Play directed by Dorothy Paige-Turner with local talent. Free will donations accepted.

Ethnic Heritage Museum
11/10/2018

Ethnic Heritage Museum

Join us on Sunday, December 9th from 12-4PM!

Join us on Sunday, December 9th from 12-4PM!
11/06/2018

Join us on Sunday, December 9th from 12-4PM!

Rockford is making a comeback! This is a great community to be a part of. Come visit our galleries to learn about the or...
11/01/2018
Rockford is making a comeback — and so is the city's pride

Rockford is making a comeback! This is a great community to be a part of. Come visit our galleries to learn about the original founding ethnic groups. #GoRockford! #HeritageMuseumPark

Long known for manufacturing, Rockford is in the midst of a reboot. A once-sleepy downtown has come alive, and the pride among residents is palpable.

“The Day of the Dead” event on November 2 from 5:30-7:30PM. Please join us!
10/26/2018

“The Day of the Dead” event on November 2 from 5:30-7:30PM. Please join us!

Krakowiaczek Dancers St. Stanislaus Church celebrate Oct. 21 at EHM with guests to honor Polish Gallery Elzbieta & Jozef...
10/22/2018

Krakowiaczek Dancers St. Stanislaus Church celebrate Oct. 21 at EHM with guests to honor Polish Gallery Elzbieta & Jozef Gal Woman and Man of Year

Special Event- Sunday, November 11 from 2-4PM!In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of World War I.
10/21/2018

Special Event- Sunday, November 11 from 2-4PM!
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice of World War I.

Judge Patrick Yarbrough's Sports Memorabilia in the African American Gallery is growing! Judge Yarbrough pictured with a...
10/15/2018

Judge Patrick Yarbrough's Sports Memorabilia in the African American Gallery is growing! Judge Yarbrough pictured with a nicely decorated CUB BIKE! Stop for a visit to see the amazing collection of sports memorabilia still on display in October!

Ethnic Heritage Museum
10/15/2018

Ethnic Heritage Museum

Help the Polish Gallery Honor Woman/Man of Year Elzbieta and Jozef Gal Sun.,Oct. 21 from 2-4 p.m. Program includes Krakowiaczek dancers, award ceremony and tasty treats! Couple honored for their service to church, family and the community. Visitors may tour the 100 year celebration exhibit of WWI Poland Independence. Free event with museum donations gratefully accepted.

Help the Polish Gallery Honor  Woman/Man of Year Elzbieta and Jozef Gal Sun.,Oct. 21 from 2-4 p.m. Program includes Krak...
10/15/2018

Help the Polish Gallery Honor Woman/Man of Year Elzbieta and Jozef Gal Sun.,Oct. 21 from 2-4 p.m. Program includes Krakowiaczek dancers, award ceremony and tasty treats! Couple honored for their service to church, family and the community. Visitors may tour the 100 year celebration exhibit of WWI Poland Independence. Free event with museum donations gratefully accepted.

Italian American Family History Ethnic Heritage Museum Oct. 14
10/06/2018

Italian American Family History Ethnic Heritage Museum Oct. 14

We have some of the best volunteers! We are so grateful for the hard work they provide EVERY day.
10/03/2018

We have some of the best volunteers! We are so grateful for the hard work they provide EVERY day.

Another HUGE thanks to our amazing volunteers! Chuck and John Jepsen have been very busy removing the window panes to scrape, sand and repaint. We are always looking for additional volunteers so feel free to reach out to us! #GrahamGinestra #HeritageMuseumPark #GoRockford

Midtown Festival Pictures
08/27/2018

Midtown Festival Pictures

Sun. July 29th Celebrating Val Mioni Italian Gallery Woman of the Year and her birthday too!
07/31/2018

Sun. July 29th Celebrating Val Mioni Italian Gallery Woman of the Year and her birthday too!

Come visit us August 11 & 12 for the Heritage Museum Park Yard Sale!
07/25/2018

Come visit us August 11 & 12 for the Heritage Museum Park Yard Sale!

Explore Rockford's roots on 815 Day!
07/25/2018

Explore Rockford's roots on 815 Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!Sunday, May 13th- Mothers Free on Mother’s Day.Bring your mom on Mother’s Day to the Ethnic Heritage ...
05/11/2018

Happy Mother’s Day!
Sunday, May 13th- Mothers Free on Mother’s Day.
Bring your mom on Mother’s Day to the Ethnic Heritage Museum 1129 S. Main St. Rockford, 61101
Enjoy a tour of the museum and Graham-Ginestra House from 2-4 p.m. this Sunday!

Pictured  - Depiction of the battle of Cinco de Mayo. On Sunday May 5, 2018, join us for a presentation at the museum fr...
04/23/2018

Pictured - Depiction of the battle of Cinco de Mayo. On Sunday May 5, 2018, join us for a presentation at the museum from 3-5 p.m. Elias Soria will discuss hidden facts about this history. Enjoy a free visit with donations appreciated. Visitors are welcome to tour the Hispanic Gallery following the program.

Join us Sunday, May 6, from 2-4PM as we honor Judge Yarbrough!
04/23/2018

Join us Sunday, May 6, from 2-4PM as we honor Judge Yarbrough!

Open Palm Sun. Mar.25 from 2-4 p.m. Visit Ethnic Heritage Museum, Graham-Ginestra House. Enter EHM Welcome Center 1129 S...
03/23/2018

Open Palm Sun. Mar.25 from 2-4 p.m. Visit Ethnic Heritage Museum, Graham-Ginestra House. Enter EHM Welcome Center 1129 S. Main St. 61101. Closed Easter Sunday.

Ethnic Heritage Museum's cover photo
03/10/2018

Ethnic Heritage Museum's cover photo

03/09/2018

"PALM WEAVING WORKSHOP" at Ethnic Heritage Museum Sun. Mar. 18 from 2-4 p.m. Hands-On Experience and learn weaving of crosses, leaves, ribbons and bells. Many woven palm styles to see! $15 fee for palms and supplies. RSVP to Carol Fiorenza Fokerts to save a spot! [email protected] or 815 243-6757.

03/09/2018

"PALM WEAVING WORKSHOP" at Ethnic Heritage Museum Sun. Mar. 18 from 2-4 p.m. Hands-On Experience and learn weaving of crosses, leaves, ribbons and bells. Many woven palm styles to see! $15 fee for palms and supplies. RSVP to Carol Fiorenza Fokerts to save a spot! [email protected] or 815 243-6757.

Address

1129 S Main St
Rockford, IL
61101

Opening Hours

Sunday 14:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(815) 962-7402

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Our Story

Join us as local history lives on in a quaint home built in 1850's. Known today as The Ethnic Heritage Museum it is here that you will find six fascinating galleries devoted to the primary immigrant groups that settled in southwest Rockford, IL. African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish. Through displays of early Rockford area maps, everyday artifacts, vintage clothing and more, visitors of all ages can learn about Old World customs and traditions. Historical photographs tell the stories of the earliest settlers who established factories near the old "waterpower district" and built their homes nearby. By comparing early with current lifestyles, the museum strives to bridge the gap between yesterday and today ... encouraging visitors to relive the past with a clear focus on Rockford's bright future.

In 2016, the Ethnic Heritage Museum completed the Heritage Museum Park by purchasing the Graham-Ginestra House, built in 1857. The addition of this historical home ties in perfectly with the early settlers of southwest Rockford.

Guided tours are available on Sundays from 2-4pm. Additional tours may be scheduled during the week. If you would like more information on membership, room rentals, or request a private tour please call us at (815) 962-7402!


Comments

Flyleaf Press has published ‘Tracing your Tipperary Ancestors’ by Noreen Higgins-McHugh, a comprehensive guide to research on Tipperary families. It sets out the records available, where to access them (both on-line and in archives) and how they can be used to best effect in your research. It is fully indexed, richly illustrated with examples of records, and contains links to a wide range of on-line resources. Available from the link below.
This painting is beautiful! And Carlos Bueno has beautiful artwork. I wish I would have gotten the name of this painting when I had visited the museum. Can anyone tell me the name?
Still time to vote! Our Saturday Morning Stateline show on @1440WROK was nominated for What Rocks 2017. Voting ends Friday https://t.co/zVu6k9Jy0W https://t.co/SzTwyquI4U https://t.co/KsSuV8oOtK
Will you be posting an event for july 7th's ribbon cutting?