Ethnic Heritage Museum

Ethnic Heritage Museum Open Sundays and other days prearranged tours by calling 815-962-7402 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.
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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

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

Temporarily closed

Happy Independence Day! #GoRockford #community #4thofJuly We will be closed today for the Holiday. See you next weekend!
07/04/2021

Happy Independence Day! #GoRockford #community #4thofJuly

We will be closed today for the Holiday. See you next weekend!

Happy Independence Day! #GoRockford #community #4thofJuly

We will be closed today for the Holiday. See you next weekend!

06/26/2021

And now for the rest of the story about the Shillelagh and the King….The townland of Stranakelly lies close to the village of Shillelagh. It’s there that our man - let’s call him the Wicklow Boy - made his home. However, sometime in year 1775, this Wicklow Boy was involved in a land dispute with his neighbors. Once when traveling to nearby Hacketstown, he was badly beaten by a combination of sword and Shillelagh - and later brought legal proceeding against his assailants.

The court took his application seriously, and on August 25th, 1775 noted: ‘a band of yeoman and many other evil disposed persons did riotously, and unlawfully make an assault and did beat wound and ill treat him so that is life was greatly despaired of.’

So it seems that the Wicklow Boy would have some justice coming his way. However the whole affair must have left him “all shook up” as sometime over the next 12 months he arrived in the port of New Orleans with his brother, Andrew and made their way to Carolina. A number of years passed and our Wicklow Boy acquired a family of his own and headed to Tennessee where he lived until his death in 1802. His descendants settled in that area over the following decades.

Since about 1955, the surname of this Wicklow Boy has become famous around the world because of one of his descendants. You see, the Wicklow Boy I mention above went by the of William Presley and his gr-gr-gr-gr grandson’s name was Elvis Aaron Presley.

The above “origin story” is based on a court document discovered in Ireland that has put County Wicklow firmly on the map as a point of European departure for the ancestors of Elvis Presley. In 2016, when that original 1775 court document came up for auction in Ireland it had an estimated value of 300 euro - but sold on the day for 2,300 euro. I wonder who would spend this much on a court document without there being a little truth in the story? I prefer to believe the fact that Elvis had some strong Irish roots in County Wicklow. What do you think?

But for now, sure isn’t Elvis one of our own!

This is a story about the County Wicklow which is located south of Dublin. There is a little village there called “Shill...
06/19/2021

This is a story about the County Wicklow which is located south of Dublin. There is a little village there called “Shillelagh”. Maybe you heard of the name of this village used in a different context?

For many years is forbidden to carry arms in Ireland, but through the 1700’s and 1800’s a person faced many dangers when traveling and needed to protect themselves - so they often carried a walking stick called a “Shillelagh” (pronounced “shill-lay-lee) which could be used for defensive purposes.

The Shillelagh stick received its name from the old Oak forests around the village of Shillelagh to the south of County Wicklow. Originally they were made from the oak but over time the blackthorn bush became the preferred wood for the “Shillelagh”.

So now you know how the “Walking Stick” got its name. Next week we will tell you a story of the Irish King of County Wicklow.

This is a story about the County Wicklow which is located south of Dublin. There is a little village there called “Shillelagh”. Maybe you heard of the name of this village used in a different context?

For many years is forbidden to carry arms in Ireland, but through the 1700’s and 1800’s a person faced many dangers when traveling and needed to protect themselves - so they often carried a walking stick called a “Shillelagh” (pronounced “shill-lay-lee) which could be used for defensive purposes.

The Shillelagh stick received its name from the old Oak forests around the village of Shillelagh to the south of County Wicklow. Originally they were made from the oak but over time the blackthorn bush became the preferred wood for the “Shillelagh”.

So now you know how the “Walking Stick” got its name. Next week we will tell you a story of the Irish King of County Wicklow.

06/18/2021
1 block north!
06/15/2021

1 block north!

“La Fiesta Hispana” still remains as one of Rockfords most iconic events!  Heres a fundraiser poster from 1997! What it ...
06/15/2021

“La Fiesta Hispana” still remains as one of Rockfords most iconic events! Heres a fundraiser poster from 1997! What it your favorite Fiesta memory?

“La Fiesta Hispana” still remains as one of Rockfords most iconic events! Heres a fundraiser poster from 1997! What it your favorite Fiesta memory?

We had a beautiful day for a ribbon-cutting and dedication. The Heritage Museum Park dedicated the new gazebo to Barb Be...
06/10/2021

We had a beautiful day for a ribbon-cutting and dedication. The Heritage Museum Park dedicated the new gazebo to Barb Berman and Dick Berman for their decades of service to the museum and community. The gazebo was made possible through a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.
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Many “thank you’s” to Mayor Tom McNamara, Steve Stadelman’s Office, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, MembersAlliance Credit Union, Emerald Wind, and our hardworking volunteers and board members, for supporting and making this day possible! Thank you, Patrick Yarbrough, for taking such wonderful photos. They really captured the day!
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After a year like 2020, we are excited to continue making progress on the gardens and landscape projects. We are even more excited to open our doors to the community and host more programs!
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Join us Saturday @ 10 AM for an Irish Children’s Hour, and Sunday from 1-4 PM for an Open House!
#gorockford #southsideofrockford #history #community #culture #diversity

06/10/2021
Here at the museum our goal is to preserve the rich history of this area! One of the best and most important ways of doi...
06/08/2021

Here at the museum our goal is to preserve the rich history of this area! One of the best and most important ways of doing it is by making sure we pass our knowledge and our traditions to our children! Our neighborhood has been blessed with a mural featuring a resident of our community! Mila Rose is 2nd generation Mexican and her family has been in this neighborhood for almost 50 years! We will be having a ribbon cutting for our gazebo Thursday morning (limited attendance) and an open house Sunday afternoon from 1-4. Come say hi and then check out the 2 murals that are walking distance from the museum!! Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Photo by Jenny Mathews

Here at the museum our goal is to preserve the rich history of this area! One of the best and most important ways of doing it is by making sure we pass our knowledge and our traditions to our children! Our neighborhood has been blessed with a mural featuring a resident of our community! Mila Rose is 2nd generation Mexican and her family has been in this neighborhood for almost 50 years! We will be having a ribbon cutting for our gazebo Thursday morning (limited attendance) and an open house Sunday afternoon from 1-4. Come say hi and then check out the 2 murals that are walking distance from the museum!! Its a beautiful day in the neighborhood! Photo by Jenny Mathews

Los Primos Cardenas Orquesta” a original photo is on display at “BAILE” another veteran pointed it out and said how much...
06/02/2021

Los Primos Cardenas Orquesta” a original photo is on display at “BAILE” another veteran pointed it out and said how much he loved the picture, Raul Cardenas in uniform playing the Sax! A truly wonderful Family photo that really captures the essence of our culture! Gracias Veteranos!

Los Primos Cardenas Orquesta” a original photo is on display at “BAILE” another veteran pointed it out and said how much he loved the picture, Raul Cardenas in uniform playing the Sax! A truly wonderful Family photo that really captures the essence of our culture! Gracias Veteranos!

The museum is open and the food truck is here! It’s a perfect day for “BAILE” our Rockford Mexican Music exhibit. We’re ...
05/29/2021

The museum is open and the food truck is here! It’s a perfect day for “BAILE” our Rockford Mexican Music exhibit. We’re open until 4 pm!

Photos from Rockford Buzz's post
05/29/2021

Photos from Rockford Buzz's post

Amber is the fossilized resins that originate from various tree and other plant sources, was created millions of years a...
05/28/2021

Amber is the fossilized resins that originate from various tree and other plant sources, was created millions of years ago. Trees secreted this resin as a protective devise against insects and parasites. Through climate change and glacial activity, these trees became covered by the sea, preserving the amber. It has been found in various parts of the world, but the main historical source is the land that surrounds the Baltic Sea – principally in present-day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Discovered on these beaches, even today, amber is found in irregular shapes, usually in small sizes in yellow to orange or brown. Colors can range from opaque to transparent. Amber hunting today is still a common past time. You will find hunters on the shores of the Baltic Sea with their nets skimming the shoreline looking for amber that has been washed ashore. Come visit our Museum and take a look at our impressive amber collection in the Lithuanian Gallery, among other items from Lithuania.

Amber is the fossilized resins that originate from various tree and other plant sources, was created millions of years ago. Trees secreted this resin as a protective devise against insects and parasites. Through climate change and glacial activity, these trees became covered by the sea, preserving the amber. It has been found in various parts of the world, but the main historical source is the land that surrounds the Baltic Sea – principally in present-day Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Discovered on these beaches, even today, amber is found in irregular shapes, usually in small sizes in yellow to orange or brown. Colors can range from opaque to transparent. Amber hunting today is still a common past time. You will find hunters on the shores of the Baltic Sea with their nets skimming the shoreline looking for amber that has been washed ashore. Come visit our Museum and take a look at our impressive amber collection in the Lithuanian Gallery, among other items from Lithuania.

Most unusual flower at the Graham-Ginestra house is the Fraxinella. Also called the gas plantbecause during humid weathe...
05/28/2021

Most unusual flower at the Graham-Ginestra house is the Fraxinella. Also called the gas plant
because during humid weather it admits a strong vapor that can be ignited.
These plants have a long history with the house dating back to 1857.

Most unusual flower at the Graham-Ginestra house is the Fraxinella. Also called the gas plant
because during humid weather it admits a strong vapor that can be ignited.
These plants have a long history with the house dating back to 1857.

Nicolas Copernicus 1473-1543 (Polish Astronomer) Did you know that Nicolas Cpernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) was one of the g...
05/27/2021

Nicolas Copernicus 1473-1543 (Polish Astronomer)
Did you know that Nicolas Cpernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) was one of the greatest minds off all time: He was an astronomer, mathematician, economist, physician, lawyer, diplomat, classical scholar, translator, military strategist and Catholic canon.
Nicolaus Copernicus was an astronomer who proposed a heliocentric system that Sun rather than Earth is at the center of the universe; that Earth is a planet which, besides orbiting the Sun annually, also turns once daily on its own axis.

Nicolas Copernicus 1473-1543 (Polish Astronomer)
Did you know that Nicolas Cpernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) was one of the greatest minds off all time: He was an astronomer, mathematician, economist, physician, lawyer, diplomat, classical scholar, translator, military strategist and Catholic canon.
Nicolaus Copernicus was an astronomer who proposed a heliocentric system that Sun rather than Earth is at the center of the universe; that Earth is a planet which, besides orbiting the Sun annually, also turns once daily on its own axis.

Springtime at the Heritage Museum Park! #GoRockford #WeAreOpen #ExcitingNewsComing #SoMuchToDo
05/27/2021
The Rock River Times – May 26, 2021

Springtime at the Heritage Museum Park!
#GoRockford #WeAreOpen #ExcitingNewsComing #SoMuchToDo

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that makes it simple to publish magazines, catalogs, newspapers, books, and more online. Easily share your publications and get them in front of Issuu’s millions of monthly readers. Title: The Rock River Times – May 26, 2021, Author: rockrivertimes7, Name: ...

We at the museum are very exited to have our first in person exhibit open in over a year!! “BAILE” is not a liner histor...
05/25/2021

We at the museum are very exited to have our first in person exhibit open in over a year!! “BAILE” is not a liner history of Mexican music from Rockford but a very close look at the culture and lifestyle! Original posters,pictures and other items will be on display! We cant wait to see you all this Saturday! NO FALTE !

We at the museum are very exited to have our first in person exhibit open in over a year!! “BAILE” is not a liner history of Mexican music from Rockford but a very close look at the culture and lifestyle! Original posters,pictures and other items will be on display! We cant wait to see you all this Saturday! NO FALTE !

05/22/2021
Celebrate Rockford Hispanic Culture at the Ethnic Heritage Museum's Baile Event!

Be sure to join us for “BAILE” a Rockford Mexican Music exhibit. This exhibit features music and handmade concert posters of local musicians from the past 50+ years! The open house is Saturday, May 29th from 12-4pm.
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If you can’t join us on Saturday, don’t worry! The exhibit will remain on display through June.

Do you need help finding your ancestors in Ireland? The site Irish Genealogy Ancestors Research might be able to help yo...
05/22/2021

Do you need help finding your ancestors in Ireland? The site Irish Genealogy Ancestors Research might be able to help you. Check it out on Facebook!

Do you need help finding your ancestors in Ireland? The site Irish Genealogy Ancestors Research might be able to help you. Check it out on Facebook!

Today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity. If it has been a while since you walked through the museums, reserve your...
05/21/2021

Today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity. If it has been a while since you walked through the museums, reserve your tour today! You'll learn about the diverse ethnic groups that have made southwest Rockford a promising and beautiful place.
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This day reminds us to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity.
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"Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual life." - UN.ORG

#culturaldiversity #rockfordil #EthnicHeritageMuseum

Today is the World Day for Cultural Diversity. If it has been a while since you walked through the museums, reserve your tour today! You'll learn about the diverse ethnic groups that have made southwest Rockford a promising and beautiful place.
.
This day reminds us to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity.
.
"Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual life." - UN.ORG

#culturaldiversity #rockfordil #EthnicHeritageMuseum

Such a beautiful birds. You can see them in Poland all summer long.
05/18/2021

Such a beautiful birds. You can see them in Poland all summer long.

Nasze kochane boćki 🇵🇱

The Quebradita is a Mexican dance style. It is usually performed to a Regional Mexican song, specifically a lyrical char...
05/18/2021

The Quebradita is a Mexican dance style. It is usually performed to a Regional Mexican song, specifically a lyrical charanga or instrumental mambo. The dance style was made especially famous by the Regional Mexican subgenre of Technobanda. In the early to mid 90’s it wasn’t uncommon for monthly competitions to take place in the Rockford area! Dancers would come from all over the region to see who was best! Here is a promo that will be on display at “BAILE” from 1994!!

The Quebradita is a Mexican dance style. It is usually performed to a Regional Mexican song, specifically a lyrical charanga or instrumental mambo. The dance style was made especially famous by the Regional Mexican subgenre of Technobanda. In the early to mid 90’s it wasn’t uncommon for monthly competitions to take place in the Rockford area! Dancers would come from all over the region to see who was best! Here is a promo that will be on display at “BAILE” from 1994!!

05/17/2021

"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you."
St. John Paull II

What part of Italy or Sicily are your family members from?? Come and mark the location on our map in the Italian gallery...
05/14/2021

What part of Italy or Sicily are your family members from?? Come and mark the location on our map in the Italian gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum‼️

What part of Italy or Sicily are your family members from?? Come and mark the location on our map in the Italian gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum‼️

Rare promo photos taken of Grupo Galaxia in 1980 at Ros-Mor studios,414 7th st Rockford,IL ! Photos like this and more w...
05/11/2021

Rare promo photos taken of Grupo Galaxia in 1980 at Ros-Mor studios,414 7th st Rockford,IL ! Photos like this and more will be on display at “BAILE” May 29th 12-4 pm.

Rare promo photos taken of Grupo Galaxia in 1980 at Ros-Mor studios,414 7th st Rockford,IL ! Photos like this and more will be on display at “BAILE” May 29th 12-4 pm.

Address

1129 S Main St
Rockford, IL
61101

Opening Hours

1pm - 4pm

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!

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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?