From the President

Vol. XXII No. 3 - WINTER 2011

By: Bob Remer

You are probably reading this as 2012 takes hold. We want to wish you and your family all the best for a great New Year. We also thank all our members, volunteers, and supporters for their contributions to support your local museum this past year. The holidays give pause to consider some highlights since the last issue and to give you a hint of what’s to come in the next year.

We are excited about our current and upcoming exhibits. You’ll read more about the delightful grocery store exhibit and LeRoy Blommaert’s wonderful research article in this issue. We should all thank Kathy Gemperle for another superb job as curator and her enthusiastic team that included Tom Murphy (whose aesthetic and mechanical talents brought a valuable Van Berkel antique meat slicer back to life), LeRoy Blommaert (who did some extraordinary and interesting research on Edgewater’s grocery traditions), Tiffany Middleton (whose research on technology trends in food shopping gave us a broader and fascinating context in which to consider Edgewater trends), and Dorothy Nygren, Marty Stewart, Morry Matson and all those who devoted many hours or brought in antique boxes and food tins for the exhibit. The exhibit will run through March 24. In keeping with the theme of food and community’s, we are accepting food donations for Edgewater’s Care For Real Pantry. You will find a large bushel basket ready to accept your non perishables.

We are enthusiastic about the Crime and Community exhibit which follows in April. We are grateful to Morry Matson, who has agreed to take charge of this exhibit which promises to be most interesting and instructive. While Edgewater has had its share of infamous criminals and crimes, it will be also instructive to explore the role of community in response to crimes. Edgewater has a long and effective history of community and grassroots activism that has confronted safety and crime issues for decades.

Later in the summer, Morry will again dazzle us with a very special exhibit Greetings from Edgewater that will stroll nostalgic through Edgewater’s era as a summer destination, when the Edgewater Beach Hotel was not our only excursion highlight, tracked by the wonderful visuals of a post card history.

Our annual Fall Home Tour will revisit the northwest corner of Edgewater on Sunday, September 16, 2012, when we explore the charm of the area represented by the Neighbors of Edgewater West (west of Clark and North of Elmdale), including a home recently added to the National Register of Historic Places.

In October we plan to again have the Plein Air artists show their talents, painting Edgewater and Chicago scenes, during the Andersonville Arts Weekend. October will also be a very special month, as it will be the tenth anniversary of the opening of our museum. We will be planning activities, displays, and a special event to commemorate the anniversary. Speaking of anniversaries, St. Gertrude’s celebrates 100 years in 2012 and we will bring you more in coming issues. And don’t forget that 2013 will be the 25th Anniversary of the founding of EHS and the centennial for Senn High School – so stay tuned.

Modernity is catching up with our museum. We have caught the technology bug. We are pleased to report that we are instituting a number of improvements to make your membership and museum visit more enjoyable. We have added an orientation alcove in the front of the museum to present a brief orientation video; in the main gallery we upgraded our old TV with a flat screen where we can show the DVDs of Edgewater and the Edgewater Beach Hotel, and we have a work station where visitors can do research on our website, or look at a video orientation about the current exhibit. Dorothy Nygren brought her exacting and fervent scripting skills to prepare these presentations. Dorothy has also enlisted a laptop to help us visually record oral history interviews in the museum. We also still have WiFi available in the museum. We must thank Dorothy, Tiffany Middleton, Barb Strauss, Marty Stewart, Larry Rosen and Tom Murphy, who have worked so hard to upgrade our AV and other technology.

You may also have noticed the new look to your emails. We recently went to a new email provider and we hope the look and feel will be ever more enticing and useful. Thanks go out to the project team of Betty Mayian, Barb Strauss, and Tiffany Middleton. You also may have noticed our Facebook page, which is now administered by Megan Hudgins – so please “Friend Us”! Thanks also to Megan for instituting a periodic “Did You Know” item you don’t want to miss.

While we continue to explore funding options for our ambitious Edgewater History Project (EHP), we nevertheless will move ahead on our ambition to develop archives and collections relationships with over 80 civic organizations, religious institutions, and schools in Edgewater. This past year, for example, we gratefully accepted the archives of the Edgewater Community Council, whose 50 plus years of services can be preserved. We also have a formal relationship with West Andersonville Neighbors Together (WANT) to receive and digitize their archives. We continue with our ties to our local Chambers of Commerce and others to document and collect their histories.

While we have collected archived material on all of Edgewater’s block clubs, we will accelerate our effort to approach all 15 Edgewater neighborhoods to formalize those relationships and make presentations. If your organization or block club would like us to make a presentation on EHP, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we are more than glad to come out to meet with you.

All of the work we do to preserve, protect, display, and disseminate our local history would not be possible without the unselfish contributions of our volunteers and your board of directors. If you are not already a volunteer, please consider giving of your time, even if only a few hours now and then. We have a lot of volunteer opportunities, from being a museum docent (at least 3-4 hours per month) to helping out on the house tours, to research, to helping put up exhibits, or yes, even the more prosaic tasks like stuffing envelopes. All those functions are terribly important and make your historical society what it is. We would love to have you.

A huge volunteer effort is put in by your board of directors, all of whom actively volunteer in more than just board meetings. This coming March, your general membership meeting will vote for and install an incoming class of new board members; we are actively looking for people who would like to serve. If you have an interest in local history, or perhaps like to organize events or fundraiser, or would like to bring your skills and backgrounds to our aid, please let us know. Reggie Griffin and Al Borenstine are co-chairing our Board Development Committee and they would be pleased to talk with you about board duties and how you could fit in.

You will soon be receiving your membership renewal letters, and I urge you to continue your support, which will entitle you to continue to receive this award winning Scrapbook. There will be a slight increase of five dollars in the family and individual memberships, but we have added some important membership benefits: for example only EHS members will be eligible to purchase house histories; you will also be invited to member previews to upcoming exhibits, and more. But most important your membership contributes about one third of the cost of keep the museum building open and free.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to serving you again this coming year.