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Museum May: A Walk Through History

May 14, 2019

For the rest of May, we are going to be taking a look at the incredible Museums in our area. As spring blends into summer, new exhibits, events, and opportunities spring up, and the Champaign County Museum Network has been kind enough to share with us some sneak peeks at what to expect from now through August.

We want to start the blog series, which we’re calling Museum May, by talking #OutsideofOrdinary opportunities to walk through history. Two of our favorite area museums, Museum of the Grand Prairie and the Champaign County History Museum, have great programs and opportunities featured in the coming months. 

Museum of the Grand Prairie Exhibit Opening: Frieda Mumm’s Discovering Home and More Summer Fun

The idea of home is transcendent. Though people’s homes may be very different, the basic ideas of place, purpose, family, and familiarity are the same. Museum of the Grand Prairie’s Discovery Room has been one of their most popular museum spaces for a long time, and now it is reborn as a newly renovated exhibit space! Visitors of all ages are welcome to explore the idea of home by discovering the homes of settlers and native peoples through many interactive and educational exhibit sections. At the May 18th exhibit opening event, you will be able to partake in household activities with a historical twist, listen to tales of home from a professional storyteller, see and touch a real live horse and buggy from Marybeth Farms Carriage Services, create arts & crafts centered on the idea of home, and many other hands-on activities! The opening reception will run from 1-4 p.m. Come and go as you please during program hours.

Each Monday this summer, MGP will also be offering programs for families from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. beginning June 10 & ending August 12. Likewise, they will be spending every Friday from July 12-August 2 jumping back in time to give 1890 school lessons to students who attend Summer in the Schoolhouse. There’s a different topic every Friday, so come each week in costume and ready to learn!

Champaign County History Museum: Popcorn Wagon and Walking Tours at Taste of Champaign-Urbana

Some awesome history-themed events will be taking place at West Side Park on Friday, August 16, 5:00 PM-11:00 PM, and Saturday, August 17, 11:00 AM-11:00 PM. The Champaign County History Museum will be bringing out the old popcorn wagon for the Taste of Champaign-Urbana, so be sure to grab a snack. Also, the Museum will be offering historic walking tours of the area: $10.00 for museum members and $15.00 for non-members. Admission to the event as a whole is free, although the organizers suggest a donation of $5.00 to help keep the ball rolling.

History is all over the greater Champaign County area, so take advantage of these events, or pop into the museums for a regular visit! When you have an itch for history or learning, here are the summer hours for Champaign County Museum Network attractions:


Krannert Art Museum:

May through Aug:

Mon–Fri 9am–5pm, Sat 10–4

Orpheum Children’s Science Museum:

Tue-Fri, 10 am to 4 pm, Sat-Sun 1 pm to 5 pm; CLOSED Jul 4, Aug 19-23

Anita Purves Nature Center:

Mon-Fri 8am-5pm, Sat 9am-4pm {CLOSED: May 27, July 4}

Museum of the Grand Prairie:

Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 1-5pm

Homer Lake Interpretive Center:

June-August: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm (CLOSED: May 27, July 4)

Champaign County History Museum:

Wed--Fri 1pm-5pm; Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 1pm-5pm

Spurlock Museum:

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 12:00 pm–5:00 pm

Wed-Fri: 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Saturday: 10:00 am–4:00 pm

Sunday: 12:00 pm–4:00 pm

Staerkel Planetarium:

Show Hours:

Friday–Saturday, 7 pm and 8 pm

(June/July: No shows on Saturdays; Kids’ Matinees on Tuesdays, 1 and 2 pm and Thursdays, 10 and 11 am)


Saturday 1:30- 4:30 pm

Weekdays (Tuesday through Friday): By Appointment

Closed Sundays and Mondays

Champaign County Historical Archives:

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 10am-6pm

Wed: 10am-9pm

Sun: 1-5pm

Sousa Archives & Center for American Music:

Monday – Tuesday: 8:30am – 12pm & 1 – 5pm

Wednesday: 10am – 12pm & 1 – 5pm

Thursday – Friday: 8:30am – 12pm & 1 – 5pm

CLOSED weekends and some Federal Holidays, but can be opened for special tours with advanced request.

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