Presentations & Workshops

Renfrew Museum and Park is pleased to present its new Historic Site Spotlight series! This bi-monthly program will feature fellow historic sites with similarities to Renfrew. Drawing on shared themes from architecture and preservation, to artifact collections, ethnic and agricultural heritage, community engagement and more, we’ll explore the vast landscape of the exciting things happening in our region and across the country together – virtually. In a time of great difficulty and challenge for local museums, Renfrew is committed to partnering with peer institutions in the field to increase awareness, interest, outreach, and support. Travel with us on this virtual adventure and discover new historic sites that you’re sure to love!

Garfield Farm Museum

Presented by Jerry Johnson & Joseph Coleman

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 7:00pm

TWO WAYS TO ATTEND:

  1. Online Via Zoom (Log-in credentials will be emailed.)

  2. In-Person Watch Party at Renfrew (Limit 30)

$5 per person / Free for Friends of Renfrew Members

Registration will close at 12:00pm on the day of event.

Garfield Farm Museum

Presented by Jerry Johnson & Joseph Coleman

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 7:00pm

TWO WAYS TO ATTEND:

  1. Online Via Zoom (Log-in credentials will be emailed.)

  2. In-Person Watch Party at Renfrew (Limit 30)

$5 per person / Free for Friends of Renfrew Members

Registration will close at 12:00pm on the day of event.

“Go west, young man” and explore Garfield Farm and Tavern Museum in Campton Hills, IL with Renfrew this fall – virtually! Join Executive Director, Jerome “Jerry” Johnson, and Assistant Site Manager, Joseph Coleman, for a fascinating look at Garfield Farm Museum, a 366-acre farmstead with preserved wetlands, savanna and prairie land located 40 miles west of Chicago.

Boasting numerous historic structures dating from the mid-19th through 20th centuries, Garfield Farm tells the story of America’s prairie farm heritage. At the heart of the farmstead are three original 1840’s buildings – an 1842 hay and grain barn, 1849 horse barn, and the 1846 brick teamster inn which interpret the Garfield family’s short-lived tavern enterprise, a center for community activity housing hundreds of teamsters and travelers. Visitors learn how the Garfield’s inn played host to jubilant Independence Day Dances in the second-floor ballroom, served as a meeting place, and a spot to drop in for good company and a mug of hard cider. The coming of the railroads ended the inn-keeping business for the Garfields, yet they continued to till the Kane County soil. In 1977, the last Garfield family owner, Elva Ruth Garfield, founded the museum to share her family’s farming heritage with a new generation becoming increasingly disassociated with the land.

Today, the museum offers a variety of educational, family, and entertainment events. Seminars are held on such topics as prairie, woodlands, and wetlands management; bat and blue bird box construction; and fruit tree grafting. Specials shows bring rare breed livestock, heirloom garden products and seeds, and collections of antique farm tools to the property. Garfield Farm also hosts monthly prairie walks, social events like barn dances, and a candlelight tavern reception at the Inn in December. Take this virtual journey with us to Illinois and discover how Garfield Farm Museum brings together the farming experiences of the past 150 years with an appreciation of the natural environment settlers found when they arrived. An unspoiled beauty that, thanks to the museum’s preservation efforts for over four decades, folks can still enjoy to this day.

About the Speakers

Jerome “Jerry” Johnson is a founding board member and has been Executive Director of Garfield Farm Museum since 1981. He is a lifelong resident of Campton township, Kane County, and a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a BA and an MA in Biology. He says “conservation of our resources for future generations requires protecting our agricultural resources, our environmental blessings, and the historic fabric of our nation: these are inseparable if future generations are to enjoy what we have been given”.

Joseph Coleman is Assistant Site Manager at Garfield Farm Museum. A graduate of North Central College, Joseph enjoys educating the public through living history interpretation. He is Garfield Farm’s resident blacksmith, a historic trade he learned at another museum site, Naper Settlement in Naperville, IL. Joseph provides blacksmithing instruction to museum guests among  his many duties including animal husbandry and management of the museum’s second farmstead, the neighboring Edward Garfield/Mongerson Brothers Farm.

Midcentury Christmas

Presented by Dr. Leslie Goddard, Ph.D.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 7:00pm

TWO WAYS TO ATTEND:

  1. Online Via Zoom (Log-in credentials will be emailed.)

  2. In-Person Watch Party at Renfrew (Limit 30)

$5 per person / Free for Friends of Renfrew Members

Registration will close at 12:00pm on the day of event.

Kick off the holiday season with Renfrew as we remember back to the era of our last private residents, Edgar and Emma Nicodemus!

Christmas in America from the 1940s through the 1960s meant aluminum trees, department store Santas, and cartoon specials on TV. Every kid in the suburbs had to have an Easy-Bake Oven, a G.I. Joe, or a Slinky. The coolest houses had rotating color wheels for their trees.

Historian Leslie Goddard explores this optimistic era in a new illustrated lecture, using photographs, advertisements, greeting cards, and catalogs to explain why this era was such a turning point for how we celebrate the holidays.

About the Speaker

Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., is an award-winning actress and scholar who has been portraying famous women and presenting history lectures for more than ten years. She holds a doctorate from Northwestern University specializing in U.S. history and American Studies as well as master’s degrees in both theater and museum studies. A former museum director, she is the author of two books on Chicago history and currently works full-time as a historical interpreter, author, and public speaker.