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The 1950s Park Forest House Museum, operated by the Park Forest Historical Society has a new location at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 227 Monee Road. The Museum is open Wednesday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The Museum can also be shown by appointment by contacting the Park Forest Historical Society at parkforesthistory.org and filling out the form by clicking on Contact Us, or by calling Jane Nicoll, Museum Director, at 708-481-4252; or Michael Gans, at 708-305-3308. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.
One advantage of the new location is that the museum is now more accessible, including bathrooms down the hall. The Society hopes more senior citizen groups and nursing home visitors can enjoy the Nostalgic trip down Memory Lane that the museum provides. Appointments do need to be set up for such visits. It is also an entertaining learning experience for families to share, in a place where it is ok to open drawers. Bring all the generations to explore this museum together.
Society Seeks VolunteersSpread the word to neighbors, friends and family that the museum is open, and that volunteers are needed! Volunteer yourself! It takes a village to support a museum! The Museum will not remain open much longer without more people visiting and getting involved. The Society is looking for a Volunteer Coordinator or Scheduler and needs many more volunteers trained to show the museum. Anyone interested in being trained to be a volunteer should contact Jane or Mike.
More About The MuseumPark Forest was the first fully-planned post World War II suburb, and is studied around the world! Visit and find out why. A tour guide tells the story of how Park Forest was built, and talks about social and fashion trends in the late 1940s to early 1950s. A driving tour is available to checkout or to read onsite. The store sells Park Forest-related books, Field’s bricks, and a print of the Holiday Theatre.
The museum now represents a home in the first five years the village was settled, 1948-1953. No longer in an original rental unit, the museum layout is very similar to a home furnished as it might have been in those years. We even have the kitchen cupboards from our former home, donated by Andrew Brown, Central Park Apartments. Contents include children’s toys and books, including dolls and toy trucks; household furnishings, clothing, and a wringer washer. There are articles on and photographs of early Park Forest. One area represents a classroom in Park Forest’s first school, Forest Boulevard School, which was operated in rental area G. There you can find class pictures from that and a few other schools.
From February 3 to March 5, the museum will be decorated for “Step Back into a 1950s Valentines Day.” The classroom is decorated for a 1950s class party. This year antique Valentines will also be on display.