Last updated: 11/15/2011
675 State Route 116
Metamora, IL 61548
Maurice Yordy, President
Julie Hendricks, Administrative Coordinator
Promoting heritage awareness through programs, tours and exhibits, research and publication. Remembering Swiss-German Amish-Mennonite pioneers of 1830-1850 to central and northern Illinois, their rural settlements and their faith; acculturation, nuturing congregations involved with peace and justice concerns and urban missions in following generations. Preserving pertinent unique items for posterity.
The Illinois Mennonite Historical Society organized in 1969 with scheduled program meetings. Soon they began a historical and genealogical library. A museum in rented space and quarterly publication followed by 1974. Christian Sutter's large barn, with significant Amish roots, was re-erected in a barn-raising event at the society's new site near Metamora. Since 1984 The Heritage Center building houses the main museum, the library, an archives and a meeting room. A Grandfather House, farm museum and two windmills add to the prairie plot of native grasses, flowers, and trees.
The Heritage Center's main building museum, 6000 sq ft., houses home, school, congregational and medical objects. An African exhibit tells of the Congo previous to 1905 when Illinois Mennonite missionaries arrived there and changes leading to present indigenous leadership. Includes re-creation of an early twentieth century schoolroom and interior rooms of a home, and a pioneer room, as well as quilts and clothing unique to Amish and Mennonites, and others typical of the period and likely used by them, with emphasis on artifacts before 1930. The equally large farm museum features homemade and early hand tools, horse-driven machinery and a carriage, early engines to a 1951 fully restored John Deere tractor; and machinery from an early twentieth century wood-working shop powered by a gas engine and line shaft. The Sutter barn, furnished with necessities for care of farm animals and poultry and their produce, including harness and horseshoes, cream separator, egg grader, and lard press. In the Grandfather House of the early twentieth century, shows the stove for heat, a lantern for light, water pumped by hand and a chamber pot and there is an outhouse.
The library contains over 5000 pieces for research in Mennonite history and genealogy including periodicals and some materials on microfilm and computer disks. Rare books are present in the library and archival collections.
The Illinois Mennonite Archives includes personal collections, and collections from congregations and from organizations. Documents, family Bibles, photograph albums, photographs and charcoal drawings, maps and charts, cemetery records, newspapers, videotapes and reel-to-reel tapes are all included. An appointment is required to assure assistance for archival research.
Tour guides are available during open hours. Tour include the main museum, farm museum, Sutter barn, Grandfather house, and arboretum of native trees, prairie grass and flowers.
Illinois Mennonite Historical and Genealogical Society (same address as its Heritage Center)
Access: General Public, Students, Scholars
Appointment required: No
Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly is pubolished four times annually. Illinois Mennonite Newsletter is published at least twice a year and includes the annual financial report and calendar.
Illinois Mennonite Heritage Quarterly
Illinois Mennonite Heritage Newsletter
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