Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Blooming in Rockford

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“Blooming in Rockford,” was a temporary exhibition at Midway Village Museum in 2018 that allowed visitors the opportunity to learn about the gardens in our Victorian Village, historic gardening tools, local seed companies, native plants to Illinois, as well as beekeeping.

Visitors were able to test their knowledge by determining if old gardening wives tales hold any truth to them, challenge themselves by identifying the Latin names of some common native plants, smell scent samples, or learn about some of Rockford’s very own seed companies.

The images in this Online Exhibit were pulled from our Exhibit Archives to highlight a sampling of the gardens in our Victorian Village and share the history behind them. 

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Fighting an Invisible Enemy: Polio Epidemics in Rockford

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Rockford struggled through several polio epidemics from the 1940s-1950s.

Don Swanson is a Rockford native and a polio survivor. The retired principal of Walker School, Swanson contracted polio at age 5 and spent a year in the hospital.

These images are part of a presentation created by Swanson to share his memories and experiences of Rockford's polio epidemics.

Polio hit Winnebago County hard. In 1945 there were 321 cases and 26 deaths in six months. Rockford’s population was approximately 93,000 people. Hospitals scrambled to add supplies and staff, and places of recreation were closed. In 1950 polio resurged in Rockford: 195 new cases were reported--42 of them in single week in August- and 9 died.

In 1955 a vaccine was successfully produced. Locally, public health advocates moved to tamp down infectious disease by improving sanitation at county landfills, and dramatically extending city sewer lines.

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Immigration Stories -- Telephone Interactive

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This exhibit is intended to provide a touch-free alternative to the hands-on telephone listening station in the Many Faces, One Community exhibit at Midway Village Museum.

Excerpts from eight interviews with immigrants to Rockford are featured. Each page offers an opportunity to read the excerpt, or listen to it.