In 2016, we debuted a new exhibit: "Window to the Past: The Everett C. Block Collection," which showcased photos and information from the Everett C. Block Collection of glass plate negatives. Now, thanks to the work of Archives Practicum student Olivia Palid, you can relive this exhibit at any time on our Local History and Genealogy Digital Exhibits page

The new online exhibit offers photographs from rural early 20th century Sidney and surrounding areas that were showcased in the original exhibition, plus a link to our Flickr page that holds even more scans of Block's collection. We have also added a new portion to the exhibit on the modern revival of historical photographic practices. Check out this exhibit today! 
The pandemic is keeping us apart from many of our loved ones, but we can still take time to call or virtually meet with them. Now is a good time to record your family's oral history. At this meeting, Bethany Anderson, from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, will discuss ways in which you can accomplish this goal for the New Year!

Presented by the Champaign County Genealogical Society and co-sponsored by The Urbana Free Library
From the Blog
In 1919, Isaac Kuhn made a risky decision and became the first retailer to receive a shipment of clothing via commercial airplane. Passenger planes had only been invented eleven years earlier, and commercial airlines were just beginning to establish themselves.
Ancestry Library Edition has extended access from home through March 31st for all library cardholders! Access Ancestry by following this link and logging in with your library card number.

Contact the Archives at 217-367-4025 or for help or questions.

Chanute Air Force Base was the key starting point for many service members' careers throughout its 75 years of existence. Men and women began their education, professions, and families at the base and were supported by the Chanute and Rantoul communities. The Chanute Collection has many examples of community groups coming together to help one another and positively impact the Rantoul area. From the Officer's Wives Club that supported the local nursing homes to the YMCA's children programs, there was a place and activities for all.
This sense of community did not end once one left the Air Force. The U.S. government created the Retiree Activities Program to support those transitioning back into civilian life and their families. The records from Chanute describe a program that educated individuals on their rights as retirees and created a space for retirees to continue contributing to Chanute Air Force Base. While the members of this program may have been retired, they were not slowing down! In 1987, the program collected 2,500 volunteer hours through its various events and outreach programs, from helping other retirees with transportation around the Champaign County area to hosting annual Christmas parties and acting as foster grandparents for children on the base. These individuals engaged with every area of life at Chanute.

Always looking for ways to improve life in their community, the Retiree Activities Program continued to fundraise and support the base until its closure. They fought very hard to impart Chanute's importance on a local and national level when closure threats began. They organized letter-writing campaigns and circulated petitions. Once the base was closed in 1993, the retirees continued to support one another by helping members receive access to their benefits and creating the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum to help preserve their legacy.

Notable members of the Retiree Activities Program include our own Donald Weckhorst, seen here receiving a Certificate of Appreciation for his participation with the Retiree Activities Program.
Did you know?
We want to hear your stories.
We are collecting photographs, stories, art, reflections, and more from community members to document COVID-19 and Racial Justice in Champaign County. Click on the images below to learn more and share your experiences.
Go ahead, we're listening.
Think You Know Champaign-Urbana?
Try our trivia quiz
Q. Local band Sun Stereo plays the Canopy Club every New Year's Eve. What year did this tradition begin?
Events at the Archives & Beyond

  • Winter Prairie Skies, William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College, Friday, January 29, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm | Zoom
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