rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 11/17/2002
Rockford's Time Machine - Midway Village & Museum Center
by Gregory C. Johnson
Nestled on 167 acres of land at 6799 Guilford Road, Midway Village & Museum Center takes visitors back in time to when Rockford was a bustling Victorian city. The Museum Center chronicles the Rockford area's grand achievements from its diversified immigrant cultures to its role in major historical events of the past 160 years.

In the Museum Center main building, visitors can explore the exhibit galleries to discover the history of the Northern Illinois region. The Industrial Gallery highlights the Rockford areas extensive manufacturing history. In the Aviation Gallery, you can see the restored 1928 Greater Rockford Aircraft that Col. Bert R. J. Hassel used in his attempt to fly from Rockford to Stockholm via a route around the Artic Circle. In continuous development is an exhibit dedicated to the Rockford Peaches, Rockford's All-American Girls Professional Baseball team, who won four championships during the leagues existence from 1943 to 1954. The story of the Peaches and the other three charter teams of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was the basis for the film "A League of Their Own".

The Museum Center has constructed a climate controlled exhibit space which after passing an extended period of monitoring will allow them to host special exhibits from the Smithsonian. Currently on display is 'The Witnesses to War' exhibit which chronicles Rockford's participation in the Second World War. The exhibit is complete with a video presentation of interviews with area residents who fought in the various arms of the Military during the Second World War.

One of the outstanding accomplishments of the Museum Center is the construction of Midway Village. The Village hosts over twenty Victorian period buildings where visitors can experience what life was like in Northern Illinois in the late nineteenth century. The buildings in the Village include the blacksmith shop, the print shop, the hardware store, the one-room schoolhouse and much more. During the months of April through October, visitors can tour the village buildings where costumed interpreters bring history to life. The Old Doll's House Museum, located outside the entrance to the Village, features numerous Doll Houses displaying home life from a wide variety of countries.

Midway Village & Museum Center is available for birthday parties. Children can celebrate their birthday with a choice of four themed parties. The Victorian Tea Party lets the guests practice their Victorian manners in the Chamberlain Hotel, churn butter and try a taste on fresh bread, play drop the clothespin and make a spool necklace. The "I Fell Pretty" themed party has guests practice their party manners and dress up in a fancy gown and hat. They get to visit the Old Dolls' House Museum or a clothing exhibit in the Museum, make a yarn doll and play an old-fashioned game. The Wild West Party has guests churn butter and try a taste on fresh bread, make a heliotrope, play a beanbag game, rob the bank and get thrown in jail and enjoy a mud pie with a cup of bug juice. The Down on the Farm Party theme let guests churn butter and try a taste on fresh bread, sing "Old McDonald Had A Farm," visit the dairy exhibit and milk Midway Millie, play "Pin the Tail on the Cow," make a cow puppet and eat cow pie and moo juice.

The Midway Community Church, the Chamberlain Hotel, the Gazebo and the Museum Center Lakeview rooms offer ideal setting for meetings and special occasions. Facilities are available for family gatherings, weddings, bridal showers, business meetings, conferences, workshops, organizational meetings or class reunions.
Contact Information
Midway Village & Museum Center
6977 Guilford Road
Rockford, IL 61107
April to October:
Mon. to Fri. - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat. & Sun. - Noon to 5 p.m.

November to March:
Mon. to Sat. - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check the Musueam web site for opening times for the Village buildings.
$5.00 Adults
$3.00 Children (ages 3 to 15)

Memberships available.
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