Past Exhibitions

These past exhibitions were featured in our temporary gallery space and received Superior Achievement Awards from the Illinois Association of Museums. The Superior award recognizes achievement that is a model for the profession and reaches a greater audience than is normally reached by the institution.

Your ideas and suggestions help us develop award winning exhibitions like these. If you have an idea or suggestion for an exhibition, we want to hear about it! To share your ideas, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Start With A Sketch
July 2012 to November 2012

An exhibition designed and developed by the Geneva History Museum highlighting the rich culture of illustration through the talented cartoonists, illustrators and voice characters connected to our community.  This exhibition showcased original artwork from our archival collection and included a large collaboration with artists (and their families) past and present.  It featured well-known artists such as Daws Butler, the voice of Yogi Bear and many Hanna Barbera characters along with Chester Gould, creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip.  Other local artists include George Borg, John Jarvis, Charley Krebs, Evans and Rebecca Krehbiel and Tom Lichtenheld.

A Celebration of Rural America

July 2012 to November 2012

A Blair-Murrah traveling exhibition of Rural American Art of the 1920's and 30's.  Original prints by three well-known Regionalist artists included: Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood and John Steuart Curry.  The exhibition presented over 20 artists who captured their new vision of rural America and illustrated the similarities in Geneva at the time of the Depression.

Who Was Sadie Cooksey?

July 2011 to November 2011

A photographic traveling exhibition by professional photographer and former Genevan Maggie Foskett – documenting the early history of the Illinois State Training School for Delinquent Girls. The “Girl’s School,” as it is known by locals, was located south of the railroad tracks on Route 25, where the Fox Run subdivision is today.

The exhibition’s narrative concentrated on a single figure—Sadie Cooksey (1904–1924)—whose tombstone caught the photographer’s attention. Sadie was one of hundreds of girls committed year after year for immorality or incorrigibility.

For more information visit our YouTube channel or buy the exhibition catalog.


Every Story Counts: Everyday Stories from Everyday Genevans

IAM Award of Merit
February 2011 to June 2011


In 2010, Geneva History Center (GHC) celebrated the City of Geneva’s 175th anniversary. To ensure this event was treated with the importance it deserved, GHC partnered with StoryCorps to collect oral history interviews from community members. StoryCorps is an independent, national nonprofit project dedicated to recording, sharing and preserving oral histories of everyday Americans for future generations. Digital audio recordings are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Geneva’s recordings are also housed at the GHC archives.

GHC transformed its lobby into the exhibition Every Story Counts: Everyday Stories from Everyday Genevans. From February through June 2011, the exhibition provided shortened audio clips of the oral history interviews accessible through MP3 player listening stations and a touchscreen .

In addition to accessibility through the lobby exhibition, special videos were produced and launched online through GHC’s YouTube Channel.

Scouting: A Century of Values

IAM Superior Achievement Award
January to June 2010

The Geneva History Center developed the exhibition, Scouting: A Century of Values to celebrate the Boy Scouts of America. This special anniversary offered the Geneva History Center the opportunity to develop an exhibition that highlighted the Boy Scouts of America’s long history, tradition and values, but also aided in highlighting the lasting impact of scouting in Geneva.