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A History Harvest: Pop-Up Museum About The Pontiac Prison Farm

  • Livingston County Courthouse 112 W Madison St Pontiac, IL, 61764 United States (map)

JOIN US AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET IN PONTIAC, ILLINOIS FOR A “HISTORY HARVEST” looking back at the history of the prison farm. The early history of the prison in Pontiac is a rich one and intertwined with the history of the town. In 1871, Illinois opened up the Boys Reformatory School to “provide a place for the thorough reformation and elevation of the erring young people of our state”. Aspects of this institution and the one that took its place in 1891, the Illinois State Reformatory, were hailed as models in the nation. Farming was a critical aspect of both facilities from the very beginning...

BRING YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE COMMUNITY TABLE: In addition to the materials that the PPMP team has curated for display at the Pop-Up Museum, community members are invited to bring stories, photos and other artifacts of their own to share related to the history of the prison and its farm. Stay and share your memories with other members of the community. Take your contributions home with you at the end of the event.

ACTIVITIES AND SNACKS FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES: While parents browse in the Pop-Up Museum, nearby there will be harvest-related craft activities and art projects for children supervised by the Pontiac Public Library staff.


MEET THE PPMP-PONTIAC TEAM: intern Michala Matuszewski and program assistant Rob Bressner, young people living in Pontiac, have been conducting research, doing community interviews, and scanning and processing historical images in preparation for this first PPMP Pop-Up Museum in Illinois. Both Rob and Michala will be at the Pop-Up Museum listening to your stories and recording your memories. Tracy Huling, PPMP Founder/Director, will also be on hand to greet you, answer questions about the PPMP, and listen to your feedback about the project.

Michala Matuszewski, PPMP intern

Michala Matuszewski, PPMP intern

Rob Bressner, program assistant

Rob Bressner, program assistant

The Pop-Up Museum is sponsored by Prison Public Memory Project (PPMP) with the Pontiac Farmer’s Market/P.R.O.U.D. and Pontiac Public Library.

A warm thank you to our partners and cash donors for making this Pop-Up Museum possible!

  • Pontiac Public Library

  • Pontiac Farmer’s Market/P.R.O.U.D.

  • AFSCME Local 494

  • Steve Ballou

  • Bill Goold

  • Mark Looney

  • Gayle Grady McKinley

  • Laura Sager

  • Emily Chameides

  • Leslie Tognacci

  • Craig Gilmore

For more information contact Tracy Huling at: