Titanic, Daughters of American Revolution exhibits to open in Princeton museum

Exhibits will be launched in March at the Bureau County History Center

Two new exhibits will be launched in early March on the Courthouse Square on the Bureau County History Center campus in Princeton.

The Bureau County History Center is highlighting the year 1912, sponsored by Yepsen Insurance, in the Newell Bryant Museum.

In addition, the Daughters of the American Revolution will open its Celebrating our Families and Patriots exhibit in the Clark Norris Museum.

What does the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic and Bureau County have in common? Museum patrons will learn the answer beginning Saturday, March 2, at the 1912 exhibit that will run until December.

The Titanic sank in the frigid Atlantic Ocean on the night of April 14, 1912. The loss of more than 1,400 lives that night, the failures of the great “unsinkable” ocean liner and the insufficient lifeboats all would affect the legislation of ship building and sea travel in the months and years to come.

More than 700 survivors would return home and try to pick up the pieces. Many would suffer from the reverberations of that night for the rest of their lives, with some experiencing alcoholism, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.

Four members of the Nellie Becker family survived the disaster and later lived in Princeton.

With such an enormous tragedy playing a central role upon the world’s stage, what was happening in Bureau County?

The 1912 exhibit looks at the photographs and stories around which the lives of residents here revolved. Newspaper stories will run the gamut from the ordinary – bids for the building of the Matson Public Library were discussed and the architect’s proposal for the Soldiers & Sailors Monument were accepted ahead of its projected summer 1912 build – to the criminal – three masked highwaymen robbed the train in Sheffield, stealing $800 in cash and a diamond ring – to the scandalous – the front-page coverage of the divorce of the heroic doctor of the Cherry Mine disaster after his wife alleged that she was the victim of domestic violence.

Titanic historian Peter Cook will be giving a lecture regarding the disaster including information about the Becker family. He also will present artifacts from the Titanic. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11. Tickets cost $15 for history center members and $18 for nonmembers.

There will be a special screening of the 1997 “Titanic” movie. This multiple Academy Award-winning movie features Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates and many others. It will be shown at 2 p.m. April 20 at the historic Apollo Theater in Princeton.

The 1912 exhibit includes many images from the history center’s Henry W. Immke Collection, stories of the year, humorous advertisements and more.

There is a full roster of events and lectures. Visit the 1912 page on the BCHC website at bureauhistory.org.

In addition to the 1912 exhibit, BCHC is delighted to be partnering with the Princeton-Illinois Daughters of the American Revolution. The exhibit, Celebrating our Families and Patriots, will be on display at the Clark Norris Museum.

“As our nation approaches its 250th birthday in 2026, we hope museum patrons will join us as we celebrate our community’s representation in the Revolutionary War,” DAR Regent Nancy Gartner said. “Since the Princeton-Illinois chapter was founded in 1896, nearly 400 women from Bureau County have honored their past by becoming Daughters of the American Revolution.

“We’ll be telling their stories and sharing the remarkable service and sacrifice made by their patriots in our beautiful new ‘America 250′ display at the Bureau County History Center.”

Museum hours for each exhibit are as follows:

1912 exhibit: Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays (last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.), 634 S. Pleasant St., Princeton.

DAR exhibit: 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (last tour begins at 4:30 p.m.), 109 Park Ave. West, Princeton.

Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and younger and active-duty military personnel are free.

The Bureau County History Center will have Yepsen Insurance as the lead 1912 exhibit sponsor. Event sponsors include The Flats at Elm Place and Heartland Bank.

For information, visit Bureauhistory.org or call 815-875-2184.

Miss Minnie Flint, Princeton
Miss Helen Dyke and friend, Princeton