LIBERTYVILLE – The Bess Bower Dunn Museum is celebrating its five-year anniversary. The museum is at 1899 W. Winchester Road in Libertyville.
“To recognize the occasion and thank Lake County residents, free admission will be offered between March 25 and April 2 with the donation of a nonperishable food item or toiletry,” Director of Education Nan Buckardt said in a news release. “The collected items will benefit the Libertyville Township Food Pantry.”
Since opening in 2018, the museum has hosted 10 special exhibitions, including “Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross,” “Ansel Adams: Early Works” and “Reima Ratti: Life and Art in the Great Depression.”
There also have been three significant community projects: “A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead in Southern Mexico,” “Our Voice is Black History” and the COVID-19 Documentation Project.
“In addition, during the past five years, we have added a virtual presence for programming, collections and exhibits to our repertoire,” Buckardt said. “More than 128,000 visitors have come through the museum or attended a program either in person or virtually.”
The museum is named in honor of Lake County’s first official historian, Bess Bower Dunn (1877–1959). Her determination to preserve the early history of Lake County resulted in a significant and lasting contribution and one of the best cultural offerings in the Chicago area. The Lake County Forest Preserves, which operates the museum, is continuing her mission and sharing her innovative spirit with visitors of all ages.
Previously named the Lake County Discovery Museum, the museum opened in 1976 and operated for 40 years in a converted farm building at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.
The central Lake County location in Libertyville provides more than twice the gallery space for exhibitions about Lake County’s past than the previous site. It also offers dedicated teaching areas and a public research center, as well as convenient access for visitors.
The nationally accredited Dunn Museum – a distinction held by only 3% of American museums – cares for a treasure trove of history about the region. Other area accredited museums include The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science & Industry.
Lake County’s natural and cultural history is brought to life through a balance of interactive exhibitions, authentic artifacts, reproductions and audiovisual displays.
The museum will be open with special hours during the five-year anniversary food drive. Visit LCFPD.org/planyourvisit for details.