April calls for a spring cleaning in the little Settler's Cottage museum on River Street, as well as an updating of the displays.
A very interesting new feature will be a display of the 1930 Montgomery census, complete with photos of the known residents. If you had family in Montgomery during that time period, be sure to check this display. The dedicated volunteers have searched for related photos and connected them to the family information.
The museum depends on dedicated volunteers who work behind the scenes to keep it operating. We have been blessed to have the temporary services of Joyce Frazier working with the accessioning, as she has extensive computer experience. She is currently working with Barbara Peck, entering data and scanning photos into the museum program.
Irene Engeln is helping her accession the newly acquired set of city directories. Once an item is photographed and entered into the database, it will be simple to find what is available, and provide background information on these items.
When something is donated, the donor receives a "thank you" letter and a deed of gift, acknowledging and describing the gift, and the donor will also be thanked in the next village newsletter.
Everybody with roots in Montgomery is encouraged to send any old family photos and a family tree to Debbie Buchanan at the Montgomery Historical Preservation Commission. You can leave any material for her at the front desk in if you wish. Otherwise, call her at 630-896-8080 x 1114 and make an appointment to drop it off.
A new display of artifacts and photos of the old Montgomery Methodist Church will replace the school display. Several people have donated items, but there should be more, considering the major role the church played in the life of the community. So please remember the museum when you come across old calendars, photos or scrapbooks you would like to share.
If the producers of Who Do You Think You Are come calling, we will be prepared with information on the future celebrities in your family tree. It could happen!
For example, Maria Matyas was a world famous opera soprano who was born Mary Schmotzer in Hungary, and came to Montgomery as a child. In 1913, her teacher, Rose Klink Phillips, recognized that she had an exceptional voice and advised her parents to seek a voice trainer. They moved to Chicago to find her the best teachers in voice and piano. She won a national radio audition in 1928, and in just one short year she made her debut with the American Opera Company.
By purchasing a for the walkway around the cottage, you can honor a loved one and also contribute to the local biography project. These biographies are being collected and kept in the archives so that future historians can learn from them.
All proceeds from the sale of the bricks are used for the restoration and upkeep of the cottage. Fundraisers, including the community garage sales and the annual Montgomery Fest car show, allow the museum to continue operating without taxpayer dollars.
Our little museum has the honor and distinction of being awarded the 2011 . Look for the signs to be erected soon to reflect this designation.
The opening day for the museum is Tuesday May 8, from 12:30 to 2:30. A special tour can be arranged by calling Debbie Buchanan at 630-896-8080, Ext. 1114. It is always good to welcome back former residents and hear their experiences.