A Brief History of the Museum

The 1950s Park Forest House Museum began as a joint project of the 50th Anniversary Committee, the Park Forest Historical Society, the League of Women Voters of the Park Forest Area and Thorn Creek Townhouses. Called the 50th Anniversary House Museum, it was intended to be a temporary, two month exhibit during the 50th Anniversary of Park Forest, celebrated from 1998-1999. Furnished as it might have looked from 1948-1953, it interprets the life of the pioneer citizens in the first five years of the village. It had all come together so nicely that the 50th Anniversary Committee continued to ask for extensions. After the 50th Anniversary, the Park Forest Historical Society took over operation of the museum, and asked to continue using the rental unit at 397 Forest Blvd. Thorn Creek Townhouses generously loaned the townhouse, rent and utilities-free for this project for nine years. From October 2006 through May 2007, Thorn Creek allowed the Society to use the unit at 395 Forest as well, for an office, additional furniture and rotating displays. In May 2007, Thorn Creek's owners asked to have the units back for tenant use. Volunteers packed up the two units and the Society hired professional movers to pack the contents into PODS. In October, 2007, AIMCO, owners of Central Park Townhomes in rental Area F, generously offered us the use of one townhouse for a modest rent, with the society paying for utilities. The second unit of furniture and our office remain in storage. Volunteers helped unpack the basic museum from one PODS container, and we were set up, decorated for Christmas, and open by the first weekend in December 2007. Our Grand Re-opening was held on February 2, 2008. The society has access to the PODS container still in storage, but can not unpack many of its contents. The bulk of the photograph collection has been moved to the museum.

By May 2010, AIMCO had sold Area F to Kinzie, who have renamed the area Park Forest Apartments.  Our rent doubled to $300, and is now $315, plus utilities.

The society is planning for the day when the office will be set up again, and all of the museum collection will be on display.


Young volunteers help move the 1947 refrigerator to 141 Forest.
vivianpurnell2Board member, Vivian Purnell unpacks boxes, 2007.
Linda Klutznick and James Klutznick with family, in front of 397 Forest Blvd, the first museum unit in September 2003.

Help Further Our Mission

The mission of the Park Forest Historical Society is to preserve, interpret and celebrate the unique history, diversity and achievements of the Village of Park Forest, Illinois through exhibits, publications and special programs;To educate residents, students and visitors in all aspects of village history;To encourage donations and enlist volunteers for the Park Forest Local History Collection and Archive and the 1950s Park Forest House Museum;To honor those who have, over a long period of time, contributed to the Village of Park Forest.

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