DOWNERS GROVE – Downers Grove has long placed an emphasis on its history, as well as historic preservation.
The names of the community’s founders and other significant historical figures can be found on schools, parks and street signs while homes with historical significance often are granted landmark status.
A closer examination of some of these homes and the families who lived in them is the subject of a new exhibit at the Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Ave., Downers Grove.
"Hearth and Home: the Significance of Downers Grove’s Historic Houses" begins Sept. 8 with an opening reception from 1 to 3 p.m. at the museum. The reception is free, and refreshments will be served.
The exhibit will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 5, 2019.
It explores the histories of houses in Downers Grove built between the 1830s and 1930s and the families who turned them into homes.
Residents will be able to meet with museum staff who curated the exhibit, and local experts will be on site to answer questions about historic home research, recognition programs and preservation.
Homes featured in the exhibit are divided into three time periods: the village's original homes built between 1840 and 1860, Victorian homes constructed during the late 1800s and homes built between 1900 and 1930, said Felicia Camacho, museum and nature center specialist for the Downers Grove Park District.
The exhibit will feature photos of the homes and written material explaining their significance, she said.
“We have photos of homes from the different periods,” Camacho said.
One of the exhibit's volunteers lived in one of the homes and will be available to answer questions. Additionally, members of the Downers Grove Historical Society will be on hand to answer questions.
In addition to offering a glimpse into the village's rich history, the exhibit serves another purpose.
"Part of it is to bring insights into our historic homes program," Camacho said.
The program helps owners of historically significant homes to learn about the village's landmarking process, she said.
"People don't know where to start," Camacho said. "They want to start researching their homes."
The program helps homeowners with both research and the process required to gain landmark status, she said.