Mixing up artifact spotlight #8

1956 Sunbeam Mixmaster

Receiving a stand mixer for a wedding present feels like a culinary and domestic rite of passage. My love affair with my KitchenAid has blossomed into a very special relationship over the last year. We’ve already made pasta dough, birthday cakes, cookies, bread, and two cheesecakes together. My mixer never mocks my failed culinary experiments, doesn’t mind that I talk to it on occasion, and never ever brings up the fact that one of us has gotten very fat since the start of our partnership. Obviously, I will need grief counseling when the motor dies.

Pat Kiddle also received a stand mixer as a wedding present in 1956. This Sunbeam Mixmaster was in constant use in her kitchen until 2006!  When it died, she donated it to the Raupp Museum. The mixer proudly lives on display in the main gallery.

Ever since its introduction in 1930, the stand mixer has been one of the most popular appliances Sunbeam offers. Famous designer, Raymond Loewy (who would go on to design the Greyhound bus and the Shell gasoline logo), originally worked on the mixer. Indeed, the Mixmaster’s logo and style has changed only slightly over the past 75 years. After all, why mess with perfection? Now, who wants cake?

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The Dining Room

The museum is once again pleased to be collaborating with the Park District’s performing arts group, Big Deal Productions. This year’s theater production is A.R. Gurney’s Pulitzer nominated comedy, The Dining Room.

The play centers around a single antique dining room furniture set and follows the lives of the families that own it over a period of fifty years. The dining room setting acts as an anchor for the play’s 18 overlapping story lines and host of 57 characters played by just 14 actors.  The play also uses the the formal dining room as symbol for the decline of the privileged upper-middle class culture and its traditions.

The Breakfast (The Dining Room) Paul Signac C. 1886-1887

Performances will be conducted in the museum’s lower gallery and are scheduled for 7 pm on May 10-12 and 7 pm on May 18-20.  A matinee performance at 2 pm is also scheduled for May 20. Tickets are now on sale and may be purchased for $10 at the Alcott building or online here. Don’t miss it.

Where the buffalo roam

“Were there ever buffalo in Buffalo Grove?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions here at the museum. The short answer is definitely, possibly maybe.

Buffalo Grove was originally named for the grove of trees which stood near Buffalo Creek, very near the current intersection of Buffalo Grove Road and Lake-Cook Road. The story goes that a group of buffalo (American Bison) used to graze in those trees, hence the name.

However, there is no conclusive evidence to support the claim. In fact, while American bison inhabit areas ranging from Canada to Mexico, they prefer wide open grasslands.  So, it would be unusual for them to to live in Buffalo Grove with such dense wooded areas.

There is always some element of truth in folklore.  Although it would be unusual, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility.  Buffalo Grove is rare among Lake County towns because it has only had one name throughout its history. In comparison, Long Grove, Arlington Heights, and Waukegan have all changed names at least once. Mundelein has actually had four different names over the years!

To learn about the American Bison, visit: http://www.animalfactguide.com/animalfacts/american-bison/

“The Lost Prairie” found!

Did you know that over 22 million acres or 59% of the entire state of Illinois used to be prairie land? That’s why Illinois is known as “the Prairie State.”  Today, only 2000 acres remain, but 10 of those acres are located right here in Buffalo Grove. It was discovered in the 1970s by a teenage Steve Apfelbaum and inspired him to become an ecologist.

Follow his story and learn about Buffalo Grove’s prairie in the new museum exhibit, “The Lost Prairie.”  Visitors can also discover why we should care about the land and what people are doing to protect it.  The exhibit runs April 1 through June 30 in the main gallery.

…but wait, there’s more! The museum wants to show off the shiny new exhibit at a party on April 24 from 7-9 PM. Everyone is welcome to come to this free event. Light refreshments will be served.

… but wait, there’s still more! In conjunction with the exhibit and the party, Steve Apfelbaum will also be giving a talk on May 2 from 7-8 PM about prairies, conservation work and how to get involved. This event is also free and everyone is encouraged to attend. Don’t miss out!