Ballots, Babes and Beer now open

The new temporary exhibit about women gaining the right to vote in Illinois is now officially open! Hands down, this is one of the neatest exhibits the museum has ever constructed. Discover why it took women so long to gain the vote and how the liquor lobby affected the fight. Don’t delay your visit! The exhibit will only be displayed until November 21.

So let’s get down to the important question: why is this guy in a barrel?

Although Illinois’ voting laws excluded women in 1891, Lombard’s charter had a loophole that allowed all citizens to vote. As such, Ellen Martin, a lawyer from Lombard and 14 other prominent women went to their polling place and demanded the vote. Their bold audacity shocked the men at the poll. One man was so incensed, he fell backwards into a barrel. The women were allowed to vote in that election, but the charter was changed shortly after. Illinois women would have to wait until 1913 for full voting rights.

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Ballots, Babes and Beer

Construction on the museum’s fall voting exhibit “Ballots, Babes and Beer” has officially begun! In addition to being a presidential election year, 2012 marks the 99th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in Illinois.

The new exhibit will celebrate the anniversary and highlight stories of men and women on both sides of the issue. Also discover how the Civil War and alcohol influenced the women’s suffrage debate that resulted in a dramatic political showdown in Springfield.

Although new and exciting changes are afoot, there’s still time to see the summer kite exhibit before it is replaced. The kite exhibit runs through August 10. The lower gallery is expected to reopen with the voting exhibit on September 7. Stay tuned for more updates.