Celebrating the Past, Planning the Future overview image

Celebrating the Past, Planning the Future

  • Post Date: 03/15/2012
  • Author: Kim Sheahan
  • Reading Time: 3 minute read

What a party! After four years of planning and 12 months of recognition and revelry, our Centennial Celebration has come to an end. Here are some images from the past year to help us remember just a few of the things that made it so very special.


Some of the most intense celebration-based work went into the creation of two new temporary exhibits and the rededication of our South American exhibit. Research involved in producing Collecting and Connecting: 100 Years at the Spurlock Museum resulted in the gathering of pages of new information on the Museum’s collections and the rediscovery of forgotten friends from its history. Through Warriors, Guardians, and Demons, we became closer friends to donor Fred Freund and produced our first student-led exhibit project. New pieces on display in the South American exhibit, like the colorful child’s Diablada festival costume, were hits with visitors at the exhibit’s rededication.

  • Venus plaster cast and orange background wall
  • gallery view, red, yellow and purple headdress and costume


What’s a celebration without music, fun, and beautiful spaces? We had them all in abundance. Our year opened with the Our Friends: The Heart of the Museum event, a special thank you just for those who, through donations of time, money, or objects, have been our longest, strongest supporters. Held near Valentine’s Day, the festivities included violin music by Rudolf Haken and the making of some exquisite Valentine cards. Special friends were also acknowledged in June with the rededication of our cultural gardens, including the complete renovation of the American Indian Medicinal Garden and the Prairie Terrace Garden. The picture below shows the Prairie Terrace Garden soon after landscaping and planting were completed. It’s amazing how much it had filled out by the first frost. Our 2011 schedule saw not one, but two, WorldFest celebrations. At the fall extravaganza, Museum favorite Moussa Bolokada Conde led a rousing audience participation session on African drums, and as you can see, Museum Director Wayne Pitard got into the act.

  • a beard man performing on a African drum
  • two women making handcraft with paper and colorful sharpies

  • view of the parking lot
  • man performing with an African drum


The most exciting occasion of the year, though, was our 100th birthday bash! One of the largest event crowds in our history participated in a variety of activities: making birthday cards, having their picture taken in the special birthday chair, playing games like Pin the Tail on the Barong Ket, breaking piñatas, listening to taiko drumming and folktales from Japan, and, of course, EATING! The food tent provided a taste of birthday food from around the world, including fairy bread from Australia (yummy), sesame sticks from Egypt, yakkwo cookies from Korea, and almost every cupcake available in Champaign-Urbana. In looking through the pictures taken at the event, the absolute favorite food of the day, though, was the custom-made birthday cake. The kids couldn’t wait to blow out the candles!

Planning the Future

Our second century picks up where the first left off. Two great exhibits, ¡Carnaval! and A World of Shoes will be installed in our Campbell Gallery space in 2012. Once again, music, stories, and laughter will fill our galleries, and audiences eager to continue a lifetime of learning will listen to scholars, teachers, and specialists. A toast to all who made the first hundred years something special and to all who will make the next hundred years a journey most fascinating and worthwhile.

  • two women and a men performing on drums
  • a girl swinging a bat
  • a girl sitting on a chair surrounded by balloons, a guy taking photos
  • kids gathering around a birthday with lit candles