surgery“Progress is made by trial and failure; the failures are generally a hundred times more numerous than the successes, yet they are usually left unchronicled,” said scientist William Ramsay. However, when it comes to the science and art of surgery, the trial and error is an important part of its history. It is amazing how doctors and surgeons can easily save lives today, especially for procedures that would have been life threatening a century ago. However, someone had to first learn about the human body and how to fix what they could not see. The International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago is the only museum in all of North America to show the history of how modern surgery came to be, with both failures and accomplishments.

The Mission of the Museum is to enrich people’s lives by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of the history, development, and advances in surgery and related subjects in health and medicine. Dr. Max Thorek founded the International College of Surgeons in 1935, and in 1950 his efforts led to the museum’s collection growing. The Museum opened to the public on September 9, 1954. Today the museum’s four floors hold many marvels from the art of healing.

Some people think of surgeons as miracle workers. Illinois has the only museum in all of North America that chronicles how those miracles came to be. To plan your visit to the museum visit here.  

rockThe white oak, the cardinal bird and popcorn all have something in common: they are Illinois symbols! The state tree, state bird and state snack will have a new member joining their ranks. Dolostone was declared the state’s rock by legislation signed into law by Governor Pritzker in June 2022. This law came courtesy of suburban Chicago elementary and middle school students who pushed for its passage, as well as the sponsor of the legislation, State Senator Laura Ellman of the 21st Senate District.

Dolostone had a hard won victory, beating out sandstone and limestone for the title. Dolostone is the hard bedrock that lies underneath most of Illinois’ glacially deposited soil. It’s often referred to as dolomite, and was formed in an ancient tropical ocean, during the Silurian period, some 400 million years ago. The rock did not journey to Illinois, but rather Illinois journeyed to it. If we turn back time to when the rock first formed, what is now Illinois used to be a massive underwater Silurian reef system stretching up to what’s now Door County, Wisconsin. As the Earth changed and continents moved, the sea eventually made way for land and Illinois came to be.    

Illinois’ history has started with this rock in so many ways. It was there when the land of the state was first formed. Not only that, but Dolostone was originally used as building material for Illinois’ Old State Capital, the literal bedrock of our democracy.

From now on, when kids in Illinois play rock paper scissors, know that their rock is Dolostone.     

lightsChestnuts roasting over an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose and Christmas lights! Nothing quite embodies the holiday season like driving home when the sun has set and seeing houses bursting with Christmas lights and decorations. This season, neighborhoods are not the only places lit up with the holiday spirit. Multiple locations and festivals create wonderful light shows all over Illinois during December and January. Embrace the holiday season and make memories with loved ones by visiting these colorful and bright light shows. Here are some of the best Christmas light displays to visit in the state: 

corn mazeJames Bond, the legendary spy, has now been immortalized in a legendary way. An extraordinarily detailed corn maze was created on a farm in Illinois to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the iconic agent’s first film Dr. No. The maze features the five actors who have portrayed 007 over the years: Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery, Daniel Craig and Piece Brosnan. The corn maze is located on Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove. Every year the Illinois farm creates a masterful corn maze, and in 2022 they decided to celebrate James Bond.  

The maze was shaken, not stirred, as it was created to also feature a Bond girl, a Monaco casino and an Aston Martin car driven by 007. The corn maze is distinguished as the world’s largest corn maze, it stretches 10 miles and spans over a 28-acre area. Those who came to visit the maze needed all the skills of a great spy to work their way through it, as the maze is actually created out of 4 smaller mazes, each one having its own dedicated in and out path. The maze was created using state of the art design and planting technology. Last year the Richardson Farm depicted the famous band “The Beatles” in their corn. Every year Illinoisans wait in anticipation to see what the farmers will create next, and hopes are high for another spectacular maze in 2023. 

The corn maze was open September through October of this year, and the amazing design of James Bond through the decades drew a lot of media attention to the Illinois farm. As fall season comes to a close and the holiday season is upon us, the Richardson Farm is switching gears from corn to pine. The Richardson Christmas Tree Farm will be opening the day after thanksgiving, and those who enjoyed the spy-level maze can now enjoy getting a tree with their families for the holidays.

Those who wish to visit the farm can visit their website here.          

landmarks awardsWhen thinking of visiting Chicago, the first thing that comes to mind might be the Sears Tower, the Bean or the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. These are all famous landmarks of the city. Landmarks are a staple of towns and cities, and are the most recognizable aspects of a town that can draw in tourists or fill residents with pride. Landmarks in any town deserve to be recognized and preserved, which is exactly what the Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards accomplish. Multiple locations in Illinois have been chosen for the 2022 Awards.

This year was the 29th annual anniversary of the awards program, which celebrates preservation efforts in Illinois. The winners are chosen by a jury of preservation professionals across all of Illinois, who select locations based off of the positive impact on their community, the way it inspires others to save places, and the degree to which it aligns with Landmarks Illinois’ mission. Landmarks Illinois was established in 1971 and is the state’s leading voice for historic preservation. They help communities all over the state save the important places in their lives through a wide range of programs, such as the Preservation Awards.

This year awards such as the Award for Advocacy, the Award for Restoration and the Award for Rehabilitation were given out, among others. The Award for Advocacy was bestowed upon Hotel Belleville in Belleville. The 91-year-old former hotel has been rehabilitated into an affordable housing development called “Lofts on the Square.” The Award for Restoration was given to the Chicago Cultural Center Grand Army of the Republic Rooms. This building is Chicago’s main public library, and has undergone $15 million in restoration to preserve its original features. The Award for Rehabilitation was granted to Crown Brew Coffee Co. in Marion. The coffee shop opened in October 2020 in a 120-year-old building. The coffee shop was rehabilitated by its owners, and was the first business to open in a city-led downtown revitalization effort, proving what is possible when local governments and business owners come together for their town’s economic development.            

To see the full list of 2022 recipients of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards you can visit here.

facebooktwitteryoutube