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Cicada Symphony: A 17-Year Crescendo coming to Libertyville's Dunn Museum

March 21, 2024 10:01 AM
© Jim & Joan Sayre

The Dunn Museum in Libertyville, Illinois is combining a spectacle of nature with a special exhibition. Dedicated to the emergence of the spectacular 17-year periodical cicadas, “Celebrating Cicadas” runs from April 27–August 4.

Every 17 years, billions of periodical cicadas emerge from the ground, creating a natural phenomenon that captures the imagination of people worldwide. The Dunn Museum's exhibition offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the biology, behavior and ecological significance of these remarkable creatures.

Cicadas are expected to emerge in Lake County in late May and early June, once the temperature of the upper 8 inches of soil reaches 64 degrees.

Featuring interactive displays, informative exhibits and captivating visuals, the exhibition provides visitors with an engaging, educational experience. Visitors will discover the secrets of cicada life cycles, learn about their role in local habitats and explore the cultural significance of these insects through folklore and history.

“Cicadas, with their fascinating life cycles and distinct sounds, have captured the interest of many,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves. “Through this exhibition, we hope to inspire curiosity and appreciation for the natural world."

“The Dunn Museum will host special events and educational programs throughout the duration of the exhibition, including guided tours in the forest preserves, hands-on activities and guest lectures by leading experts in entomology and ecology,” said Director of Education Alyssa Firkus. “This fabulous exhibition was designed to capture the interest of visitors of all ages.”

Cicada specimens from the Field Museum dating back to 1939 will be showcased at the exhibit to illustrate the remarkable phenomenon.

The Lake County Forest Preserves, which operates the Dunn Museum, commissioned Samantha Gallagher, a Lake County freelance illustrator, to help with the exhibition. Known as the "bee girl" in second grade due to her fascination with insects, Gallagher employs colored pencils, pastels and textured paper to bring cicadas, moths, birds and other subjects to life.

She encourages residents to “try to coexist” during the emergence. “This happens once every 17 years,” she said. “The cicadas deserve this brief moment of glory after waiting so long.”

Learn About Cicadas  Related Events  Celebrating Cicadas Exhibition

Note to Media:

Want to amplify the buzz around periodical cicadas? A cicada media kit containing photos, FAQs, mp3 recordings of cicada calls and more is available for download. Email Kim Mikus, media and community relations specialist, at

Media contact: Brett Peto or 224-244-3509

Learn more about cicadas:

About the Dunn Museum:

The nationally-accredited Dunn Museum is located at 1899 W. Winchester Road in Libertyville, Illinois. It's dedicated to sharing the entwined stories of people, events and nature through exhibitions, education and community engagement. With a focus on local history, culture and natural environments, the Dunn Museum offers visitors of all ages an enriching and immersive experience.

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