Special Exhibition Gallery
Color & Light: Charles Warner's Miniature Cathedrals | Open in-person and virtually | November 26–January 8
Experience Mundelein resident Charles Warner’s (1884–1964) hand-carved folk art cathedrals, created in remembrance of his childhood in Poland. Each of Warner’s five models capture his impressions of the architecture and vibrant colors of the Old World. Ranging from three to five feet in height, the cathedrals are painted in a rainbow of hues with towers, spires and colorful windows. In Color and Light: Charles Warner’s Miniature Cathedrals, enjoy 360-degree views of the cathedrals and, for the first time, take a virtual look inside at the meticulously decorated interiors, filled with light and color.
Plan Your Visit Virtual Exhibit Related Events
Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad | Open in-person and virtually | January 28–March 19
Many consider the Underground Railroad to be the first great freedom movement in the Americas and the first time when people of different races and faiths worked together in harmony for freedom and justice. Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has spent more than a decade meticulously researching “fugitive” slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. From the cotton plantations south of Natchitoches, Louisiana, all the way north to the Canadian border, this series of photographs helps us imagine what the long road to freedom may have looked like as seen through the eyes of one of those who made this epic journey. Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad encourages visitors to learn more, ask questions, and open a dialogue on the subject, and in the end, provide a better understanding of our origins. This exhibition features beautifully dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad.
Photographer credit: ©Jeanine Michna-Bales
This exhibition was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Plan Your Visit Related Events
Permanent Exhibitions & Gift Shop
Prehistoric Lake County
The history of Earth’s life is an incredible story that began some 4 billion years ago with life’s origin in primordial seas. Since that time, an untold number of forms have evolved and fallen to extinction. The only records of their existence are the remains—or fossils—they left behind. Entombed within the rocks beneath our feet are clues to this ancient world and the history of our own region.
See the Dunn Museum’s oldest artifact, a fossil rock estimated to be 420 million years old
Learn more about the dinosaurs that lived in Lake County, and get up close and personal with our very own Dryptosaurus
Help excavate an ice age dig site
The First People
The story of Native Americans in Lake County stretches back 12,000 years and continues today. Over this long period, the indigenous inhabitants adapted, innovated, persevered and survived through change and adversity. Today, people from various tribal nations call this area home and they continue to sustain their cultures, languages and traditions.
Explore a full-scale reproduction of a wigwam, built with guidance from local Native American tribe members on authenticity
Learn about the lifeways of Native Americans in Lake County through the Museum’s remarkable collection of artifacts
Meet Native Americans who continue to call Lake County home
An American Frontier
Settlers—both American and immigrant—began to arrive in Lake County in the early 1830s. They found a region rich in available, cheap land. The black soil, clear water, and abundant forests of oak and hickory supplied the resources needed to build homes and communities. Many of these early settlers would later go off to fight in the American Civil War, the majority of which fought in the 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
Hear the individual stories of Lake County's early settlers
Discover Lake County’s role in the abolitionist movement and Underground Railroad
Visit a reproduction of a one-room schoolhouse and learn why they were so important to early Lake County communities
Navigate historic maps to see Lake County settlement over time
Learn the stories of life on the homefront when nearly 2,000 men from Lake County enlisted to fight in the Civil War
See an authentic Gatling gun and artifacts from the Civil War era
Innovations and Preservation
In the decades following the Civil War, the rapid expansion of railroads and highways brought a boom in industry, agriculture and population, and the rise of the preservation movement. People came to Lake County to live and raise families, and to work and play, and many were inspired to preserve its rich historic and natural heritage.
Have a picnic in an old lotus boat, a favorite legacy piece brought over from the former Lake County Discovery Museum
Learn about the early motion picture industry in Waukegan and see the first practical 35mm motion picture machine
Try your hand at developing Lake County at our interactive play table
Under a canopy of leaves and surrounded by a beautiful mural of a woodland, visitors will hear firsthand from Lake County Forest Preserve employees in the video, Excellence is in our Nature. Learn about the important work being done to preserve and restore land, contribute to the scientific community, provide recreation opportunities, and educate the next generation on caring for open space in Lake County.
Watch Mentioned Video
Experience a selection of highlights from our current and past special exhibitions virtually. To view the full collection of our current exhibition, please visit us in-person.
Virtual exhibits will not open in Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge Legacy.
View Our Virtual Exhibitions Related Events