Museums in Evanston (Part One)

Museums in Evanston

Did you miss going to museums during the Pandemic?
During the last two years, many museums have had to resort to an online presence, a digital tour, or perhaps have had to completely close. Now, everything is slowly opening.

The following three museums in Evanston are unique and out of the ordinary. They are definitely worth visiting in person, each offering a physical, accessible experience. Each has survived Covid-19 and is waiting for you to arrive.

The American Toby Jug Museum

The American Toby Jug Museum has the largest collection of Toby and Character Jugs in the world, housing over 8,000 jugs which are displayed in ninety-seven cabinets.

You might be wondering what a Toby Jug is. You have probably seen one, but you didn’t know its name.

The Toby Jug is a ceramic pitcher made in the shape of an animal or person. Each Toby Jug is fashioned to mirror and chronical its culture by depicting the fictional and non-fictional characters of its time. In this way, each Toby Jug is a piece of art with a rich history.

The Toby Jug has been around since the 1760s. The Toby Jug was first created in England and quickly became a popular sight in taverns and pubs. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the demand for the Toby Jug grew, and Toby Jugs were made by over 200 different craftsmen. Over time, they arrived in France and Germany, crossing the ocean to America, as well. In the 21st century, it should be noted that they have become less popular and thus more valuable.

The American Toby Jug Museum originated in 1947 when fifteen-year-old Steve Mullins bought six jugs. By the 1950s, the collection had grown to nearly 100.

In 1980, Steve had collected more than 300 jugs, which were carefully moved to his office in downtown Chicago. The jugs were displayed beautifully in cases that were built to display these precious objects; it was already a mini-museum.

The collection grew to over 2,000 jugs by 1995 and more than 3,500 jugs by 2003. Clearly, these Toby Jugs needed a home of their own where they could grow and multiply.

In 2005, the American Toby Jug Museum opened its doors, and today, in 2022, the impressive American Toby Jug Museum houses over 8,000 jugs! Included in the collection is a 40-inch-tall Toby, the largest in the world; a 3/8- inch-tall Toby, the smallest in the world; and a Toby created in the year 1760, the oldest in the world.

The impressive American Toby Jug Museum provides information about the history and significance of Toby Jars. Experts at the Museum offer free lectures, and general admission is free as well!

Mitchell Museum of the American Indian

Founded in 1977, this Museum focuses very specifically on the arts, the culture, and the history of First Nation peoples and Native Americans from the USA and Canada.

Over 9,000 artifacts and art are exhibited. Spanning eras and geographical locations, often using a personal perspective, fascinating stories are told and shown as we are led into the lives of the Native American people. We begin to understand that there is not one, that there are diverse cultures: the people of the Plains, the Great Lakes, the Southwest, the Northwest Coast, the Woodlands, and the Arctic.

On display are objects from the context of their daily life: canoes, baskets, beadwork, weavings, dolls, bone carvings, and much more.
This Museum offers wonderful programs and activities, often given by Native American artists and scholars.

There are demonstrations and workshops, lectures and tours, story-telling, and creative projects. You will find “touching tables” a hands-on experience for visitors of all ages.

There are performances of music and dance. There is a library housing over 5,000 books and periodicals.

Cultivate Urban Rainforest & Gallery

Cultivate is, above all, a plant museum created and founded by a woman named Louise Rosenberg in 2015. It is also a plant shop that coaxes plants to grow into beautiful works of art for your home. It is a school for “Plant Parenthood” classes for people who want to learn how to better care for their plants. It is also an art gallery, a venue for jazz, poetry, and art discussions. But Cultivate is, above all, a plant museum.

Cultivate has a unique environment that is a delight to the senses. When you enter the shop, your skin will react to the change in humidity and temperature; your nose will detect the smells of the earth, the newly watered dirt, the leaves, and the scent of the flowers. You will be surrounded by a rainbow of greens and textures ranging from soft ferns and plump succulents to sharp cactus needles.

Do you have plants in your home? Are you keeping them healthy and happy? Cultivate cares about your home plants and offers several services. The specialized staff at Cultivate are plant consultants, and they will answer any questions or concerns that you have about your plants. If needed, they will repot your plants for you, and they will make sure that your plants are set up to receive the optimum amount of water and light.

Cultivate Urban Rainforest and Gallery is concerned with the greater environment and has a green approach to running its business. They only use organic fertilizers in their soils; their paint is friendly to the environment, they recycle, compost and only use LED lighting.
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In Conclusion:

Museums can give you the gift of new knowledge, and they can lead you deeper into subjects that are already familiar to you. When you visit a museum, you are offered a point of view that has been curated, pruned, and displayed. You might respond by studying further, deeper, and you might find yourself taking part in a larger cultural discussion. Either way now is a great time to reevaluate where you want to go and what you want to see. Any one of these three museums is the place to start!

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