Speaker Series
2024 Schedule

MCHS Announces Speaker Series for 2024

The Madison County Historical Society (MCHS) has announced the schedule for its 2024 Speaker Series. MCHS presents four programs annually, all free and open to the public. The dates are all Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. and the location is at the Main Street Community Center, 1003 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Illinois. The series entertains and educates hundreds of area residents each year on topics that explore local or state history.

The year 2024 will begin with an archaeology presentation by Larry Kinsella on Sunday, February 11. Kinsella will discuss last summer’s “Chip-a-Canoe” project, where volunteers spent 451 hours turning a felled tree into a canoe using only hand-made stone tools. Although others have made canoes in recent years, those were done using fire. In analyzing the few existing dugout canoes from the prehistoric past, Kinsella theorized that they did not use fire to construct these early canoes. Instead, he believes they used only stone tools, from taking down the tree to shaping the canoe, and this experimental archaeological project set out to prove that premise.

On Sunday, April 14, the topic will be “Abraham Lincoln and Gustave Koerner at the Crossroads of History.” Gustave Koerner may be one of Southwestern Illinois’ least known, yet most influential Illinoisians from his era. A German immigrant who made Belleville his home, he was a close confident of Abraham Lincoln. Presenting this fascinating story will be Jack LeChien and Mollie McKenzie, co-chairs of the Gustave Koerner House Restoration in Belleville.

Historian Stacy Lynn will present another program with a Lincoln connection on Sunday, June 9, with the topic, “Loving Lincoln: Stories about Women and Abraham Lincoln.” Lynn recently completed a manuscript for Southern Illinois University Press which explores various women in President Lincoln’s personal life including his female legal clients, his political constituency of women, and a few of the women who shaped his legacy. The book, scheduled for publication in January 2025, is part biography, part memoir, and also includes personal stories about Lynn’s relationship with Lincoln through her experience as an editor of Lincoln’s papers for 20 years.

Completing the series will be a program on Sunday, August 11, by local historian Cindy Reinhardt on “Famous but Forgotten.” Reinhardt explores the lives of Madison County residents that were nationally or internationally known during their lifetime but are now largely forgotten. The presentation includes inventors, authors, entertainers, politicians, athletes and others who once called Madison County home.

The Madison County Historical Society owns and operates the MCHS History Museum and Archival Library at 801 N. Main Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. The museum is currently closed for renovation, but library hours are Mon.-Tues. by appointment, Wed.-Fri. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sun. 1-4 p.m. The Society preserves documentation and artifacts of Madison County and provides a variety of educational programming including a summer history camp for children. Founded in 1921, MCHS is a 501(c)3 charitable organization that receives no public funding.

For more information on the 2024 Speaker Series or to learn more about Madison County history, visit the Society’s website https://madcohistory.org/, visit its Facebook page (Madison County Historical Society), or call 618-656-6579.