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Enthusiastic Open House for the New Mother Jones Museum

An enthusiastic group of visitors came to the open house event for the new museum. At least 165 streamed through following the re-dedication of the Mother Jones Monument on June 20  and during the 2 hours it was opened on June 21. There were people from as far away as Seattle, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana. People come with treasures, such as the diary of a local coal miner who noted the preparations and attendance at Mother Jones’ funeral.

Our “Stand With Mother Jones” booth was a hit! See the slideshow gallery below of the  fabulous photos and comments. If yours isn’t there, we will continue to add as we get more, so check back. If you have one please send it to and we’ll post it here! And if there is an error here, please let us know.

Pat, Nathan and Mike Prehoda, Springfield, IL: Mike: “Great event! Thanks! Inspiring!”

Sabrina Trupia and Edward Navarre. Sabrina: “I believe her words are as true today as they were back then.”

Susan Niederberger, Bev Lofton and Shelly Hoffman from Missouri NEA near St. Charles, Missouri Hoffman: “Fabulous museum!” Susan: I’m so glad to have come here! I can’t wait to come back with friends!”

Mark and Cindy Waldemer, St. Louis area: “Mother Jones spoke the truth, and truth never ages. This quote from her is as relevant today as then.”

Sean Fulkerson, Chicago, IL and Margaret Fulkerson, Oak Park,IL.

James Finnegan, Mt. Olive, IL: James brought a diary from his grandfather, a treasure for us. “My Grandfather attended the funeral of Mother Jones.”

Ohren Simburger, Mt. Olive, IL, whose grandfather was one of the survivors of the Virden riot, shot in the leg by Thiel gun thugs. His grandfather was a Pallbearer for Mother Jones Funeral.

Judy Griffin (former New Athens,IL teacher leader) & Tammy Houghland, (Belleville,IL IEA) stand with Mother Jones. Judy: “Mt. Olive Teachers invoked her creed.” Tammy wrote: “Mother Jones was right. You ain’t got a damn thing if you ain’t got a union!”

Dennis Surgalski, Detroit, Michigan: “My father met Mother Jones as a breaker boy in the coal fields.” –from Detroit, Michigan

Steve Bottoms from Indiana: “Glad to be here with Mother. Forty Year UMWA member from Indiana.” Steve worked with Rosemary Feurer to complete the Mother Jones film.

Barbara and Olin Chambers, Steelworkers from Des Moines Iowa: “Solidarity Works!”

And here are a few scenes of the event. The large panels are from the Cork Mother Jones Festival which generously allowed us to use their panels which were constructed by volunteer Jim Fitzpatrick. We displayed these until we can get the funding to produce our own museum displays.

We also acknowledge  Freeport Art Museum, which allowed us to use their “Masters of the Muck” exhibit, which included elements from Princeton library’s collection, as well as the collection of Dave Johnson of Merrill, Wisconsin.

Above: Rosemary Feurer brought these large displays from Freeport Illinois, a special collaboration with the Mother Jones Heritage Project and the Museum. Many of the items inside the museum were also loaned from a Freeport Museum display.

The solidarity of our group of volunteers would have made Mother Jones proud. We could not have done this open house without the help of the following people: Nelson Grman, (Staunton, IL –Pres of Museum Board), Joanne Condellone (Edwardsville, IL) Margaret Fulkerson (Oak Park, IL),  Frank Prochaska (Springfield, IL),  Dennis Surgalski (Detroit, Michigan), Juliann Caveny (Benld, IL), Eric Hostettler (Springfield, IL),  Dave Ambrose (Gillespie, IL),   Lia Baratti (Collinsville, IL), Andy Lucker (Alton, IL) , Greg Boozell (Champaign, IL) Gary Fritz (Macomb, IL), Dave Rathke (DeKalb, IL). We thank the Mother Jones Foundation of Springfield, IL and Dorothy Wake for donating books to sell for the event. We’d also like to thank Aimee Scheller, Jim Bone and Melinda Zippay of Mt. Olive city administration for their assistance in setting up on June 19.


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