Sunday, September 23, 2018


        Member and supporters of the Museum, Arvella Guidotti (right front) is shown here with other members and friends of the Museum during Kouri's Night at Kouri's Pub in Pekin.

         Kouri's Night was recently held at Kouri's Pub in Pekin to benefit the Tazewell County Museum. 10% of all tickets went to the Museum. Thanks you Kouri's!

                          Pictured left to right: Kylie Heruth, a Museum volunteer and member and Nora and Gene Naatgehoren, also members.

Saturday, June 30, 2018


Left: This is how the Riverboat Columbia looked on July 5, 1918.

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons

A remembrance of the fateful disaster of the Steamboat Columbia was held today at the Pekin Riverfront Part. Taking part in today's ceremony were local dignitaries, state dignitaries, music, an author, and family members.

Right: Members of the Tazewell Area Ceremonial Team honor Guard presented the colors.

It was a hot day at the Pekin Riverfront with temperatures in the 90's, but that did not keep the Remembrance of the July 5, 1918 sinking of the Riverboat Columbia from taking place killing 87 People, 57 of whom from Pekin.

Left: David Zimmerman, Tazewell County Board Chairman was Master of Ceremonies for today's event.

The Columbia on what was suppose to be a day of celebration, ended with 87 people killed when the steamer sank near Creve Couer. The Pekin South Side Social Club sponsored an Illinois River excursion heading from Kingston Mines to just north of Peoria. The steamer carrying over 500 men, women, and children hit a tree stump around 7:30 pm on July 5, 1918 and sank.

Right: Call to service of the 100th Anniversary of the Columbia Riverboat Disaster by Judie Noyes playing a shofar Horn.

Left: Special Music by violinist, Ginsey, playing Concerto in A Minor, Op3.

Left: Invocation by Reverend Kathy Barrett of Kingston Mines, Il.

Pledge of Allegiance was spoken by David Zimmerman.

Right: National Anthem was sung by Elisabeth Sandoval.

Left: Bagpiper presentation by Joey Britts, Playing AMAZING GRACE, and BY THE WATERS EDGE.

Left: Pekin Mayor John McCabe leading a moment of silence and reading a City of Pekin proclamation from 1918.

Right: Pekin Mayor McCabe reads a  City of Pekin proclamation from 1918.

Right: State Representative Tim Butler from the 87th District was one of the speakers at today's ceremony.

Left: State Representative Michael Unes talks at today's ceremony.

Left: State Senator David Koehler speaks at today's ceremony.

Right: IL State Historical Society Executive Director William Furry speaks at today's event.

Left: Ken Zurski- Author of THE SINKING OF THE COLUMBIA, and his new book coming out in August WRECK OF THE COLUMBIA, speaks at today's ceremony.

Right: Bryan Soady reads a narrative of a compilation of letters sent following the disaster.

Left: Reading of the roll of victims by Marilyn Leyland, past president of the Peoria Historical Society, and Kingston Mines Mayor Steve Hedge.

Right: Timber Hollis Fire Department rings the bell for each victim.

Left: Timber Hollis Fire Department rung the bell each time for all victims of the Columbia Disaster.

Right: Conclusion by Christal Dagit, President of the Tazewell County Museum.

Retirement of the Colors by the Tazewell Area Ceremonial Team Honor Guard.

Left: A presentation of flowers was laid at the base of the Illinois State Historical Marker on Main Street by Sue Beeney, descendent of John Grewey.

Right: Descendents of Lucille Bruder Adcock, the last survivor of the Columbia Riverboat throw flowers into the Illinois River in remembrance of all those who lost their lives in the Columbia Disaster.

                                                      Children place flowers in the River

Sunday, May 13, 2018


Photos and Story by TCM Ed Emmons

Left: Director of the Illinois State Historical Society in Springfield, Stu Fliege was the Special Guest Speaker.

The Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center and the Pekin Womens Club, GFWC Illinois hosted A Illinois Bicentennial Tea, celebrating 200 Years in Illinois at the historic Pekin Park Pavilion, Mineral Springs Park, Saturday afternoon. Special Guest Speaker was Stu Fliege, Director of the Illinois State Historical Society in Springfield, IL.

There was also a quilt display, fine art by artist Morgan Elser, and music. The Tea was catered by the Emerald Tea Room of East Peoria and Common Ground Coffee, Bakery and lunch of Delavan,  along with volunteers for the Museum.

Right: Special Music by violinist, Ginsey.

Left: A quilt display by Joyce McCloud,Jan Brown, and Debbie Lathrop, presenting quilts representative of the frontier era and patriotic themes.

Local artist and Sculptress Morgan Elser also had a Abraham Lincoln Bust on display. It was on loan by the Delavan Community Historical Society.

Left: Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center Director and Tazewell County Representative for the Illinois Bi-centennial was the MC for the event and gave a Toast to the State of Illinois 200th Anniversary.

Right: A Toast is given to the State of Illinois 200th Anniversary.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


                           Astronaut Scott Altman pictured with a bronze sculpture of himself in 2013. Photo by "Ed Emmons". Sculpture done by artist Morgan Elser.

Story and photos by Tazewell County Museum Ed Emmons

Pekin's own Scott Altman will be inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame in April at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He will be the 97th Astronaut voted in. This will be latest honor for Scott, as he has been honored by the Tazewell County Museum and has the Scott Altman Room located there, as well as many items on loan from NASA on display.  The Elementary School in Sunset Hills has been renamed the Scott Altman Elementary School, where currently a bust of Altman sits in the lobby of the school on loan from the Museum.

In 2010 Scott was honored by riding in the Pekin Marigold Festival. In March of 2013 a bronze bust of Scott was unveiled in his honor, done by artist Morgan Elser of Delavan. The bust currently sits in the lobby of the Scott Altman school on loan from the Museum. Pekin has also honored him by signs into Pekin, saying Hometown of Astronaut Scott Altman. Scott has also has been the recipient of many other awards as an Astronaut and that of a fighter pilot. That information will be on here from NASA.

Here are a few photos from over the years on his trips back to Pekin.

Left: Scott posing with the unbronzed sculpture of him in July of 2010.

                Right: Scott riding in the 2010 Pekin Marigold Festival.

Right: Scott at the renaming of the Sunset Hills Grade School, to the Scott Altman Elementary School.


Left: Scott posing in the newly named Scott Altman Room at the Tazewell County Museum.

I recently interviewed Scott about being inducted into the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame and what if means to him. I ask Scott: What are your thoughts on being inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame? Scott said,"I am incredibly honored to be selected to join this group. Looking back on my career I can see how much I owe to all the folks who have made this possible, to my crews to the team at Goddard Space Flight Center to the Mission Operations folks who trained us and also watched over the missions. Spaceflight is truly a team effort and I believe this is really a shared honor with all those folks."

I ask Scott: How does it feel to be in the Hall of Fame considering the great Astronauts that made it there before you? Scott said," My heroes are part of the Hall, from Neil Armstrong who sent me an email during my last mission and with whom I share my Navy fighter pilot experience, having been in the same fighter squadron, to Hoot Gibson, Space Shuttle Astronaut extraordinaire to John Young, moon walker who was still in the office when I arrived. It is heady company and I am very grateful but humbled to put my career alongside theirs."

I ask Scott: Growing up as a kid did you ever think of being an Astronaut and if you did, I'm sure you could have never imagined the success and accolades bestowed upon you someday? Scott said, "I always wanted to be a pilot, and in my career found myself looking to keep going higher and faster. The shuttle was the ultimate answer to that dream. When I was 10 and watched the first moon landings, I never dreamed that one day I would be involved in the space program. Astronauts seemed so unreal to me, a different class of humans. It was when we went to Houston as part of my Test Pilot School field trip and met some Navy Astronauts that I realized Astronaut's were actually real people, and that this was what I really wanted to do next!"

I ask Scott: I know your involved with the Astronaut Scholarship program, tell me a little about that? Scott said, " The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation was formed by the original Mercury Seven to help motivate the next generation of scientist, engineers, and Astronauts. Every year a class of deserving college students is selected for a significant amount of scholarship money. This last class had 43 scholars selected! The Foundation's mission is to aid the United States in retaining its world leadership in technology and innovation by supporting the very best and brightest scholars in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics's while commemorating the legacy of America's pioneering Astronauts."

I ask Scott: From my perspective your a big part of the Tazewell County Museum, what would you tell Tazewell County residents or any Museum, why its important to support Museum's and save the past? Scott said, " I think by preserving and celebrating the past we get a better understanding of where we are now and how we got here. Knowing that can help us prepare for the future and inspire the next generation who will stand on the shoulders of those who came.

If you want to read more about Scott, here is his Biography, courtesy of  NASA.

PERSONAL DATA: Born August 15, 1959 in Lincoln, Illinois.  Married to the former Jill Shannon Loomer of Tucson, Arizona.  They have three children.  Hometown is Pekin, Illinois, where his parents, Fred and Sharon Altman, currently reside.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Pekin Community High School, Pekin, Illinois in 1977; received bachelor of science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois in May 1981, and a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in June 1990.
ORGANIZATIONS: University of Illinois Alumni Association, Sigma Chi Alumni Association, life member Association of Naval Aviation and Military Order of the World Wars.
SPECIAL HONORS: Defense Superior Service MedalLegion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Strike/Flight Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, 1987  Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Tactical Aviation as selected by the Association of Naval Aviation.
EXPERIENCE: Commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy in August 1981, received his Navy wings of gold in February 1983.  Based at NAS Miramar, Altman completed two cruises flying the F-14A Tomcat.  In August 1987, he was selected for the Navy Test Pilot School and graduated with Test Pilot School Class 97 in June 1990.  Deploying in 1992 withVF-31 and the new F-14D, he was awarded the Navy Air Medal for his role as a strike leader flying over Southern Iraq.  Following his return from this deployment, he was selected for the astronaut program.  He has logged over 7000 flight hours in more than 40 types of aircraft.
NASA EXPERIENCE: Altman reported to the Johnson Space Center in March 1995 as an astronaut candidate.  He was the pilot on STS-90 (1998) and STS-106 (2000), and the mission commander on STS-109 (2002) and STS-125 (2009).  Following two years as Shuttle Branch Chief for the Astronaut Office and lead for the Cockpit Avionics Upgrade, he was assigned on temporary duty to NASA Headquarters as Deputy Director, Requirements Division of the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate.  On returning to Houston, and following STS-125, he served as the Chief of the Exploration Branch of the Astronaut Office.  A veteran of four space flights, Altman has logged over 51 days in space.  Altman retired from NASA in September 2010 to join Asrc Research and Technology Solutions in Greenbelt, Maryland.
SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-90 Neurolab (April 17 to May 3, 1998).  During the 16-day Spacelab flight the seven person crew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia served as both experiment subjects and operators for 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system.
STS-106 Atlantis (September 8-20, 2000).  During the 12-day mission, the crew successfully prepared the International Space Station for the arrival of the first permanent crew.
STS-109 Columbia (March 1-12, 2002).  STS-109 was the fourth Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission. The STS-109 crew successfully upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope leaving it with a new power unit, a new camera and new solar arrays. HST servicing and upgrade was accomplished during a total of 5 EVAs in 5 consecutive days.  STS-109 orbited the Earth 165 times, and covered 3.9 million miles in over 262 hours, culminating in a night landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
STS-125 Atlantis (May 11-24, 2009) was the fifth and final Hubble servicing mission.  The 19 year old telescope spent seven days in the Shuttle’s cargo bay undergoing an overhaul conducted over five back to back spacewalks.  The crew overcame frozen bolts, stripped screws, and stuck handrails to complete all mission objectives.  The refurbished Hubble Telescope now has four new or rejuvenated scientific instruments, new batteries, new gyroscopes, and a new Command and Data Handling computer. The STS-125 mission traveled over 5.3 million miles in 197 Earth orbits, and ended with a day landing at Edwards AFB following two days of wave offs due to poor weather in Florida.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


                  King of the Mardi Gras Celebration Dennis Peacock poses with his wife Brenda

The Tazewell County Museum recently held their annual Mardi Gras celebration February 13, at Avanti's in Pekin. Their was a luncheon, fellowship, fun, and of course the crowning of the King and Queen.

  Left: A Mardi Gras Cake symbolizes the traditional Mardi colors, purple, green, and gold. It also has beads in the middle, and a baby hidden somewhere within the cake, which mean good luck in the coming year to whom ever finds it.

Right: The Mardi Gras King and Queen pose together