Thursday, November 10, 2005

Illinois History Video Fair set for Nov. 30th

As part of its 26th annual Illinois History Symposium, the Illinois State Historical Society will host the 2nd Annual Illinois History Video Fair in the Carnegie Room at Lincoln Library in Springfield, 326 South Seventh Street, on November 30.

Five feature documentary films will be shown throughout the day beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Illinois History Video Fair is free and open to the public. Teachers, students, seniors, and school groups are welcome to attend.

The Video Fair includes the premiere of The Sangamon River: A Sense of Place, at 7 p.m. This 54-minute program, produced by the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Television Office, examines the people, ecology, history, and economy of the Sangamon River Valley. Filming for The Sangamon River began in January 1994, and features many residents of Sangamon, Menard, and Macon counties.

Documentaries include:
  • Expo — Magic of the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 (12:30 and 4:30 p.m.) is a 2-hour film narrated by Gene Wilder that explores the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus’ discovery of America. Features hundreds of archival photographs and dramatic reenactments.

  • Artifacts & Heavy Timber: The Reconstruction of Fort Massac (9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) is a one-hour documentary that explores the $4.7 million, three-year rebuilding of the frontier military fort in Metropolis, Illinois, which was completed in 2003. Included in the film are historical works of archaeologist Paul Maynard, whose 84-year-old findings provided a blueprint for the historically accurate replica. Springfield archaeologist and preservationist Floyd Mansberger, who worked on the project, is featured.

  • The Macomb Story (10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) is a re-mastered and updated video version of a film of the same name, produced in 1984. This pictorial history about Macomb, Illinois, includes older material from the first film and picks up where it left off by focusing on Macomb’s growth and development since the film was first produced.

  • Prairie Tides: The Building of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (11:30 a.m.) chronicles the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and its impact on Illinois as a frontier state. The film documents how the canal helped transform Illinois into a state of commerce and industry.

  • The Sangamon River: A Sense of Place (7 p.m.) profiles the ecological, economic and cultural history of the Sangamon River, and features interviews with commercial fishermen, farmers, environmentalists, poets, and merchants who’ve made the river valley their home. Charles Schweighauser, the producer of the film, will introduce the program and lead a discussion afterwards.
For more information about the Illinois History Video Fair, the Illinois History Symposium, or the Illinois State Historical Society, call (217) 525-2781, or visit the Society’s website at

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