Museum hosting Chautauqua series

ROCHELLE — The John Tilton story, straw sculpture, egg art and marbles. Those are the four topics that will be discussed during the annual Chautauqua series at the Flagg Township Museum next week.
The series will be held from 7 to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, at the museum, located at 518 Fourth Avenue in downtown Rochelle. A different speaker will address a different subject every night.
According to museum director Kathy Johnson, the library has held the Chautauqua series for several years. The purpose of the series, which dates back to the early 1900s, is to “inform and educate” local residents in an informal way about historical and cultural events. They are traditionally held in small towns.
Johnson said Aryln and Deborah VanDyke attended a Chautauqua in another town a few years ago and liked it so much they suggested the local museum conduct its own series.
“We have different topics (and speakers) every year,” Johnson said. “We try to get topics that we think people will be interested in.”
Johnson added that the museum board, including assistant director Jan DeVore, chooses the topics to be held.
• On Monday, March 20, Franz Volz will talk about sculptures. Voltz created the popular Statue of Liberty straw sculpture on Ill. 38 by Sullivans’s last fall. He will talk about the international competitions he has participated in, as well as his life as a sculptor and artist. He will also display some examples of his work.
• On Tuesday, March 21, Sally Sawicki will talk about egg art. She will display creations made from tiny finch eggs to oversized ostrich eggs. Sawicki will talk about her personal collection as well as her mother’s, showing samples from both.
• On Wednesday, March 22, Ken Wise will tell the John Tilton story, who Wise calls “the Donald Trump of Rochelle.” Wise will describe the legacy Tilton left behind as well as his influence on the City of Rochelle.
• Finally, on Thursday, March 23, Chuck Werstine’s topic will be marbles. Werstine, a master marble maker, will give a history of those beautiful glass creations and also demonstrate how marbles are made.
Johnson said the speakers will talk for about 50 minutes, then answer questions from the audience. Depending on the topic and the weather, she added the audience can vary from 10 to as many as 50 people.
All programs cost $2.
In the past, topics have included electric cars and the history of Rochelle.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Thursday through Sunday. Thursdays are free.
For more information, call 815-562-3040 or go to or [email protected]

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