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Midway Village Museum Brings Historic Images To Your Computer

Rockford’s Midway Village Museum is making it easier for people to access historic images from the city’s past.

The Museum often is asked for photos to help history buffs for family trees, business research, and school projects. Previously, you would have needed an appointment. Now, more than a thousand of the Museum’s most popular images are available online.

Laura Furman, Curator of Collections at Midway Village, says the project was made possible due to support from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. It included the ability to digitize photos captured on rare glass-plate negatives.

Credit Jenna Dooley
Laura Furman shows an example of one of the glass plate negatives. The Museum was able to digitize images from these plates for its new online collection.

“We didn’t have the right scanning equipment to scan them, and so they were kind of stuck in their format," Furman said. "There are some really charming pictures of community life in the early 1900s.”

Other artifacts include early 20th century postcards of Rockford, Civil War letters sent by local soldiers, and images related to the Rockford Peaches.

The collection is available at the Midway Village Museum’s website.

The digital photos include a watermark identifying the Midway Village Museum. Photos still can be requested without the watermark for a small fee.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.