Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst at the Elmhurst Historical Museum focuses on the author’s life from 1919-1928 when he and his family lived in Elmhurst, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. The exhibit follows Sandburg’s professional and personal endeavors during this prolific period. Sandburg’s Elmhurst years were a transitional period for him personally, professionally, and politically.
The museum sought to provide an in-depth examination of Sandburg, Elmhurst’s most notable resident, by delving into his life and career during his time in Elmhurst in the 1920s. Museum staff wanted to present Sandburg’s life in a large context, but also provide a more intimate picture of the author’s life. The museum also wanted to portray Sandburg’s wide range as an artist, exhibiting works beyond the poetry of which he’s famous.
In addition to interpretive graphics, signature artifacts, and structural elements, the exhibit incorporates a documentary film, touchscreen interactives, a life-size diorama and video elements. These various features tell the story of Sandburg and his multi-faceted life while engaging visitors in a variety of learning styles.
Though many exhibits on Carl Sandburg have been produced, this is the first project that has delved exclusively into his life and work in the 1920s when he transitioned into a full-time literary professional. Carl Sandburg in Elmhurst helped the museum engage with the broader Chicago community by examining a celebrated national figure through a local lens.