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Midway Village Museum, Rockford, IL

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Who doesn't love history? You can find just that, in abundance, at the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, IL. This village has 26 structures and gardens in it, all spread over 148 acres. The village is representative of a rural community that lived in this area around 1890-1910.

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Visit on the weekend if you can, and you'll see docents in period clothing leading tours and describing what life was like for the people of the day.

The Midway Village Museum describes itself as the "best institution for collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the Rockford region. [It] is committed to educating and enriching our community by providing state-of-the-art exhibits, programs and events."

And they carry out their mission very well. One of the stories they tell is about what it was like to be a newly-arrived immigrant in Rockford, IL. You can hear the stories of the people who came over. They will tell you what it meant to pack your suitcase and come to America, the country "over there." You can also learn what it was like to apply for a job in the furniture factory, a great achievement if you could get it.

If you want to know what life was like in the 1840s in Rockford, then listen to the stories of how Rockford became an important regional center of government, industry and commerce as quickly as 20 years after it was founded.

But don't doubt there was fun in Rockford too! You can find out the story of the Rockford Peaches, one of four charter teams of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, right here at the museum.

And fun too is the story of the sock monkey, those red heeled socks. You can hear how the seemless sock invention actually came about (and no, we're not going to tell you, you'll have to find that out for yourself). Rockford was to become known as "the home of the Sock Monkey."

If you love old doll's houses (and what lady of a certain age doesn't?) there's a museum here with 30 miniature homes that represents different countries around the world.

Get a calendar of events of what's going on for the upcoming year at the Midway Village Museum from their website at www.midwayvillage.com

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