Hidden Gems at Western Illinois University

While many of you know about the stellar programs, performances, concerts, lectures, athletics events and more that take place almost daily on the Western Illinois University campuses, there are some incredible “hidden gems” that campus and community members can enjoy.

One of the many programs at Horn Field include nature walks.

One of the many programs offered at Western’s Horn Field Campus includes nature walks.

The Leslie F. Malpass Library Archives and Special Collections Unit houses a treasure trove of University, community and regional history. From University yearbooks and newspapers to photographs to scholarly articles, Archives is the keeper of WIU history. The Special Collections document the cultural, economic and natural heritage of west central Illinois. Special-interest centers include the Center for Regional Authors, the Baxter-Snyder Center for Icarian Studies and the Center for Hancock County History including the Mormon Collection.

Publications of the Decker Press and a number of Civil War manuscripts are also part of Special Collections, along with collections related to naturalist Elton Fawkes, singer Burl Ives, historian Philip D. Jordan, and Congressmen Thomas Railsback and Lane Evans, among others. Regional materials, such as county and town histories, oral history tapes, diaries, letters, maps, photographs and newspaper clippings can be found in Archives and Special Collections. The unit is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Archives also hosts a comprehensive digital image database, which can be found on its website, wiu.edu/libraries/archives.

The University Art Gallery, located directly behind Sherman Hall, is open to the public, including special Saturday hours. The Gallery provides a permanent collection of art, and maintains a full schedule of exhibits featuring the works of visiting artists, as well as those works done by our talented faculty and students. Current exhibits on display include Prints and Drawings from the University Art Gallery Collection and the Department of Art Juried Student Exhibition. Special art programs, such as the recently introduced family activity, Sock Monkey Saturdays, are also sponsored by the Art Gallery.

The Art Gallery is open from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and from 1-4 p.m. Saturdays.

Western’s Horn Field Campus, just south of Macomb, is a 92 acre retreat that includes woodlands, prairie, and several miles of nature trails, as well as a high ropes challenge course, a teams course and an accessible climbing and rapelling wall. Facilities, which include a lodge and cabins, are open year-round. Horn Field Campus provides a beautiful, peaceful setting for programs, events, research and relaxation. This year, Horn Field Campus will celebrate 50 years as part of the University, during which time it has served innumerable individuals as a place for learning and recreation.

Western Illinois University has so much to offer its students, faculty, staff, visitors and area residents. As the weather warms up and spring appears to be upon us, please take a moment to come out and take a walk around our beautiful campus. You are always welcome!