The Lincoln Land Community College Academy of Lifelong Learning and the Illinois State Museum invite the public to upcoming programs in the special bicentennial series “The Culture and Heritage of Illinoisians.” The next presentations will be held March 18 and April 15 at 2 p.m. in the Thorne Deuel Auditorium at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St.
Dr. Michael Wiant will be the featured speaker on Sunday, March 18. In his presentation, “This Land Was Our Land: Native Americans, Globalization and Treaties,” Dr. Wiant will explore the cultural transformation of the Illinois territory on the eve of statehood and how these events reverberate today. He will discuss how quickly the fledging U.S. adopted a large-scale and aggressive strategy for expansion that, in spite of unfamiliar and daunting landscapes, continued westward throughout the 1800s. Immediately, Native American nations, sole residents of the continent for thousands of years, faced an unprecedented challenge to their territory and way of life.
Dr. Wiant recently retired after a career during which he not only served as the interim director of the Illinois State Museum, but previously was chairman of the museum’s anthropology/archeology department and director of the Illinois State Museum at Dickson Mounds. An archeologist, Wiant has explored the long history of Native Americans in the Illinois River Valley for more than 40 years. His research interests range from stone tools to changes in the Illinois landscape, and he shares his insights through public lectures, teaching and publication.
Tara McClelland McAndrew, a local historian and playwright, presents “Becoming a State: The Illinois Way” on Sunday, April 15. Her presentation stems from her continuing study of Illinois’ pursuit of statehood in the early 1800s. She will discuss the wayward way Illinois became a state and how our first lawmakers in Kaskaskia started from scratch in creating state government. She will share both facts and humor that have emerged from her research.
McAndrew grew up in Sangamon County and has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, working in a variety of media including radio, print, children’s literature, plays and documentaries. Her work has been produced on Illinois Public Radio, NPR, Christian Science Monitor Radio, BBC, Soundprint and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and printed in dozens of national, regional and local publications. McAndrew now specializes in writing about history, especially the history of central Illinois and Abraham Lincoln. She has written five full-length plays and several one-act scripts; more than half were commissioned by historical sites or agencies, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Looking for Lincoln Coalition.
“The Culture and Heritage of Illinoisans” series continues on the third Sunday afternoon of each month through October. The programs are free and open to the public. For a full schedule, visit www.llcc.edu/community-education.