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Elmhurst History Museum's 'People Of The Prairie' Highlights Native Cultures In DuPage County

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A new exhibit now open at the Elmhurst History Museum is taking us back to learn about native cultures that once existed in our area.

Some of the exbibit's artifacts span thousands of years.

Before Euro-Americans settled in the western suburbs, Native Americans called this area home.

"We're a little blip so far on the occupation of this area," Dan Bartlett, curator of exhibits at the Elmhurst History Museum, said. "Two percent of the time that Euro-Americans have lived here, 98% of the time Native American peoples have lived here."

He says that's exactly why it's our responsibility to think about the history of the area we represent, in its broader context.

One way, the Elmhurst Museum is doing that is through this exhibit called People of the Prairie: 12 Thousand Years in DuPage County.

"It's a very long look back at all of the time that people have lived and provided for their families in what we call DuPage county or the western suburbs," Bartlett said.

The new exhibit uses archaeology to paint a deeper picture of life back then.

You'll learn about the fur trade, how people adapted to climate change and new technology and even see the actual tooth of a mastodon.

"The last seven months or so has really been kind of a full time drill down into this topic," Bartlett said.

Bartlett wants to send a bigger message, that humanity has always moved from place to place, looking for better resources and the best way to provide for our families.

That story has stayed the same.

Whether we live in 2022 or 12,000 years ago.

"I really hope that people see something of themselves in people who lived here thousands of years ago," He said.

The museum is open Sunday and Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It's free of charge but donations are welcome too.


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