Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Lorado Taft Museum

Lorado Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois, on April 29, 1860, and lived there until his family moved to Champaign, Illinois, in 1871. After his death in 1936, his ashes were later scattered in the Elmwood Township Cemetery. To keep Taft’s memory alive in his hometown, local citizens established the Lorado Taft Museum that is housed in the Elmwood Historical Society building. The Mary Wiley Public Library in Elmwood and the Lorado Taft Museum each exhibit collections of Taft memorabilia. The museum includes a Lorado Taft Room and a replica of his Chicago studio. The museum staff recently printed a twenty-page compilation of Taft’s artistic creations entitled Located Works By Lorado Taft. The museum is located at 302 North Magnolia Street, Elmwood, Illinois, and is currently open by appointment only. To schedule a tour of the Lorado Taft Museum, contact Wanda De Ment at 309-635-3618.

Visitors to Elmwood should also visit one of Lorado Taft's most creative sculptures, The Pioneers. Located in Central Park, Taft agreed to donate his work for this project if the town officials could raise the necessary money to cast the sculpture and provide the base for it. The Pioneers was unveiled and dedicated on May 27, 1928. When Taft died on October 20, 1936, his ashes were later scattered in Elmwood Cemetery. The spot is now marked by the sculpture Memory, a replica of a bronze statue entitled Foote Memorial Angel. Lorado Taft created this statue in 1923, and it is located in Jackson, Michigan. Memory was dedicated in Elmwood Cemetery on April 29, 1938.

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