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History Museum / Learn More

Welcome to the Village of Bartlett Museums; the Bartlett History Museum and the Bartlett Depot Museum. Both museums are operated and funded by the Village of Bartlett, Illinois and are committed to the exhibition and education of our community's rich history.

We invite you to visit our museums and participate in the many events each offers. Please click on the links to learn more about each.


Depot Museum / Learn More

Artifact of the Month -- February 2015

Valentine card from Wendler estate

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, although written Valentines did not begin to appear until after the 1400s in Britain. These handwritten notes were small tokens of affection between friends and lovers of all social classes. The trend did not begin in the United States until the 1700s.

During the mid-1800s valentine cards became mass produced. Esther A. Howland, who is known as the "Mother of the Valentine," started producing cards that incorporated lace, ribbons, and pictures. These elaborate cards were meant to impress the recipient. Between 1890 and 1915, sending and exchanging Valentine Day cards reached its peak.

This vintage Valentine card from the turn-of-the-century is from the Herman and Amelia (Krumfuss) Wendler estate. This card is decorated with layers of paper lace, goldtone embellishments, and of course the important cherub holding an "I love you" scroll. The inside of the card is inscribed with a poem that is representative of the time:


"When thou art nigh, no thought
Of grief comes o'er my heart;
I only think -- could aught
But joy be where
Thou art?
Life seems a waste of breath
When far from thee I sigh;
And death -- ay, even death
Were sweet, if thou were nigh."

How about that for a love note?



Museum Donations

picture of potato race ribbon from 1914

Ever wonder how the Bartlett History Museum acquires all of the artifacts, images, textiles and more for its collection? These items come from past and present residents, family descendants, and generous individuals who donate them. The Museum is always seeking objects and photos that capture a moment in Bartlett's rich past. The archives contains hundreds of items, ranging in size from a button off the first Bartlett Girl Scout uniform to a six-foot nail bin from the old Schultz Hardware. Do you have Bartlett items you would like to donate to the Museum's archives? Please contact Pam Rohleder, Director, at 630-837-0800.


The museums are members of the American Association of Museums, Association of State and Local History, Illinois Association of Museums, and the Kane-DuPage Regional Museum Association.

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