FAQ

What is the Western Springs Historical Society?

The Western Springs Historical Society is an all volunteer not-for-profit organization that strives to instill an appreciation of the Village’s past and promote the preservation of the cultural, economic and aesthetic heritage of Western Springs.

What does the Western Springs Historical Society do?

The Western Springs Historical Society maintains two museums – one in the Historic Water Tower and another at Ekdahl House. The organization also manages the Archives in Grand Avenue Community Center where interested members of the public can research the history of their homes or look up information on individuals, organizations and events in the Village’s past. Periodic adult education seminars, presentations to local groups, tours for both adults and children, the Oral History Project, Blast From The Past articles about the Village’s history, and a biennial House Walk round out the Society’s offerings.

How can I support the Historical Society?

There are several ways to support the WSHS. One of the easiest is to make a tax-deductible donation or become a member (please see our membership application). You can also purchase WSHS Merchandise at Village True Value or directly from the Historical Society. Lastly, please consider attending our biennial House Walk. The next House Walk will be in May 2015.

Do you need volunteers? How can I get involved?

Yes! We love volunteers! Please visit our Volunteer Opportunities tab to check out the many ways you can get involved. No matter what your skill set or availability, we have a place for you. Once you’ve found something that interests you, download and complete our Volunteer Application form.

How is the Historical Society funded?

The Western Springs Historical Society is a 501-C not for profit organization that files annual 990s with the IRS. We do not receive any federal, state, or local government funding. Our major sources of income are memberships, fundraising events like the biennial House Walk, grants and donations/bequests from businesses and individuals. We also raise money by selling WSHS Merchandise.

I am interested in learning more about upcoming WSHS events. How do I do that?

Upcoming events are publicized in both the Press Releases and Programs & Events sections of our web site. We also send out periodic e-blasts, post information on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and include information on upcoming events in our semi-annual newsletter. If you want to be one of the first to know about upcoming events, follow us on Facebook/Twitter or send us an e-mail at info@westernspringshistory.org with the header “Sign Me Up!” and we will add your e-mail to our distribution list….it’s that easy!

I want to nominate a house to be on the House Walk.  What do I do?

If you know of a home that you would like to see considered for a future house walk, you can contact us via e-mail: info@westernspringshistory.org. Be sure to include the address, contact info for the home owner, and the reason why you think this house would be a good candidate. Please be aware that we strive to select a mix of homes that best represents the diversity of housing stock in the Village. Factors we consider are age, architectural style, decor, size, and location. 

I want to nominate a house for a Preservation Award.  What do I do?

Preservation Awards are given out every two years. Nominations are accepted during National Preservation month in May and the next cycle will be in May 2014. Judging takes place in the early fall with an awards presentation to follow. If you know of a home you would like to see considered, please download and complete our Preservation Award Nomination Form and return it to the Historical Society. Forms can be mailed or dropped off at the Archives in the Grand Avenue Community Center. They can also be e-mailed to us at info@westernspringshistory.org.

I know someone who has lived in the village for a long time and would be a good candidate for the Oral History Project. How do I recommend them?

We welcome recommendations from interested members of the public. You can contact us at 708-246-9230 or e-mail us at info@westernspringshistory.org. Please provide us with your contact information, the name and contact information of the person you are recommending and why you think this person would be a good candidate. See our page on the Oral History Project to learn more about this program.

I want to suggest a program or project to the Historical Society. How do I do that?

We welcome ideas and input from the general public. If there is a program or project that you would like to see the WSHS take on, please let us know. You can contact us at 708-246-9230 or via e-mail at info@westernspringshistory.org

I want to donate antiques, vintage clothing, uniforms or other artifacts.  How do I do that?

We depend of the generosity of residents and former residents to build our collections. If you have artifacts that you would like to donate to the Historical Society, please contact the Archives at 708-246-9230 or e-mail us at info@westernspringshistory.org.  All donations must be previewed by the Society prior to acceptance and donors are asked to sign a “Deed of Gift” for all items accepted by the Society. More information is available in our Donation Guide and be sure to check out Wanted, our current list of  items we are searching for.

I want to buy a Western Springs souvenir for a friend who has moved out of town. What are my choices?

We have a variety of different Western Springs themed items that make excellent gifts! Learn more about what is currently available on our Buy WSHS Merchandise page.

I want to buy a brick.  How do I do that?

Bricks are a great way to commemorate a special person or event while supporting the Historical Society. You can download the Brick Order Form and then mail it to us with a check made payable to the Western Springs Historical Society. The Society places brick orders 2-3 times per year. Please inquire to find out when the next order will be submitted.

I would like to arrange a private tour of the Water Tower or Ekdahl House for a group.  How do I schedule it?

We can organize a private tour for groups and organizations like the Scouts, Questers, etc. If you are interested in setting up a tour, please download and complete our Museum Tour/Presentation Request form. You can also contact us at 708-246-9230 or e-mail us at info@westernspringshistory.org and one of our volunteers will assist you. We rely on volunteer docents to conduct tours so please schedule your tour at least 3 weeks in advance.

I would like to arrange for a speaker from the Historical Society to give a presentation to my group. How do I do that?

The Historical Society gives general presentations on the history of Western Springs to interested groups. Custom presentations can also be arranged but require longer lead times for research and preparation. If you are interested in requesting a presentation, please download and complete our Museum Tour/Presentation Request form. You can also contact us at 708-246-9230 or e-mail us at info@westernspringshistory.org and one of our volunteers will assist you. We rely on volunteers to give our talks so please make your request well in advance.

I would like to arrange a birthday party for my child in the Children’s Museum. How do I schedule one?

Members of the Western Springs Historical Society may rent out the Children’s Museum for birthday parties or other celebrations. One hour rentals are available on Saturday afternoons for $25 and we can accommodate up to 10 children. Please note that we do not permit decorations,  food or drink of any kind in the museum. Since we rely on volunteer docents to open up the museum, reservations must be made at least 3 weeks in advance. More information is available on our Birthday Parties and Celebrations tab. You may schedule a rental by completing our Children’s Museum Reservation form. You can also contact us at 708-246-9230 or e-mail us at info@westernspringshistory.org and one of our volunteers will assist you.