Special Exhibits

The Soaring Achievements of John C. Houbolt

This state-of-the-art Apollo/Houbolt Exhibit celebrates the historic 1969 moon landing and honors former Joliet resident and key proponent of the lunar orbit rendezvous concept, Dr. John C. Houbolt. The 500 square-foot, two-story exhibit features interactive panels, diagrams and maps, audio-visuals, flat-screen narratives, and period dioramas to tell the exciting story of the race to the moon, the Apollo 11 mission, the moon landing, and Dr. Houbolt's vision.

A step-in Lunar Lander Simulator (pictured at lower left) challenges visitors to begin their daring journey of space exploration. Once inside, visitors see the same controls used by the first lunar explorers during their missions. Using a throttle and a joystick, guests use skill and wit to guide their craft to the approaching lunar surface.


Linedrives & Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women's Baseball

In contrast to the depiction of women baseball as a short-lived phenomenon of the 1940s, America’s national pastime has included women players from baseball’s beginning in the 1860s. Their impact on the game and American society is brought clearly to light in Linedrives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women’s Baseball, a special traveling exhibition opening
June 16th - August 11th, 2014 in the museum's Special Exhibition Hall.

“A game of physical skill and mathematical beauty, baseball beat in the hearts of young women and could scarcely wait to manifest itself,” says Linedrives and Lipstick essayist Barbara Gregorich. “To the girls and women themselves, it was the real thing.”

Although American society in general may have looked at women’s involvement in baseball as a curiosity, Linedrives and Lipstick brings to life the images of women who loved the crack of the bat and the thrill of a running one-handed catch with two outs in the ninth.

Visitors to the Joliet Area Historical Museum will get to know Jackie Mitchell, who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in 1931 and Sophie Kurys of the South Bend Blue Sox, who still holds the record for the most stolen bases in one season in any league—201 steals in 203 attempts in 1946.

Linedrives and Lipstickfeatures more than 60 items, ranging from picture postcards, game programs, photographs, posters, original artifacts, and in-depth articles from mainstream magazines such as Colliers, Liberty, and The Saturday Evening Post. The exhibition goes beyond the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the 1940s, tracing women’s love of the sport all the way back to the mid-1800s. More than a history lesson, it’s a story of determination and achievement.

The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than 25 exhibitions on tour to more than 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. Mid-America is the oldest nonprofit regional arts organization in the United States. More information is available at www.maaa.org and www.eusa.org.