Clay Works: Industry & Arts

Macomb, IL – The new exhibit at the Western Illinois Museum includes some items that are thousands of years old.

The exhibit is called "Clay Works: Industry & Arts."

Museum Curator Sue Scott says the display includes Native American artifacts. The display also features examples of pottery and tile from western Illinois companies. "So it's actually a nice juxtaposition between what could be called modern pottery and these old Woodland Period Native American pottery shards," says Scott.

Scott says some of those shards date back to around 400 BC.

The Native American artifacts belong to the state. Other items in the exhibit either belong to the museum or were loaned by private collectors.

The later works were made by Buckeye Pottery, Western Stoneware, the Colchester Brick and Tile Company, and other businesses. A timeline on one of the museum's walls shows how long each company existed and notes changes in ownership.

One company that lasted just a short period of time in the 1800s was the Eagle Pottery Company. Scott was able to find just one jug from that company for the display.

The display featuring the Colchester Brick and Tile Company includes a brick signed by the company's founder, Moses King. Another brick is signed by infamous bootlegger Kelly Wagle. Scott says the signatures give the display a bit of personality.

The exhibit remains on display until November 21. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. It's located at the corner of Washington and Lafayette Streets in downtown Macomb. There is no admission fee.