VISITOR'S CENTER

Will County Historical MuseumHeritage Village
249 W 2nd St, Lockport, IL

The Visitor’s Center documents immigration population patterns during the Canal Era: the construction of the I&M Canal including work conditions, financial issues and land sales, and canal structures such as bridges, aqueducts, and canal locks. It is here that I contextualized the framework of my exhibit with a historic immigration timeline that incorporates archival documents, photographs, and other artifacts. 

 Through the fusion of words, photos, and archival documents, the wall panels examine reasons for immigration to the United States during the Canal Era and issues affecting immigrant workers during the construction of the Canal, (as well as financial difficulties the State of Illinois faced during its construction).  

Artist's Books
Archive I and Archive II

Also on display are two accordion-fold books that incorporate archival photographs obtained through extensive research at the Grundy County Historical Society and Lockport Historic Society and Research Center, as well as my own photographs: Archive I and Archive II.

Archive I examines the fading legacy and neglected achievements of past immigrants, mostly Irish and Italian, who labored on the I&M Canal. Through text and image, I juxtaposed archival photographs of bridges and aqueducts on one side of the book, to the workers who built the Canal on the opposite side. Archive II depicts the effects time has had over these structures, comparing the once continuous technology corridor to its current state, that being a shadowy remnant of past human ingenuity. 

© 2019 by Mirjana Ursulesku.