Embracing Change: The Growth of Grayslake
The crown jewel of the new museum, Embracing Change explores the origins and evolution of Grayslake. The first section, The Settling of Grayslake covers the area's early agrarian heritage and the importance of the railroad in creating the Village of Grayslake. This section includes some of the Grayslake Historical Society's earliest images, relics from early pioneers and farmers, railroad memorabilia and documents and artifacts important to the incorporation of the village. The second section, Goods and Services, uses images and artifacts to discuss early businesses and long standing industries in the community. From the Wilbur Lumber Company to the Grayslake Gelatin factory, whose iconic smokestack is yet a part of the community's skyline, this section represents the broad sweep of the community's business history. The third section, Civic Mindedness, explores a myriad of topics. This section includes school life, early houses of worship, and stories of veterans, fire protection and police work. The last section, Past and Present, uses interactive elements to compare and contrast historic and modern images of the community. This section brings the exhibition to a close, using discovery panels to reveal to patrons how the community has changed, and illustrating that some neighborhoods look remarkably similar to a century ago. The exhibition even evokes vanished scents of the old community, such as fresh mown hay and penny candy through four "smell stations."
Embracing Change has received state and national awards from a number of museum organizations. The Illinois Association of Museums and the Illinois State Historical Society gave Superior Achievement Awards to the Grayslake Historical Society for the exhibition, the highest ranking that both organizations provide. In addition, the exhibition was one of only 52 museums in the country, and the only museum in the state of Illinois, to receive an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History.