By Chris Wichmann
It’s a well-known fact that a library book is a perfect way to get transported to other times and places, such as the captivating landscape of the Greek island of Corfu in My Family and Other Animals, the Civil War-era South in Cold Mountain, and the magical world of Hogwarts Castle in the Harry Potter books.
The Naperville Public Library can also physically transport you to other times and places through its Museum Adventure Pass program!
The passes are checked out with a library card and provide free admission or a special discount to 24 museums and cultural institutions.
Main & Luxe took advantage of this great program to see some unique pieces.
The Lizzadro Museum—a literal treasure chest
- A striking 12-foot cinnabar and rosewood screen encrusted with gemstones, ivory, coral, amber, and jade that was commissioned in 1791 by Emperor Qianlong (who was known for his substantial art collection).
- The largest jade carving outside China, The Altar of the Green Jade Pagoda, which was debuted at the Century of Progress World Exposition in Chicago in 1933 and took 150 skilled carvers over 10 years to finish.
- An impressive 2,363-pound piece of petrified wood from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona that has turned into a piece of solid, sparkling quartz.
The Oriental Institute—an internationally recognized collection of ancient Middle East
- A colossal 16-foot, 6-ton statue of King Tut, the famous “boy king” Tutankhamun, was discovered in 1930. The tallest ancient Egyptian statue in the Western Hemisphere, the twin to this statue is found in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
- The celestial Lamassu from Mesopotamia bears a human head, bull body, wings, and a crown; it is 16-feet tall, weighs 40 tons, and was used as a protective spirit in the throne room of Sargon II, King of Assyria (721-705 BC).
- The mummy and coffin of Meresamun (circa 950 BC) exemplify the skill of the ancient embalmer and coffin maker. Striking hieroglyphs that allude to life after death cover the coffin. The symbols were intended to ensure Meresamun’s successful rebirth.
Cantigny Park—Historical and gardening showpiece
- The beautiful, lush garden, originally designed by famed landscape architect Franz Lipp (whose landscape drawings are included in the Art Institute of Chicago collection), underwent a breathtaking renovation in 2018. The garden is composed of 29-acres of trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals in stunning displays.
- The First Division Museum provides education and exhibits about America’s military heritage through the history of the famous 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. (Fun Fact: Ashley South’s uncle, Paul Barker, is the artist behind the war scene exhibits.)
- The tank park in front of the museum features tanks and artillery from World War I to Desert Storm. Children are allowed to climb on the tanks, making them a favorite of the park.
Naper Settlement—our town in the 1800s
Naper Settlement—our town in the 1800s
- The Martin Mitchell Mansion was built in 1883 and donated in 1936 by Caroline Martin Mitchell, the youngest daughter of Naperville businessman George Martin. Martin owned brick, tile, and limestone businesses, which provided supplies for the brick and limestone Italianate home. Before the home was donated, it was known as “Pine Craig.” Pine for the trees planted along the home and craig, which is Scottish for a hill or rocky cliff.
- The vintage windmill was a commonplace feature on Midwestern farms in the early 1900s. This windmill pumped water to the surface for crops and livestock on the farm of Oscar and Elsie Strid, which was located on the southwest corner of 75th Street and Naper-Plainfield Road. The windmill was brought to Naper Settlement in 1981.
Details on the program and the full list of museums are found at any one of the Naperville Library locations.
95th Street Library