Joliet Area Historical Museum exhibit has help from Lewis

Lewis University partners with Joliet Area Historical Museum to create new exhibit

Published: March 10, 2014.

Dr. Dennis Cremin, history professor and director of the Lewis University History Center, recently described how Lewis University has partnered with the Joliet Area Historical Museum for the “The Emergence of Modern Joliet: Art, Industry & Urbanization” exhibit on display until June 8. His presentation about the JAHM exhibit kicked off a lecture series that continues through April.

As part of an assignment for Cremin’s Public History class, students conceptualized how Lewis University’s extensive collection of historic images by local journalist and artist Adele Fay Williams could be utilized to provide visuals of the Joliet area from 1870-1930. The Public History students encouraged combining her images with the Museum’s Harold Whiteside tool collection to highlight the transition of the Joliet area from a rural community to an industrial town, then eventually to an urban city.

Dr. Cremin's History of Illinois class researched the topics and drafted text for the exhibit panels. The exhibit’s scheme was a group effort by students in the Advanced Design class directed by Leslie Colonna, Lewis University instructor of art and design. Since Williams used the Joliet courthouse in many of her images, students took current photos of the building as it stands today to use as comparison for showing the transition of the area.

The lecture series on the exhibit continues through April at the JAHM:

  • March 19: “How to Read a Work of Art,” an event taught by Colonna, will teach the elements and principles that make each work of art unique and affect how it is interpreted at 1 p.m.

  • April 2: “The Life, Times and Art of Adele Fay Williams,” will showcase artist Teri Lesniak who will portray Adele Fay Williams and complete a painting in the style of the renowned artist.

  • April 12: “An Afternoon with Dr. Sterling,” author of Joliet history books and retired professor at Joliet Junior College, Dr. Robert Sterling will discuss the exhibit and sign books.

Those who participated in the History of Illinois class included: Sean Barber, Nicholas Czerwinski, Jocelyn Davila, Joshua Dittman, Patrick Franks, Samantha Glackin, Adrienne Gonzales, Michael Hines, Sarah Langheld, Anthony Larocca, Zeferino Martinez, Kelsey O’Brien, Tyson Polack, Alan Rosas, Brittany Russell and Zachary Zalewski.

Advanced Design students who contributed significantly to the exhibit included: Elizabeth Apostolos, Lauren Kill, Connor McLennan, Kendra Mills, Cory Seng, Lauren Trzeciak and Sandra Zuchara.

The original collection of Adele Fay Williams’ drawings and prints was donated to the Howard and Lois Adelmann Collection in 1989 by Katherine Woodruff Barnes. An additional 88 drawings and prints were donated to the Collection in August 2011 by Dr. Robert E. Sterling. The drawings can also be seen at the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection website at

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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