“Lithuanians in Springfield” was the title of an exhibit Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Illinois State Museum. Sponsored, designed and manned by members of our Lithuanian-American Club, the exhibit was part of the museum’s annual Multicultural Day. However, this was the first time the club mounted a display.
Our exhibit included amber jewelry and art, dolls in national costume, a person in national costume, flags, linens, ceramics, books, story boards, and a continuous PowerPoint display showing the faces of Springfield Lithuanian-Americans Senator Dick Durbin, radio announcer Sam Madonia, Brad and Joe Turasky, Debbie Davis Ritter and her sons Dalton and Noah, Paulette George, Elaine Kuhn, Dr. John Kwedar, Joan and Dan Naumovich, and others.
Club members Sandy Baksys, Donna and Kourtney Baker, Rick Dunham, and Barbara Endzelis hosted the display. Club members John and Irene Blazis, Irena S., Mary Chepulis and Sharon and Bud Darran stopped by. Irena contributed enormously by exposing visitors to the Lithuanian language and taking photos. Friends Melinda McDonald, Linda Gladu, Joyce Downey and Debbie Davis Ritter, her brother Brian Davis, and sons Dalton and Gabriel also visited the display. (Melinda had graciously volunteered her tech skills to design our PowerPoint.)
Most popular with visitors young and old were the commemorative 1992 Lithuanian “Skullman” Olympic basketball and tie-died Skullman jersey (inspired by the Grateful Dead jerseys sold to sponsor Lithuania’s first post-independence Olympic basketball team.)
Young girls also enjoyed trying on the karuna (crown) of the Lithuanian national costume being worn by Sandy, and kindly donated for display by long-time club member Vida Totoraitis. Thanks also to Asta S. for donating our full-size Lithuanian flag.