Our Mission

The Museum of the Grand Prairie, as part of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District’s Museum and Education Department has aligned its mission with the CCFPD. Our mission is to collect, preserve and interpret the natural and cultural history of Champaign County and East Central Illinois for all generations.

Our Vision

Is to inspire audiences to create connections to our natural and cultural history.

Our History

The Museum of the Grand Prairie was founded in 1968 as a facility of Champaign County Forest Preserve District. The founding collection, that of William Redhed, was comprised of objects from a pre-industrial age. For 40 years the museum was called the Early American Museum, as Redhed preferred that name.

Thousands of artifacts representing our diverse history and population have been added since that time. Thus, In 2011 we changed our name to reflect our county’s cultural and natural history. The term Grand Prairie, a 19th century designation for the vast untamed American Midwest, recalls our cultural and natural heritage

Our Values

Respect - We respect the Grand Prairie’s diverse cultures, environment, and resources.

Engagement - We engage our community through collaboration with all people in Champaign County and East Central Illinois.

Wonder - We spark awe and wonder in our audiences through all the learning experiences we provide.

Innovation - We lead our field in professional practices, innovating new methods and fresh ideas.

Integrity - We act with integrity in all our work, ethically and professionally.

Empowerment - We empower each other, throughout the CCFPD, by sharing and developing expertise through teamwork.

Our Accomplishments and Plans

Strategic Plan

The Museum and Education Department of the Champaign County Forest Preserve District has developed a Strategic Institutional Plan, aligned with the Strategic Plan of the district. Click here for the short version of the plan. For a more in depth version, contact our director, Barb Oehlschlaeger-Garvey, bgarvey@ccfpd.org.

Accomplistments

The Museum of the Grand Prairie has been an American Alliance of Museums (AAM) accredited museum since 1972. We’ve passed four reviews by the Alliance. AAM Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards, and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for 40 years, AAM’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation, and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

Staff Directory

Museum and Education Department

Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvey
Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvey
Museum and Education Department Director
Pam Leiter
Pam Leiter
Assistant Director

At the Museum of the Grand Prairie

Mark Hanson
Mark Hanson
Curator
Jennifer Grove
Jennifer Grove
Registrar
Patrick Cain
Patrick Cain
Public Program/Visitor Services Coordinator
Katie Snyder
Katie Snyder
Education Program Specialist
Marina Montez-Ellis, Garden Program Specialist at the Museum of the Grand Prairie
Marina Montez-Ellis
Garden Program Specialist
Mel Wiegel
Mel Wiegel
Customer Service/Retail Associate
Shelly Green
Shelly Green
Customer Service/Retail Associate
Kathy Love, Customer Service/Retail Associate at the Museum of the Grand Prairie
Kathy Love
Customer Service/Retail Associate
Angela Whitlock
Angela Whitlock
Customer Service/Retail Associate

At Homer Lake Interpretive Center

Stacey Clementz
Stacey Clementz
Environmental Education Program Specialist
Jennifer Wick
Jennifer Wick
Environmental Education Program Specialist
Cathy Schneider
Cathy Schneider
Intepretive Naturalist