Northern Illinois University

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Blackhawk History of Education Museum mural
Blackwell History of Education Museum mural

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News Release

Contact: Lucy Townsend
Blackwell History of Education Museum
(815) 753-1236

April 4, 2006

Blackwell Museum at NIU unveils mural
depicting educational history of DeKalb County

DeKalb — Northern Illinois University's Blackwell History of Education Museum has unveiled a 14-foot-by-22-foot mural in Graham Hall for all College of Education students, faculty and visitors to see. 

Adrian Tió, director of NIU's School of Art , guided three art education graduate students – Kaysie Anderson, Daniel Battaglia and Kimberly Konie – in designing and painting the mural, a collage of images associated with the history of DeKalb County. Among the images are corn, an important crop in this rich agricultural region; Joseph Glidden's invention of a new kind of barbed wire that transformed farming across the county and the nation; and the gradual mechanization of agricultural production.

Educational history is represented by the image of the Milan Township one-room school; Altgeld Hall, the first building on the campus of Northern Illinois State Normal School, founded in 1895; and a sculpture honoring the Civil Rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. The mural is the largest of five mounted on the walls and in the stairwells of the College of Education. 

“I view these murals as both aesthetic and pedagogical,” said Lucy Townsend, curator of the Blackwell Museum. “Many students know little about educational history. The murals are designed to teach by means of images painted by student artists. Plaques that accompany the murals add historical background for those wishing to know more about the subjects depicted.”

This Blackwell History of Education mural is supported by a gift from Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse Store of DeKalb and the NIU School of Art.

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