Visit Spark! Places of Innovation in Marshall


Feb 24 – Mar 30, 2024
Days and Times Vary


Marshall Public Library
612 Archer Ave
Marshall, IL 62441



Exhibition Hours and Location

  • Monday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Thursday: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. CST
  • Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST
  • Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CST
  • Marshall Public Library, 612 Archer Avenue, Marshall, IL

Tours of the exhibition are available on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. from February 29 through March 21, 2024, and on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. on March 2nd and 16th. Registration is only required for large groups.

For information on exhibition hours, large group registration, and local events, please call (217) 826-2535 or visit

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About Spark! in Marshall

Libraries are dynamic, modern community centers for education, information, and entertainment. Marshall Public Library is no exception! A long-time program partner of Illinois Humanities, the Marshall Public Library is committed to bringing high-quality, entertaining, and educational programming and services to its community.  The programming produced by the Library in relationship to Spark! exemplifies this tradition.

As a companion to the Spark! exhibition, the Marshall Public Library is producing three additional exhibits that feature the innovation spirit of Marshall, Illinois, and six events

Companion Exhibits

James Jones and the Handy Writers' Colony

This exhibit showcases the Handy Writers’ Colony, a training program for authors (1950-64) associated with James Jones and started by Lowney Turner Handy on the outskirts of Marshall, Illinois. The exhibit will feature a mockup of one of the cabin rooms containing a very sparse setting with a World War II bed, an original typewriter, a desk, and some of the works that would have been copied. The exterior of the cabin will contain pictures of James Jones and Lowney Turner, along with some oral histories that people can listen to while they’re looking at the cabin.

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Gaslight Art Colony: "Library Over the Years"
Displays: March 14 - March 30, 2024

A mural depicting the four buildings that have housed the library over its lengthy history, punctuated by the spines of books by authors with ties to Marshall hand-painted by members of the Gaslight Art Colony and residents of Marshall, Illinois.

Cork: Change in Rural Medical Care

Marshall is home to the first rural medical clinic, the Cork Medical Center. Established in 1971, Cork earned national recognition for developing innovative methods of providing healthcare in rural settings and training aspiring rural physicians. This exhibit will feature panels from a previous exhibition the Marshall Public Library hosted titled Crossroads.

Upcoming Events

The Marshall Public Library is presenting the following events on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. Registration is recommended. All events will take place at the Library unless noted otherwise.

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  • February 29: Forgottonia: An Intimate Portrait of Rural America
    Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist folk musician Chris Vallillo will present his latest theatrical multi-media show.
  • March 7: Examining the life of a Handy Writer's Colonist (plus book auction)
    Marshall High School teacher Nathan Crews will discuss The Handy Writers' Colony beginnings with Lowney Turner Handy and her husband, Harry Handy, along with best-selling novelist James Jones. Patrons will also have an opportunity to bid on signed, published works of former colonists.
  • March 14: New Library Mural Debut!
    Get a first glance of the completed "Library Over the Years' mural hand-painted by Gaslight Art Colony members and the Marshall Community.
  • March 21: Steampunk in the Library
    The public is invited to dress in Steampunk attire and enjoy light hors d'oeuvres from 6:30-7:30 PM. Patrons are encouraged to show their innovation by way of creative Steampunk costumes!
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Steampunk Costumes

Spark! Places on Innovation is presented in partnership with Marshall Public Library, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, and Illinois Humanities.

About Spark! Places of Innovation

Spark! Places of Innovation, part of Illinois Humanities’ Museum on Main Street program, is a Smithsonian traveling exhibition that highlights innovation in rural America from the perspectives of people who have lived it. Their words, images, and experiences, gathered through an ambitious crowdsourcing initiative, are the heartbeat of the exhibition. The communities featured in Spark! – including seven small towns in Illinois – have enhanced their vitality through innovations in fields such as technology, agriculture, economic development, education, and the arts. Explore the diversity, ingenuity, and tenacity of rural Americans in Spark! Places on Innovation.

Learn more

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