Havana to host Smithsonian traveling exhibit celebrating rural innovation January 13 - February 17, 2024

Press Releases
Illinois Humanities

Read Time 4 minutes
January 10, 2024

For Immediate Release   

Sarah Sommers
Phone: (773) 251 - 4772
Email: communications@ilhumanities.org

The national exhibition will be accompanied by a locally-produced companion exhibit.

CHICAGO, January 10, 2024 — Illinois Humanities is pleased to announce that Havana will be the next Illinois town to host Spark! Places of Innovation, the newest traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street programSpark! will be hosted by the Havana Area Chamber of Commerce from January 13 - February 17, 2024.

As a companion to the Spark! exhibition, Havana will present a locally-produced exhibit detailing the diverse resources and innovative research being conducted within the Illinois River Valley and specifically Havana, highlighting the two University of Illinois Biological Research Facilities, the Forbes Biological Station and Illinois River Biological Station. The exhibit will also showcase the innovative ways Havana has reinvented itself and restored its historic Downtown to transform its business community and grow its tourism industry.

Visitors will have an opportunity to attend the popular annual Fulton-Mason Eagle Day Festival on February 3, 2024. The free all-day festival will include live bird exhibitions and family-friendly activities that celebrate the culture and history of the Illinois River Valley area. Activities will

take place at the Havana City Center, as well as multiple other partner locations in Mason and Fulton County. Additionally, the Havana Area Chamber of Commerce will offer a full accompaniment of events on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m., Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the duration of the tour stop. These events will include presentations, lectures, performances, and historic architectural walking tours that provide a glimpse into the region’s rich natural resources, scientific research, ecology, arts and culture, history, and relationship to Native American communities. A full schedule of programs can be found at historichavanaillinois.com.

Spark! Places of Innovation will be at the Havana City Center, 326 W Market St

Havana, IL, January 13 - February 17, 2024. Havana is the second to last stop on the Museum on Main Street Illinois tour, with a final stop in Marshall, IL taking place late February through March.

Illinois Humanities partners with the Smithsonian to bring world-class, multimedia Smithsonian exhibitions to small towns and rural communities in Illinois. Through partnerships with organizations local to each community, every tour stop will showcase the town's homegrown stories, local events, and history.


Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.


Museum on Main Street is a partnership between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and state humanities councils, including Illinois Humanities. It not only enables Illinoisans to experience Smithsonian-produced exhibitions in their own communities but also gives the local cultural organizations that host these exhibitions opportunities to enhance their roles within their communities and regions, attract new audiences and volunteers, expand their knowledge and resource bases, and develop skills that can be applied toward future exhibitions and programs.

ABOUT Historic Havana Illinois

Havana is situated on the bank of the Illinois River at River Mile 120, in central Illinois between Peoria and Springfield.  Known for its rich history, red brick streets, and beautiful Riverfront Park, Havana has much to offer.  Once a town known for its cigar manufacturing businesses and notorious gambling nightlife, where Al Capone would visit to hunt, fish, and gamble, Havana has grown into a popular tourist destination with small-town charm and direct access to a playground of natural resources and a plethora of local attractions in its revitalized historic downtown. Through an aggressive downtown redevelopment effort, Havana offers many new amenities including shops, boutiques, restaurants, unique lodging options, a stock of downtown public art including a dozen large building murals, and a plethora of unique annual events and activities.  To learn more and plan your visit, go to historichavanaillinois.com.