The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Bradley University (OLLI) is a group of more than 1,000 individuals, age 50 and over, who learn together through three distinct programs: OLLI Classes, OLLI Learning Trips, and OLLI Study Groups.

Here, members can discuss what they learned, what they enjoyed, and offer suggestions to enhance future program offerings.

Take a look at the photos we're taking, and the discussions we're having as OLLI members.

Whether we're in class, in town, or out of town ... we're on the go, having fun, and constantly learning.


We look forward to reading your comments!

While you're online, be sure to visit our website www.bradley.edu/continue/olli to register for our programs.

Don't forget -- OLLI has its own YouTube Channel, where you can see video clips of Learning Trips, Classes, and Study Groups!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Day in Princeton -- May 19



The weather was PERFECT for our learning trip to Princeton on May 19!

Upon our arrival, we took a short walk to the Bureau County Historical Museum and spent over an hour to exploring the exhibits with three docents. The displays included an 1853 parlor, an interpretation of Princeton photographer Henry Immke’s studio, a large costume room, and a research library. Other items on display were fossils, Native American artifacts, pioneer utensils, farming equipment, Civil War and military memorabilia, Cherry Mine Disaster displays, early vehicles, and medical equipment.

We hopped aboard the bus and took a short drive to the Lovejoy Homestead, one of the most important stations on the Underground Railroad in Illinois. The property, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997, was once the home of Owen Lovejoy, a nationally recognized Congressman who fought for the abolition of slavery. Runaway slaves were harbored by the Lovejoy family until arrangements could be made for them to travel to the next station on their way to Canada and freedom.

After lunch at The Lightpost Restaurant, we stopped in for a short visit at Patterns of the Past, an 8,000 square-foot store that boasts a large selection of new “store stock” patterns that enables thousands of customers each month to replace their broken/missing pieces of china.

We concluded the day with an hour-long visit to Hornbaker Gardens, a family-owned and operated nursery specializing in perennial flowers.

For more information, about the sites visited, please log onto:
www.bureaucountymuseum.com, www.lovejoyhomestead.com, and www.hornbakergardens.com.

Historic Washington Square -- May 15



Despite the uncooperative (rainy) weather, OLLI members were able to enjoy a unique look at the historic homes and businesses on the historic square in Washington, Illinois.

Seventeen participants toured the Washington Historical Society's Zinzer House and Doctor's Museum, the Ruppman residence, the Gross residence, and the Denhart Baking Company/Cornerstone Inn Bed and Breakfast.

Built in 1858, the Zinzer House is said to be one of the oldest standing structures in Washington today. Built in the Post-Colonial style with elements typical of the Federal and Greek Revival styles, the building is now home to the genealogical pursuits of the Historical Society and Washington residents.

Next, OLLI members toured the Village Doctor Museum, where they found a home furnished as a doctor's office appeared during 1900 - 1925. The office furniture and medical equipment housed in the museum include an examining/operating table, an instrument chest, medical bag, and dozens of medical tools used by Drs. Harley Zinser and Lee Monroe.

Thanks to the incredible generosity of Walter and Joan Ruppman and Tom and Judy Gross, we were able to walk through two homes listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Ruppman residence, which has undergone extensive exterior and interior restoration since 1999, is an 1884 Victorian that was used as a funeral home from 1936 to 1999. The 5,000 square-foot property includes bedrooms decorated with appropriate Victorian wallpaper and area rugs, pocket doors with wheel-cut glass inserts, a grand front porch, gourmet kitchen, and carriage house.

After a tour of her private home, Judy Gross hosted our group for lunch at the Denhart Baking Company and Restaurant. In 2003, she and her husband Tom purchased the former Denhart Bank building, and spent the next several years restoring the bank and its two adjacent buildings. OLLI members were treated to a delicious lunch and private tour of the restaurant and inn.

OLLI thanks the Washington Historical Society, the Ruppman Family, and the Gross Family for providing a wonderful day of learning!

For more information about the sites visited, please log onto:

www.waltercruppman.com and www.denhartbakingcompany.com.

Amish Country -- May 7



Several dozen OLLI members spent a beautiful day in Arthur, Arcola, and Tuscola, Illinois during our Amish Country regional learning trip on May 7.

The day began with a trip to the Amish Interpretive Center in Arcola. There, members watched a short introductory video about the Amish lifestyle and walked through the many interactive displays of history, buggies, quilts, barns, and homes, including the Smithsonian Institution's traveling exhibit "Between Fences."

Josephine Marner, our step-on guide, led our group on an interesting and very informative tour of the surrounding countryside. Ms. Marner said this area in Illinois, with an Amish population of nearly 5,000, is the fourth largest Amish settlement in the United States, and is comparable to settlements in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.

She also explained that the Amish are raised to serve the Lord, provide a church home for their children, and go to heaven. Children and adults are baptized after six weeks of instruction. In addition, the Amish often speak three languages: everyday German at home, English in school, and High German at church and religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals.

For lunch, OLLI members were treated to an incredible home cooked meal at the farm of Vic and Delores Graber. We enjoyed a hearty lunch of fried chicken, meatloaf, noodles, salad, vegetables, bread, and pie. After eating, the Graber children entertained us with songs.

After lunch, we visited an authentic Amish woodworking shop, then visited Flesor's Candy Kitchen in Tuscola. There, OLLI members were treated to a personalized candy-making demonstration and tour of the vintage shop, first established in 1901. Many participants enjoyed authentic Green River drinks and sampled the delicious chocolates made on-site.

Thanks to Ms. Marner, the Grabers, and everyone involved with this insightful trip.

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