Of Wind & Sky: Illinois Author Marguerite Henry and the wild ponies of Chincoteague Island

DATE: Saturday, April 22nd

TIME: 1:00 PM

Join Jamie Poorman to explore the life and legacy of Illinois Author and pony-lover Marguerite Henry. Henry was born in Milwaukee in 1902 and moved to Illinois after her marriage, writing many of her most famous works here. She published 59 books, mostly animal tales for children. Henry was an avid library user and conducted in-depth research before visiting the places that inspired her stories. Her works won many awards, including the Newbery Medal.

In 1946, Henry visited the island of Chincoteague off the coast of Virginia for the annual “Pony Penning” week when the wild ponies from nearby Assateague Island were rounded up, swam across the channel, and foals auctioned off. Marguerite fell in love with a tiny foal, named Misty, and purchased her. When Misty was old enough, she was shipped to Illinois to live with Marguerite on her farm near Wayne. Misty lived here in Illinois for over 10 years until returning to Chincoteague to have foals of her own. Misty was beloved by the neighborhood children, then the whole country. The pony was even invited to the American Library Association conference, and national contests were held to name her foals. In 1962, when Chincoteague Island was devastated by a terrible storm, Misty saved the town and the ponies by raising money on a tour of theaters along the Eastern Shore.

​Henry once wrote “Some people, by the very tone of their voices, can make a story sound exciting. But then, when you follow up on the idea, it often turns out to be little or nothing. With Misty, the reality was more exciting than the promise.” You won’t want to miss this incredible story of an Illinois author and her impact on generations of readers and an island community nearly 1,000 miles away.

About the presenter:

Jamie Poorman is Head Librarian at Marshall Public Library. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University and an MSLS from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

She is a dedicated genealogist and local historian and serves on the board of the Clark County Historical Society.

Personally, she and her family are dedicated to a small homestead raising lots of veggies, goats, Saint Bernards and one sassy Chincoteague Pony.

As a librarian, Jamie Poorman has many experiences with children’s programming, leading book clubs, presenting programs for public audiences and groups like the DAR. She has also taught computer courses. Outside the library, she led the local Cub Scout pack for many years and presented programs and ceremonies for the scouts and their families. She has presented programs as a board member for the Clark County Historical Society as well.

Building Rentals

Interested in renting out the Museum for a small get together, workshop, or meeting? We rent out a section of our main exhibit space for your smaller rental needs.  We also have a full kitchen, flatware, dishes, tables, and chairs that are available for you to use. If you are interested in renting part of the exhibit floor for your event, please call us at 217-235-2535 or email us at douglascountymuseum@hotmail.com.  Download the rental form and send it along with your request.  All funds from rentals go toward preserving history and supporting the museum!

Rental Form

2023 Annual Photography Contest

ENTRIES DUE: Friday, April 22nd

TIME: by 4:00 PM

We are gearing up once again for our 8th Annual Photography Contest for kids and adults! Cash prizes! Entries are due by Friday April 21st although you can drop off your photos anytime during normal business hours before that day!

We have three kids age levels: elementary, middle and high school and an amateur adult category for those over the age of 18!

All exhibitors pay $5.00 (per person, not per entry) and can enter up to six photos for that one flat fee (2 in color, 2 in black & white, 2 in local history). The categories are Color, Black & White and Local History and all photos must be taken in Douglas County (including all of Arthur and all of Atwood). Photos must be an 8 x 10 size or larger. You can frame your photos if you'd like, otherwise the museum has 8 x 10 frames for you to use.

Photos will be judged anonymously by artists outside of the museum staff. Awards Day TBA. Further rules and regulations are listed on the entry form posted in the discussion and available on our website under events. Thanks!

This contest was made possible through donations by the following AWESOME local businesses & organizations:

Vintage Karma
Villa Grove Rotary Club

Tuscola Kiwanis Club
Longview Bank
Odd Fellows Tuscola Lodge #316
Ta'carbon Steak House & Bar
Tuscola Rotary Club

Camargo Township District Library
Newman Regional District Library
Villa Grove State Bank


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The Museum offers a variety of events and programs throughout the year.  We  host speakers on local historical topics, have larger events with local musicians  and exhibit openings, host craft workshops, give tours and much more!  

Rental information is at the bottom of this page.  

Keep up  with us here, on Facebook Instagram & Twitter to see what we're up to next!  

ClickHEREfor photos of some past events and programs!