PEORIA — Visitors to the Peoria Riverfront Museum will be transported to the late Cretaceous Period in the summer of 2021.
Museum officials announced Wednesday that they've signed the "T. rex: The Ultimate Predator" exhibition to appear in Peoria throughout that summer.
The American Museum of Natural History exhibition that's in New York through August 2020 is expected to land in Peoria before it's seen in Chicago or elsewhere in the Midwest. Museum CEO John Morris called it "the leading exhibition of its kind" in a news release announcing the show.
"Thanks to our museum board's leadership and a record 276 major donors joining the museum's Visionary Society, we have experienced our strongest year yet, allowing us to bring the world's biggest blockbuster exhibitions to central Illinois year after year," Morris said in a prepared statement.
In terms of other upcoming programming, museum officials also announced plans to commemorate this year's 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing with a showing of Apollo and NASA artifacts from Sept. 14 to Oct. 26. The show will also feature a 13-foot-diameter moon that features a detailed map of the lunar surface.
Meanwhile, this fall the museum will install one of Peoria artist Preston Jackson's major works, "Bronzeville to Harlem" within The Street gallery of the museum. Jackson crafted the piece over 25 years to commemorate the achievements of the Harlem and Bronzeville artistic renaissances. That exhibition is supported via a gift from Jim and Lou Baldwin.
Next summer's features exhibition, "Creatures of Light," will focus on bioluminescence, running from May 22, 2020, through Sept. 7 of that year.
Museum supporter Mike Rucker's Rucker Family Foundation also recently gifted the museum with funds to create a display and theater on the legacy of the Duryea brothers, their eponymous automobile and area history.
The museum's board of directors also installed a new slate of officers, including Steve Jackson of Prairie Home Alliance as board chairman. He succeeds Katie McCord Jenkins in the role. Todd Baker will serve as vice chairman; Brian Ray will serve as treasurer; and Lisa Gates will be secretary.
The museum also honored longtime volunteer and past executive board member Sally Snyder with the organization's Smithson Award for her service at the museum and its predecessor institution, Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences.