- Demoulin Museum Preparing For 2021
(December 29, 2020) - What promised to be a big year for the DeMoulin Museum fell short of those expectations due to COVID-19. The museum was closed twice this year due to COVID-19 restrictions implemented by the State of Illinois, from March 16 to June 5 and again from November 20 until further notice. These closures led to the postponement of the DeMoulin Museum’s 10th anniversary celebration in March, the cancellation of several group tours, and the loss of two fundraisers. The museum finished the year with 200 visitors, around 800 less than the yearly average.
Although it was a disjointed year, it didn’t come without a few highlights. The first of these was a surprise visit in early March by actor David Eigenberg and his son. The star of the television series Chicago Fire was on his way to St. Louis and decided to check out the museum based on an on-line review. Another memorable event was the unveiling in October of a new outdoor display of bricks honoring past and present employees of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Over fifty bricks have been sold with orders continuing to come in.
Organizers of the 10th anniversary celebration anticipate that event happening in late spring or early summer 2021. This will include the banquet and related activities. Those with tickets to the banquet are encouraged to hold on to them. Additionally, businesses and individuals that were sponsoring the celebration will continue to do so. An announcement will be made when a new date is established.
Two other major milestones will be observed in 2021. The first is the 150th birthday of U.S. DeMoulin, one of the original brothers who founded the company. U.S. was born October 3, 1871. A special observance will be held to mark the occasion. DeMoulin Museum curator John Goldsmith has announced that Goat Tales, a compilation of short stories on DeMoulin history, will be released in 2021. Goldsmith had previously published Three Frenchmen and a Goat: The DeMoulin Bros. Story in 2004. “This will not be a sequel to the first book, but a compilation of some of my favorite factory stories plus some tidbits I’ve learned over the past 16 years,” Goldsmith explained.
Those with questions may call the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Museum Closed For Second Span in 2020 Due To Covid Precautions
(November 17, 2020) - Due to the Tier 3 mitigation COVID-19 plan announced by Governor Pritzker, the DeMoulin Museum will be closed until further notice. Once the restrictions have been lifted, the museum will be reopen for our normal Saturday hours.
- Demoulin Museum Unveiling Brick Display
(September 16, 2020) - A new outdoor display at the DeMoulin Museum honoring employees of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. will be unveiled during a short ceremony Friday, October 2 at 4:00 p.m. Over 40 bricks have been pre-sold honoring presidents, board members, and employees of the factory that’s called Greenville its home since 1892.
“As you would expect the DeMoulin brothers will have bricks,” said John Goldsmith, museum curator. “But what’s been fun is seeing brick orders come in for employees from yesteryear that I didn’t know. Couple that with bricks honoring current employees and the display tells quite a story about the company’s history.”
Founded as the Ed DeMoulin Modern Woodmen of America Paraphernalia Company, the factory was Greenville’s first major industry. The venture began as a small affair in a side room of Mr. DeMoulin’s photo studio on the Greenville square. It quickly grew and by 1900 employed 100 people, most of whom were women crafting regalia for fraternal lodges and band uniforms. Goldsmith said whether an employee worked there for 50 years or just the summer, all are welcome to be honored with a brick.
The display will eventually have around 400 bricks. Goldsmith explained that brick orders will continue to be taken until the display is full.
Bricks, which feature three lines of text with a maximum of 18 letters per line, may be purchased for $100 each. Brochures about purchasing a brick may be picked up at the museum or downloaded from their website.
The ceremony on October 2 will begin with a brief program followed by the unveiling and then cookies and punch served in the museum.
The DeMoulin Museum is dedicated to the founders, employees, and unique products of DeMoulin Bros. and Co. Known today as the nation’s leading maker of marching band uniforms, the factory got its start in 1892 as a manufacturer of initiation devices and regalia for fraternal lodges. The museum is located at 205 S. Prairie St. in Greenville. For more information, call (618) 664-4115.
- “We’ve Never Seen a Goat in Such Original Condition”: Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat glad to be back home in Greenville
(June 21, 2020) - We were fortunate to be the high bidder on a DeMoulin Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat that was sold in an on-line auction of the contents of the Jacksonville, IL Masonic Lodge. One of the members told us the goat had belonged to their GROTTO group. It had been in a storage closet for decades. The Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat was introduced by DeMoulin Bros. in 1922 as an updated and improved version of their extremely popular Ferris Wheel Goat. The most noticeable change is the addition of smaller wheels at the base. This goat is in spectacular condition. Note the “beard” and “tail”, features that are difficult to find with a DeMoulin goat. It’s all original. No restoration. A real gem!
Museum curator John Goldsmith with the Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat outside the Jacksonville, IL Masonic Lodge.
Original wool. Original straps. Goat horns cast from steel at the factory. Original eyes and beard. Even a wagging tail!
- Demoulin Museum Reopening
(May 28, 2020) - After being closed for over two months due to Illinois’ COVID-19 restrictions, the DeMoulin Museum is reopening Friday, June 5. The opening coincides with the return of the museum’s summer hours: Fridays 1 to 3 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays 2 to 4 p.m. To celebrate the reopening, free punch and cookies will be available on Saturday, June 6.
The museum will follow state guidelines requiring six-foot social distancing, facial coverings when social distancing can’t be maintained, and a limit of ten visitors at a time. Group tours may still be scheduled, but the group must fall within the ten-person requirement. Hand sanitizer will be available to visitors.
During the closure, the front of the museum was renovated and new artifacts were added. Visitors will see a wider selection of vintage DeMoulin catalogs, additional photos of employees, and a display case explaining the role the Modern Woodmen of America and William A. Northcott played in the factory’s founding. Also new is a panel highlighting DeMoulin Bros’ cap and gown era and a display highlighting a Wind Machine, found in February 2019 during the renovation of the former Greenville Masonic lodge.
This is the tenth anniversary for the DeMoulin Museum. The celebration marking the occasion was to be held in March but was postponed due to the pandemic. An announcement will be made in the future about the rescheduled celebration.
The DeMoulin Museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville. Admission is free but donations are accepted. For more information, call the museum at (618) 664-4115.
- DeMoulin Museum Postponing Celebration
(March 13, 2020) - The DeMoulin Museum has postponed its 10th Anniversary celebration due to the health concerns created by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza outbreak. This includes the March 19 reception for current employees, the March 20 banquet, and the March 21 cookout at the museum.
After much discussion, the museum’s board reached this difficult decision based on current information and in anticipation of what may occur in the next week. There were also cancellations by several of those planning to participate in the celebration. The DeMoulin Museum wants to ensure that all those attending the festivities can do so safely with no concerns.
All of the 10th Anniversary events will be rescheduled, and tickets purchased for the banquet will be honored on the new date, which will be announced later.
Those with questions may call the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115 or email email@example.com
- Banquet Planned for DeMoulin Museum’s Anniversary
(February 23, 2020) - A banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the DeMoulin Museum’s opening will be held Friday, March 20 at The Milk House in Greenville. The evening will include a chicken and ham dinner, music from the Ragged Blade Band of St. Louis, and a program featuring guest speakers and a few surprises. The event is open to the public.
One of the special guests that night is Charles Schneider, an actor, writer, and magician who was involved in the 2010 reprint of DeMoulin catalog number 439, the last DeMoulin catalog that promoted the sale of lodge initiation devices. DeMoulin Museum curator John Goldsmith said, “Charles visited Greenville twice in 2010, when he was doing research for the book and later when it was released. Local people still ask me about Charles because his fun personality left such a positive impact on everyone he met. He’s excited about returning to Greenville for the museum’s anniversary celebration.”
The Ragged Blade Band has become a fixture at the museum having performed there twice. Their repertoire of ragtime and early 20th century music has made them a popular draw. “You could say they’ve become the museum’s official band,” Goldsmith explained. “They love their association with the museum and playing for their fans in Greenville.”
Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program to follow. Tickets are $15 per person, $25 per couple, and $7 for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the DeMoulin Museum or Watson’s Drug Store in Greenville. For more information, call (618) 664-4115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Details will be coming on other celebration activities to be held that weekend.
The DeMoulin Museum celebrates the history of DeMoulin Bros. & Co., a marching band uniform manufacturer founded in 1892. The company got its start as a maker of regalia and paraphernalia, including wacky initiation devices, for fraternal orders like the Modern Woodmen of America, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Improved Order of Redmen, and Knights of Pythias. Since its opening in 2010, the museum has gained national attention for its rare collection of early DeMoulin initiation devices including the Ferris Wheel Goat, Trick Chair, Lifting and Spanking Machine, and Trick Camera. The museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville, is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment.
- Museum Announces Attendance Contest
(January 12, 2020) - This year marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville. First opened to the public on March 20, 2010, the museum tells the story of DeMoulin Bros. & Co., and its founders, employees, and unique products. Since its opening, the museum has been featured on television, in books and magazine articles, and attracted visitors from around the world.
To kickoff the anniversary celebration, the DeMoulin Museum is having a “Guess the Attendance Contest”, sponsored by TNT RV and Generator Service of Greenville. Contestants have until 5pm on February 15 to submit their guesses on how many visitors will attend the museum in 2020. The person guessing closest without going over wins a $50 Visa gift card. In the event of a tie, a random drawing will be conducted of the tying guesses. The winner will be announced December 31. You must be 16 or older to enter and may only guess once. Employees of TNT RV and Generator Services and DeMoulin Museum volunteers and board members are not eligible. Entries may be emailed to email@example.com, mailed to DeMoulin Museum, 205 S. Prairie St., Greenville, IL 62246, or messaged to the DeMoulin Museum Facebook page. Please include your name, telephone number, and your guess.
The museum attracted 930 visitors in 2019 including those from 24 states and one person from South Africa. John Goldsmith, museum curator, said almost a quarter of visitors last year came from outside of Illinois. The highest attendance total came in 2015, Greenville’s Bicentennial year, when 1,307 people signed the guest book.
“We’re excited to partner with TNT RV and Generator Service on this contest,” Goldsmith noted. “This is a fun way to launch our tenth anniversary.” Goldsmith said a special anniversary logo will be unveiled in the near future. The celebration is scheduled for Saturday, March 21 and will include activities at the museum during the day and a banquet that night.
For more information on the “Guess the Attendance Contest”, visit the museum’s website at www.demoulinmuseum.org or Facebook page.
The DeMoulin Museum is open Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. Expanded summer hours begin in June. Special tours may also be arranged by contacting the museum at (618) 664-4115.
- Family Artifact Coming To DeMoulin Museum
(January 10, 2020) - For a company that’s been manufacturing band uniforms since 1897, it may not come as a surprise that music was an important part in the lives of its founders. DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, Illinois was founded by Ed DeMoulin in 1892 as a maker of regalia and paraphernalia for the Modern Woodmen of America fraternal organization. Five years later, the youngest DeMoulin brother, Ulysses (U.S.), co-founded the Greenville Concert Band, which lives on today as the Greenville Municipal Band. At U.S.’s suggestion, the DeMoulin factory created a set of band uniforms for the group, thus launching an industry that has made the company world renowned.
Ed, U.S. and their older brother Erastus were all members of this band, but their love of music can be traced back to their father, Elisha, a French immigrant who arrived in America in 1850. He later settled in Jamestown, Illinois and led the local band for that community and neighboring Sebastopol. U.S. DeMoulin later said his father had been a child prodigy who could play multiple instruments and compose music.
The DeMoulin Museum will soon be welcoming Elisha DeMoulin’s E-flat cornet to the family display. The cornet has been in the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. archives for decades. It was recently identified by John Goldsmith, museum curator.
Goldsmith said, “I knew the factory had some vintage instruments in its collection, which I had suspected belonged to the DeMoulin brothers. However, after rereading U.S. DeMoulin’s 1954 autobiography, I realized this old, well-worn instrument was their father’s. It has quite a story to tell.”
According to Goldsmith, the cornet was given to Elisha by his father, prior to their departure for America in 1850. U.S. wrote that his father used the instrument to lead the bands in Jamestown and Sebastopol. When the Civil War broke out, the cornet was loaned to an F. Leonhard of Trenton, who played it while a member of the Jamestown Military Band. Goldsmith said a metal tag with Leonhard’s name and the year 1869 can be found on the cornet. In his autobiography, U.S. noted, “It is claimed that the patch-covered hole it now bears was caused by a bullet from a rebel’s gun.” Goldsmith explained that this detail also helped in identifying the instrument as that owned by Elisha DeMoulin.
“At some point the cornet was given back to Elisha DeMoulin and later inherited by his son, U.S. It’s a great piece of family and factory history that intersects with Clinton County lore,” Goldsmith observed.
“We’re thrilled that the factory is putting it on loan to the museum. When I shared the story with Don Adamski, DeMoulin president, he was amazed to learn the cornet’s origin. We were both thankful that it had survived all of these years in the factory’s archives.”
The DeMoulin Museum, located at 205 S. Prairie St. in Greenville, is open Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm. Special tours may also be arranged by contacting the museum at (618) 664-4115. This year marks the museum’s tenth anniversary.
This 19th century E-flat cornet intersects the history of the DeMoulin factory and family, Clinton County, and the Civil War. It’s a unique piece with quite a story behind it.
Elisha DeMoulin, in photograph above, was given the cornet by his father, prior to their departure for America in 1850.
- 2020 Fundraisers Announced
(January 4, 2020) - The DeMoulin Museum announces our list of 2020 Fundraisers! More details on each event will be added.. This is our 10th anniversary! We’re planning a year-long celebration!
- DeMoulin Museum Closed for Holidays
(December 16, 2019) - The DeMoulin Museum is closed for the holiday season and will re-open on Saturday, January 4, 2020.
However, special tours can be scheduled before the end of the year by calling the museum at (618) 664-4115 and leaving a message.
The DeMoulin Museum is located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville.
- Country Singer Returning To Museum
(December 1, 2019) - Jamie Nattier, a traditional country singer, is coming back to the DeMoulin Museum Sunday, December 8 for a free concert — and he’s bringing his new CD along. Nattier performed to a packed crowd at the museum in June. His new CD, The Color of Home, recently came out and Nattier asked the museum if it would host a CD release party.
“We were thrilled when Jamie contacted us about having him back for another concert,” said John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator. “His performance earlier this year attracted one of the largest crowds we’ve ever had for an event.”
Raised on his family’s farm in Patoka, Illinois, Jamie began writing songs when he was fifteen. Ten of the twelve songs on his new CD are written or co-written by Nattier.
Nattier says the album was a long time in the making. “I feel like I needed that time though to finally find my sound. It’s my brand of traditional country music. This is also the most honest I have ever been on an album thus far. I really feel like you will get a sense of who I am after hearing these songs.”
During his concert, Jamie will perform a mixture of songs from his album, country classics, and Christmas favorites.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the concert begins at 2:00 p.m. Because seating is limited to the first 60, concert-goers are encouraged to arrive early. Free refreshments will be available.
For more information, call the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115.
- Full Night of Activities at DeMoulin Museum
(November 23, 2019) - The DeMoulin Museum will be participating in Greenville’s annual Come Home for Christmas celebration on Saturday, November 30 with a focus on fun for children. In keeping with the event’s Frozen theme, the museum is welcoming Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, characters from the popular movie, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Children may have their picture taken with the trio, free of charge. Parents are asked to bring their own cameras.
Children will also have the opportunity to decorate their own Christmas cookies from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. All materials will be provided for free. DeMoulin Museum volunteers will assist the children. There will be a limit of one cookie per child.
Free refreshments will be served throughout the evening. The museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville, will be open that night from 6 to 8 p.m. Along with the kids’ activities, the public is welcome to tour the museum.
For more information, call the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115.
- DeMoulin Museum Curator to be Presenter at State Conference
(November 12, 2019) - The curator of the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville will be one of the speakers at this year’s Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) conference. John Goldsmith will be doing a presentation on Tuesday, November 19 entitled “Creating Your Own Publicity”. Goldsmith founded the DeMoulin Museum in March 2010 and has served as its volunteer curator.
The theme of this year’s IAM conference is “Museums at the Crossroads”. The IAM notes, “A crossroads approaches, and museums must find the best road forward. While all of this change can be quite overwhelming, it is further complicated by the constant speed bumps like shrinking budgets, staffing and volunteer shortages, changing fundraising and grant climates, and increased competition for visitor attention and time.”
Goldsmith brings a unique perspective as his road has included stops in the media, not-for-profits, and museums. He spent over 20 years in the radio industry before working for the National Road Association of Illinois, a group that promoted tourism, historical preservation, and business development along the U.S. Route 40 corridor in Illinois. During this time he was actively involved in the creation of the National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia and designed many of its displays. This was followed by a five-year stint as the tourism and chamber of commerce director for Greenville.
“One of my firm beliefs is that you must create and manage your own publicity,” said Goldsmith. “Having been on both the media and museum side of the equation, I’ve compiled an approach to marketing the DeMoulin Museum that might be beneficial to other institutions. I look forward to helping them develop a marketing plan that can boost their visibility on a shoestring budget.”
- New Artifact at DeMoulin Museum Tells World War II Story
(October 24, 2019) - A one-of-a-kind artifact was recently donated to the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville. A doll from the 1940s with a unique connection between DeMoulin Bros. and World War II is now featured at the museum. In December 2017, the museum was contacted by the heirs of Susan McCracken White, an Alabama resident, concerning a doll she owned while growing up in Greenville. The doll’s outfit was made by DeMoulin.
According to her son, David White, “My mother received this doll as a child. Its uniform was made by DeMoulin Bros. and modeled after the uniform her father was wearing during World War II. The doll has long been referred to as the ‘daddy doll’ in our family. It was her wish to see that this doll was donated to the DeMoulin Museum after her death.”
Susan’s father was William L. McCracken, a Greenville native, who ran his own dental practice in Greenville until joining the US Army Dental Corps from 1943 to 1946. Dr. McCracken was Chief of Dental Service for the 55th Field Hospital, serving with this unit at Hawaii and Okinawa. He was discharged as a captain and later move to Alabama where he had a successful career in dentistry.
DeMoulin Museum curator John Goldsmith is thrilled to showcase the doll. Goldsmith said, “Although the company was manufacturing military uniforms for the war effort, the uniform worn by this doll is a one of a kind DeMoulin creation made specifically for Susan. We may never know which DeMoulin employees were involved in this special project, but their handiwork will be permanently displayed, thanks to Susan McCracken White.”
White passed away August 26, 2017. The “daddy doll” was shipped to the museum in February of this year. Johnson’s Signs and Designs of Greenville created a special case for the doll, which is now permanently on display at the DeMoulin Museum.
During the month of November, in conjunction with Veterans Day, the museum will spotlight military uniforms made by DeMoulin Bros.
- HSHS Holy Family Hospital Sponsoring Silent Movie Series at Museum
(August 29, 2019) - HSHS Holy Family Hospital Silent Sundays, a silent movie series, is coming to the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville. Running on three consecutive Sundays, each program will spotlight a different silent film era star. A guest host will share some stories about the featured artist prior to the showing of each film.
The schedule is:
Sunday, September 8 featuring Buster Keaton, hosted by John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator.
Sunday, September 15 featuring Harold Lloyd, hosted by Tom Varner, Hard Road Theatre Productions executive producer.
Sunday, September 22 featuring Laurel and Hardy, hosted by John Coleman, Bond County Historical Society treasurer.
“This is the latest in the cultural offerings we’ve brought to the museum,” Goldsmith explained. “We’re excited to partner with HSHS Holy Family Hospital, our corporate sponsor of the film series. We feel this is another opportunity to offer unique entertainment you don’t commonly find.” Goldsmith added that the silent film stars selected are among the legends of the era. “The slapstick humor of the silent movies is similar to the laughs we get from the DeMoulin-made lodge initiation devices in our collection,” he said.
Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. with the one-hour program to begin at 4:00 p.m. Complimentary popcorn and drinks will be available. Limited seating is available. Tickets are available for a donation of $2.00 each and may be obtained at Watson’s Drug Store in Greenville or by emailing the DeMoulin Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Country Singer Performing at DeMoulin Museum
(June 15, 2019) - The DeMoulin Museum is hosting a free concert Saturday, June 29 at 6 p.m. by Jamie Nattier, a traditional country singer.
Raised on his family’s farm in Patoka, Illinois, Jamie is the son of a son of a farmer and a teacher. Growing up Jamie was surrounded by horses, cows, grain, and oil fields. A strong family foundation inspired him with an exceptional work ethic and strong academic values. He graduated from Patoka High School in 2008 and later earned an Associate’s Degree from nearby Kaskaskia College.
His earliest performances were for 4-H and church events. Soon however, he began performing for local opry shows. When area bands realized his potential, they invited this young man to play along with them even though he was many years younger than most.
Jamie wrote his first song when he was fifteen. To hone his talents, he started attending several workshops, began co-writing, recording his songs, and making CDs. He has played and hosted numerous open mic nights. Jamie has performed at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and Du Quoin. Jamie has also performed in Pigeon Forge, TN, and on many stages in Nashville such as The Bluebird Cafe and Tootsies as well as getting to sing at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
Jamie assists his dad on the family farm and is also a rural mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. Jamie has been working on a new CD which he hopes to have released this fall. Jamie resides in rural Kell with his wife, Cassie, his two beagles, and a basset hound.
John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator, says concert-goers will enjoy the show. “I first met Jaime years ago when I emceed the Country Showdown competition and he was a contestant. His talent as a singer and songwriter were evident back then. Anyone who appreciates real country music will love the concert.”
This is the latest in a series of free concerts held at the DeMoulin Museum, located at 205 S. Prairie St. in Greenville. You are encouraged to bring your lawn chair. Free popcorn and drinks will be available. The museum will also be open for tours.
- Museum Taking Orders For Bricks: Order Yours For Mothers Day!
(May 3, 2019) - The DeMoulin Museum is now taking orders for a second round of brick pavers recognizing current and former employees of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Bricks are 4” x 8” and feature up to three lines of text. Each brick is $100 with proceeds to benefit repairs and upkeep of the museum. The bricks will be installed in a prominent space in front of the DeMoulin Museum.
Brick sales began last June and an initial order of 37 was placed at the end of 2018. Wet conditions this spring have delayed their installation. The goal is to get another order placed by the end of May.
“Our first group of bricks honored company founder Ed DeMoulin, all of the subsequent factory presidents, and an array of employees,” explained museum curator John Goldsmith. “There have been a few surprises including some employees from the 1930s that I wasn’t familiar with.”
Goldsmith said, “A number of bricks have been purchased as gifts for loved ones. Mother’s Day is an ideal time for us to sell our next round.”
The DeMoulin Museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville, pays tribute to the founders, employees, and unique products of the factory. Since its founding in 1892, the company has employed thousands of people whose tenures range from a summer job to over 50 years.
For more information about the DeMoulin brick pavers, call (618) 664-4115 or download the form. The DeMoulin Museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- DeMoulin Museum Observing Odd Fellows’ Bicentennial
(April 9, 2019) - The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is celebrating its 200th anniversary this month and the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville is hosting a special program to observe the occasion. Founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1819, the Odd Fellows now has 600,000 members worldwide. Known for their three link of chain logo, which represents friendship, love, and truth, the Odd Fellows were one of the fraternal customers of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. during the factory’s early years.
A special program, “Odd Fellows: 200 Years of Riding the Goat”, will be presented by Ainslie Heilich on Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. at the DeMoulin Museum. Heilich will explain who the Odd Fellows are, what they do, and how they factor into DeMoulin history. Odd Fellows artifacts, made by DeMoulin Bros. & Co., will be showcased. Free refreshments will be served following the program.
Heilich is an Odd Fellow and founding member and Past Grand of Tuscola #316. He is also a member of Owl Creek Rebekah #91, Champaign Encampment #68, and Zonar Canton #18, all of Fisher, IL. He is also on the Grand Lodge of IL IOOF Web Committee and the Sovereign Grand Lodge Communications Committee and built/maintains their websites and Facebook pages and is a founder of the Heart in Hand blog. Ainslie is a tattoo artist and co-owns Vintage Karma in Tuscola, IL. When he is not tattooing or Odd Fellowing, he oversees the official website and Facebook page for guitarist G.E. Smith.
John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator, said this will be a special day for the museum. “We’re thrilled to have Ainslie share the Odd Fellows story with us. We often get visitors asking about this particular fraternal order, which DeMoulin made many things for. This also gives us the opportunity to display Odd Fellows things from our collection that aren’t normally seen.”
- DeMoulin Museum Reflects On Big Year
(January 2, 2019) - The first year in its new home proved to be a busy one for the DeMoulin Museum. Since reopening in the former Central Christian Church in late February, the museum attracted 1,255 visitors from 25 states and five foreign countries. John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum Curator, said, “Several church groups and travel clubs from the St. Louis area made the trip to Greenville. One of the most interesting was the Fords Unlimited Car Club.” The museum also hosted its first Boy Scout Night in August. Local scouts were treated to a special program then camped out overnight on the museum grounds. Goldsmith said they hope to offer more Scout Nights in 2019.
There were a number of highlights in 2018 including:
- The unveiling of the Atlanta Olympic Band uniform display in June, which was attended by three members of the band and two chaperones.
- A visit by Congressman John Shimkus in July
- Curator John Goldsmith presenting a program on DeMoulin initiation devices in Kinsley, KS in September for the Edwards County Historical Society
- Hosting the Masonic Library Museum Association’s annual meeting in October
- A live concert on the museum grounds by the Ragged Blade Band, a ragtime group from St. Louis, in September
- Curator Goldsmith’s participation in an Illinois Humanities Council podcast recorded in Atlanta, Illinois in November to celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial
Plans for 2019 include adding some new displays and offering more free concerts on the museum grounds. The DeMoulin Museum is located at 205 S. Prairie St. in Greenville, IL. Winter hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission is by donation. Group tours are now being booked for the New Year. Tours can be scheduled for any day by calling the museum at (618) 664-4115 or emailing.
- DeMoulin Museum Hosting Come Home For Christmas Activities
- Painting Donated to DeMoulin Museum
(September 12, 2018) - The artwork of a former DeMoulin Bros. employee has been donated to the DeMoulin Museum. Naomi Babbitt was an artist at the factory for fifty years whose talent was featured in band uniform catalogs. She also created sketches that DeMoulin salesmen used when meeting with customers. But, Babbitt’s talent was not limited to her job. She was one of the charter members of a local group known as the Prairie Artists. In the 1970s, the Prairie Artists’ works were showcased during festivals held on the courthouse grounds. Most of the paintings created by these artists featured homes, buildings, barns and landscapes around Bond County.
In April 1974, Babbitt painted an image of the DeMoulin factory and its pond that she titled “Reflections In Early Morning”. Since then the painting has hung at First Bank on the Greenville square. After the bank’s sale to Peoples State Bank, the new owners donated the painting to the DeMoulin Museum.
Jennifer Richards, Branch Manager at Peoples State Bank in Greenville, said, “It is our mission at Peoples State Bank to provide growth and stability to our community. We consider it a privilege to serve Greenville and wish to give back to our community, as much as possible.”
DeMoulin Museum Curator John Goldsmith thanked the bank for its generosity. “This gift is greatly appreciated. Naomi was a gifted artist and a legend in DeMoulin history. We’re excited to be able to display her painting of the factory, which also allows us the chance to tell her story, too.”
Babbitt passed away in 1984 but left behind an artistic legacy that will now be celebrated at the DeMoulin Museum.
Photo ident: (l to r) Tara Reeves, Jennifer Richards, and Shane Danosky of Peoples State Bank donate Naomi Babbitt’s 1974 painting of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. to DeMoulin Museum representatives Gina Goldsmith, John Goldsmith, and Becky Clausen.
- Ragtime Band Performing at DeMoulin Museum
(September 8, 2018) - The Ragged Blade Band, a St. Louis-based ensemble specializing in early 20th century music, will perform a free concert Saturday, Sept. 22 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville. The group features classics from the world of ragtime and the birth of blues and jazz. Band member Jerry Rabushka says concert-goers will hear tunes likes “Ballin’ the Jack” and “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”, along with some rarely performed songs of the era. Rabushka added, “Our group plays in the St. Louis area and throughout the Midwest at restaurants, wineries, and festivals. The DeMoulin Museum looks like a cool place and we’re looking forward to playing there.”
The Ragged Blade Band has been featured at the Mosaics Fine Art Festival in St. Charles, Mo., the Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Mo., and at a Kansas City Royals baseball game.
Because the concert will be held on the grounds of the museum, those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Popcorn and drinks will be available. DeMoulin Museum Curator John Goldsmith says this will be the first in a series of free entertainment hosted on their green space. According to Goldsmith, “Since moving to our new location, we’ve been looking forward to holding outdoor concerts. We think The Ragged Blade Band performance is the perfect way to launch our concert series. Music is such a big part of DeMoulin Bros.’ history, it’s natural that we’d work this into what we offer.”
The museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville, will also be open from 5 to 7:30 p.m. that evening. For more information, call (618) 664-4115.
- Brick Paver Program to Honor DeMoulin Employees
(June 13, 2018) - The DeMoulin Museum has announced plans to recognize current and former employees of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. with brick pavers. Since its founding in 1892, the DeMoulin factory has employed thousands of men and women, many of whom worked for the company for decades. When he began the business, Ed DeMoulin hired four seamstresses who brought their own sewing machines from home. Today, DeMoulin employs around 150 people who utilize state of the art equipment.
The DeMoulin Museum, located at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville, pays tribute to the founders, employees, and unique products of the factory.
“The workers are a big part of the stories we tell,” explained John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum Curator. “They were and still are true artisans who take great pride in their work. A company can’t exist for 126 years without folks like that. Our brick paver program is an opportunity to permanently acknowledge their efforts.”
Bricks are 4” x 8” and feature up to three lines of text. Each brick is $100 with proceeds to benefit repairs and upkeep of the museum. The bricks will be installed in a prominent space in front of the DeMoulin Museum.
The bricks may be purchased in honor or memory of anyone who worked for the factory, according to Goldsmith. “Whether you worked there for a summer or for fifty years, you are part of DeMoulin history. It’s a special group of people we want to celebrate.”
For more information about the DeMoulin brick pavers, call (618) 664-4115 or visit www.demoulinmuseum.org and download the form.
- DeMoulin Museum Welcomes Members of Atlanta Olympic Band to Celebrate Unveiling of AOB Uniform Display
(June 5, 2018) - The DeMoulin Museum experienced another magical day on Saturday, June 2 as the Atlanta Olympic Band uniform display was unveiled. DeMoulin Bros. & Co. manufactured the uniforms for the band, which promoted the Atlanta Olympics from 1992 to 1996. We were fortunate to be joined for this special program by three members of the band: Jill Womack Sewell of Maryland; Lynne Snyder of Indiana; and Christy Casher of Illinois. Also joining us were Dennis and Claudia Womack of Georgia, who served as chaperones from 1993 to 1996. DeMoulin employee Grace Haynes and DeMoulin retiree Frances Ulmer were also special guests.
- Olympic Band Highlighted in New Display
(May 14, 2018) - During its 126 year history, DeMoulin Bros. & Co. of Greenville, Illinois has manufactured products for fraternal lodges, circuses, celebrities, and marching bands around the world. The DeMoulin Museum, which showcases the company’s diverse history, will soon add a permanent display telling another remarkable chapter. The Atlanta Olympic Band (AOB) uniforms, one of the factory’s most prestigious projects, will be spotlighted in the display to be unveiled during a ceremony Saturday, June 2.
Created in 1992 to promote the upcoming Olympics in Atlanta, the band was comprised of band students across Georgia, who auditioned for the AOB. Members had to be at least 16 years of age, a Georgia resident or full-time student in a Georgia college/university, and active in their high school or college’s music program. Over the four years of its existence, around 600 kids performed in the AOB with only 25 of those participating from start to finish.
The band performed at President Clinton’s first inaugural, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, half-time of an Atlanta Falcons game, and several other functions prior to the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics.
For DeMoulin Bros., the band uniforms were manufactured during its 100th anniversary year. One of the uniforms was displayed that summer during an open house held to celebrate the centennial. In an interview conducted in July 1992, Dick DeMoulin, then company president, described the uniforms as “very colorful and very bright” with sleeve caps “to give a bigger stronger image on television.” The uniforms were highlighted by a white, gold, and green sash and the five-color Olympic emblem on the breast.
Since opening in 2010, the DeMoulin Museum has hoped to create a display showcasing the Atlanta Olympic Band uniforms. Last year, DeMoulin Museum Curator John Goldsmith contacted Jill (Womack) Sewell, a member of the AOB, and the band’s historian/archivist. Sewell has been working with Goldsmith on securing uniforms, photos, and other artifacts related to the band. “Jill’s love for the Atlanta Olympic Band is infectious,” Goldsmith explained. “She has helped us create what will become a signature display for the DeMoulin Museum.”
The public is welcome to the unveiling of the display on Saturday, June 2. Members of the AOB will be on hand at 10:30 a.m. for a question/answer session with the audience, followed by the unveiling at 11:00 a.m., then a reception with refreshments. Admission is free. The DeMoulin Museum is located at 205 S. Prairie St. in Greenville, Illinois.
- Museum featured in Illinois Farm Bureau’s Illinois Partners Magazine, Spring 2018
(March 1, 2018) - Illinois Partners magazine featured the DeMoulin Museum in their spring issue, which goes out to 330,000 members of the Illinois Farm Bureau. You can find the story online here: https://www.ilfbpartners.com/family/quirky-fun-demoulin-museum/
- DeMoulin Museum Opening In New Home
(February 19, 2018) - The DeMoulin Museum is welcoming visitors this weekend for the first time at its new home. Last November the Museum purchased the former Central Christian Church building at 205 S. Prairie Street in Greenville. Since then, renovations have been made to the church, constructed in 1882, while maintaining the structure’s historical integrity. The sanctuary’s stained glass windows, wood trim, and pews remain while the baptismal was donated to the Columbus Baptist Church of rural Keyesport.
The DeMoulin Museum’s move was dictated by a lack of space for artifacts and a growing number of large bus tour groups visiting. Since its opening on March 20, 2010, the DeMoulin Museum has welcomed over 7,000 visitors from over 40 states and several foreign countries. The Museum tells the story of DeMoulin Bros. & Co., founded in Greenville in 1892 as a manufacturer of fraternal lodge regalia, paraphernalia and initiation devices. The factory shifted its focus to marching band uniforms and continues to be an industry leader today.
The quirky lodge initiation devices — with names like the lifting and spanking machine, surprise chair, and Ferris wheel goat — are the Museum’s drawing card. In September 2017, the DeMoulin Museum was named by gobankingrates.com as one of “The 16 Weirdest Museums in the World.” The travel blog One Weird Globe has described it as a “must see destination.” Roadside America, an authority on quirky destinations, in its review wrote, “Although small and modest, the DeMoulin Museum is one that we’ll remember long after larger, slicker attractions are forgotten.”
John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum Curator, commented, “Our volunteers have been working hard the last couple months getting our new home ready. We couldn’t have asked for a better location than this historic building. We’re all excited about the new opportunities the additional space will provide us.”
The Museum will be open Saturday, February 24 from 10 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, February 25 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The Greenville Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon cutting at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. A brief program will follow. DeMoulin retirees, current and former employees are invited for a reunion on Sunday which will include a group photo at 2:30 p.m. Free refreshments will be served both days.
- DeMoulin Museum Temporarily Closed Between Oct 28, 2017 and Feb 22, 2018
(October 23, 2017) - Beginning Saturday, Oct. 28 we will be moving to our new location in the former Central Christian Church, at the corner of Prairie and South streets. There is work to be done before the museum reopens. New displays will be created and space for them needs to be prepared, along with some electrical upgrades and other remodeling. The integrity and history of the building is important and will remain intact. We are tentatively planning on a grand opening weekend February 23-25, 2018.
- DeMoulin Museum Receives Donation from FNB
(September 21, 2017) - The DeMoulin Museum’s fundraising campaign received a major boost Wednesday, September 20th as The First National Bank donated $5,000. A brief check presentation was held at the museum. Since early August, the DeMoulin Museum has been raising money for the purchase and renovation of the former Central Christian Church building. The museum has outgrown its current building due to the number of large tour groups coming to visit and the artifacts being added to the collection.
Mike Radliff, First National Bank President/CEO, commented, “We are proud to be a supporter of the DeMoulin Museum as it moves forward to this new chapter. The museum continues to attract visitors to Greenville from outside the region and the new building will benefit that mission.”
Dusty Bauer, Branch Manager for FNB’s Greenville facility, added, “The First National Bank is always looking for ways to benefit our community and the DeMoulin Museum is a big part of our local tourism.”
Members of the DeMoulin Museum Board of Directors and volunteers participated in the check presentation. Also attending was Dee McQuiston, great granddaughter of Edmond DeMoulin, founder of the factory the museum celebrates.
- DeMoulin Museum Featured in Unique List
(September 17, 2017) - When your museum spotlights artifacts like the Lifting and Spanking Machine and the Ferris Wheel Goat, you should probably expect to attract some attention. Recently, the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville, Illinois was featured in an article about the “16 Weirdest Museum Attractions” on the website gobankingrates.com. The article proclaims the DeMoulin Museum as “one of the best free places you can visit in America”. The museums highlighted are in the United States, Germany and Japan.
Museum Curator John Goldsmith said, “We had been contacted by gobankingrates requesting a photo for a feature they were doing. We had no idea what the article was about or what they were going to say. To be ranked among the museums on their list is not only an honor but also a great opportunity to attract more visitors to our community.”
Goldsmith noted that many of the museums making the list, like the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC and the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, are often featured on the television show Mysteries at the Museum.
Over the last two years, national exposure for the DeMoulin Museum has increased, thanks in large part to the website Roadside America. Since posting its review of the museum, in which it was rated “major fun”, a significant increase in out of state visitors has been seen. “Roadside America opened a lot of doors for us,” Goldsmith said.
The DeMoulin Museum is dedicated to the founders, employees and unique products of DeMoulin Bros. & Co. The factory was founded in 1892 as a manufacturer of regalia and paraphernalia for fraternal lodges. The company’s niche was fraternal initiation devices. DeMoulin is still in busy today as the nation’s leading maker of marching band uniforms.
- DeMoulin Museum Pursuing New Home
(July 31, 2017) - Since its opening on March 20, 2010, the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville, Illinois has welcomed over 7,000 visitors from over 40 states and several foreign countries. With its success has come growing pains. Following a year-long search, the DeMoulin Museum Board of Directors recently voted to pursue a new home.
According to John Goldsmith, Museum Curator, the Board has issued a letter of intent to buy the Central Christian Church, located at the corner of Prairie and South Streets in Greenville. The church, built in 1882, was originally home to the Grace Episcopal Church. When the congregation disbanded in 1952, the building sat vacant until it was purchased in March 1963 by the Central Christian Church. They moved the church from Third Street to its present location. The Central Christian Church has not held services since the beginning of this year.
DeMoulin Museum Board Chairman Don Adamski explained the reason why the museum is relocating. “With the continued success the museum has experienced as well as our growing collection of artifacts we’ve been seeking a larger location. This opportunity is ideal for the museum so the board decided to pursue it. I look forward to our continued growth in the new location as it will also attract more and more visitors to Greenville.”
Goldsmith said the museum would utilize the sanctuary and addition. “This building opens opportunities for us to create new displays, enhance existing ones, and host larger tour groups and events.”
Adamski said the challenge is raising funds for the purchase and renovation of the building. “I believe the generosity of the community will help us succeed in that effort.”
Because of the museum’s popularity across the country, hopes are high that outside donors will also become involved. A series of traditional fundraising activities will be announced in the weeks to come. The museum needs to raise $35,000 to cover the purchase and renovation of the property. Additional funds collected will be invested in upgrading and enhancing displays. The goal is to have the money needed in place by the end of the year.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to be the caretakers of this wonderful old church,” Goldsmith noted. “Our intention is to tell the DeMoulin story while maintaining the charm of the building.”
- Tyler Dale from History Channel’s “American Restoration”
(June 18, 2017) - In 2014, David Copperfield had two of his DeMoulin initiation devices restored by the guys on History Channel’s “American Restoration.” The pieces were the Ferris Wheel Goat and the Knife Throwing Board. Tyler Dale from “American Restoration” was in Greenville for the annual Greenville Graffiti Car Show and visited the DeMoulin Museum over the weekend and checked out our Knife Throwing Board and made a new friend of Wink-a-dink. It was truly a thrill having Tyler visit.
- DeMoulin Museum Hosting Family Reunion
(Tuesday, June 13, 2017) - The DeMoulin Museum in Greenville, Illinois is hosting a DeMoulin family reunion on Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2. A number of activities are planned. The reunion is open to all descendants and relatives of Elisha and Marie DeMoulin, whose children were Sephora, Evangeline, Clara, Erastus, Ulysses and Ed. The three sons were the founders of the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. factory, which today is the nation’s leading maker of marching band uniforms.
On Saturday, July 1 family members will meet at 10:30 a.m. for a tour and program at the DeMoulin Museum, 110 W. Main in Greenville. The group will have lunch together then visit Montrose and Mt. Auburn cemeteries to view family burial sites. There will also be a driving tour of DeMoulin homes and former locations of the DeMoulin Bros. factory.
Activities on Sunday, July 2 begin with breakfast followed by a tour of the Jamestown Cemetery and Sebastapol, where the DeMoulin brothers lived prior to moving to Greenville. The reunion will conclude with a tour of the potential future home of the DeMoulin Museum.
John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator, said the reunion is being held in celebration of the DeMoulin factory’s 125th anniversary. The event also falls on the same weekend as Bond County’s Bicentennial party. “Since we opened seven years ago, the museum has been visited by many DeMoulin descendants,” Goldsmith explained. “This is our chance to bring together those who’ve never met.”
For more information on the DeMoulin family reunion, contact the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115 or email email@example.com. Those planning on attending are asked to contact the museum to RSVP. You are also encouraged to bring family photos and stories to share.
View the DeMoulin Family Reunion event on Facebook!
- DeMoulin Museum Announces June Events
(Wednesday, May 31, 2017) - June will be a busy month at the DeMoulin Museum. Coinciding with the summer travel season, the museum’s expanded hours are underway. Visitors can stop by Fridays from 1 to 3 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, and Sundays from 2 to 4 pm through August 27. The museum was recently ranked number four on a list of “25 Strange Museums in the USA” by the website worldatlas.com.
The DeMoulin Museum will have extended hours Friday, June 23 in conjunction with DeMoulin Bros. & Co.’s 125th anniversary celebration. While the factory will be open for tours and refreshments that day, the museum will be open from 1 to 5 pm. You are encouraged to visit the factory first then stop by the DeMoulin Museum to learn more about the company’s fascinating history.
This year also marks the 120th anniversary of DeMoulin manufacturing its first set of band uniforms. Made in May 1897 for the Greenville Concert Band, these uniforms paved the way for the factory’s future. To honor this important moment in company history, the museum will be open Thursday, June 29 from 6 to 8:30 pm. The Greenville Municipal Band will perform at 7 that night on the courthouse grounds. DeMoulin Museum curator John Goldsmith will speak at the concert about the band’s connection to DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Complimentary punch and cookies will be served at the museum prior to and after the concert.
Plans are underway for a DeMoulin family reunion July 1 and 2. Details will be released soon.
- DeMoulin Museum Receives Monetary Donation
(Tuesday, January 31, 2017) - The DeMoulin Museum has received a $500 donation from anonymous donors through the Bond County Community Foundation. The check was presented Tuesday afternoon during a brief ceremony at the museum. John Goldsmith, museum curator, thanked the donors, “We greatly appreciate their support. It’s good to know that there are people out there who believe in the value of our mission.”
Mayor Alan Gaffner, who serves as the chairman of the Bond County Community Foundation board, complimented the museum’s board and volunteers for preserving the history of DeMoulin Bros. & Co., which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Gaffner also congratulated the museum on becoming a popular attraction for out-of-town visitors.
Goldsmith noted that since opening in March 2010, the DeMoulin Museum has drawn 6,442 visitors. According to Goldsmith, of the museum’s 861 visitors last year, at least 75% of them came from outside of Bond County. He said over 20 tour groups visited the museum in 2016.
According to Goldsmith the growing number of tour groups and the steady acquisition of artifacts have led to a lack of space. “For the last several months, we’ve been considering a variety of options from renovating our current building to searching for a larger location. Whatever route is decided, today’s donation is a springboard towards a fundraising campaign that we hope will assure the museum will remain open to be enjoyed by those of all ages.”
The DeMoulin Museum is a not-for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Bond County Community Foundation. For more information about becoming a DeMoulin Museum donor, call or email - find contact info on the Contact Us page.
IN THE PHOTO - Left to Right: Jill Franks, BCCF board member; Alan Gaffner, BCCF board chair; Esther Henry, museum board member; John Goldsmith, museum curator; Kami Suess, Greenville Tourism director and BCCF board member; and Liz Heinzmann, museum treasurer and BCCF board member.
- DeMoulin Calendars Now Available
(Thursday, December 1, 2016) - For the first time in its history, the DeMoulin Museum has released a limited edition calendar featuring four early 1900s photos of the DeMoulin factory. Two of the photos are being published for the first time. The calendar coincides with DeMoulin Bros. & Co.’s 125th anniversary. The calendars are being offered as a free gift to anyone making a minimum $5.00 donation to the DeMoulin Museum, which is a 501(c)3 under the Bond County Community Foundation. To make a donation or for more information about the calendar, call the DeMoulin Museum at (618) 664-4115, email at Contact Page or send a message to the museum’s Facebook page. The calendar was created by 3-Point Ink of Greenville.
- DeMoulin Museum Recieves Large IOOF Donation
(Sunday, November 27, 2016) - The DeMoulin Museum has received an unprecedented donation of vintage Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) regalia — many of the pieces in nearly mint condition. The items were recently found by the children of the late Robert Beckemeyer in a shed on his rural Carlyle property. Mr. Beckemeyer, a grain and dairy farmer, led a life of service including membership in the Southern Illinois Antique Power Club, Wheatfield Fire Protection District, and 60 years in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
When Carlyle’s IOOF Lodge #38 sold its original building in the 1980s, Mr. Beckemeyer saved most of the organization’s DeMoulin-made outfits, packing them in wood crates nestled among moth balls, where they stayed until a few weeks ago. Upon discovering the Odd Fellows artifacts, Beckemeyer’s children contacted Bob Seiffert, a current member of the chapter. With the blessing of the IOOF Grand Lodge of Illinois, Seiffert offered the collection to the DeMoulin Museum.
“This is truly one of the most amazing artifact donations ever made to the DeMoulin Museum,” commented John Goldsmith, museum curator. “Bob Beckemeyer is the hero of this story. He saw the importance of not only saving these Odd Fellows items but packing them in moth balls preserved them in immaculate condition. Although these robes were made in the 1930s, the colors are still vibrant. They look like they were manufactured yesterday.”
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was one of dozens of fraternal organizations for whom DeMoulin Bros. & Co. manufactured regalia and initiation devices. As Goldsmith explained, the robes were just part of the collection. “We also received the coordinating hats for many of the 20 costumes, ceremonial collars, and even a pair of leather sandals featuring the DeMoulin stamp.”
The collection is now being catalogued with plans for a special display to be unveiled in early 2017.
- Our 6000th Visitor has Arrived; Another Great Day at the Goat Museum!
(Monday, September 5, 2016) - The DeMoulin Museum is thrilled to announce that Trudy Ballinger of Rochester, Illinois was our 6000th visitor since we opened on March 20, 2010. Trudy and her husband, Roy (our 6001th visitor!), saw the DeMoulin Museum featured on Channel 20 in Springfield and made us part of their trip along the Historic National Road in Illinois. For being our 6000th visitor, Trudy received a museum t-shirt and mug.
- Sliding Stairs New Artifact at DeMoulin Museum
(Monday, August 29, 2016) - The DeMoulin Museum, located in downtown Greenville, Illinois, has added another strange lodge initiation item to its arsenal. The Sliding Stairs, manufactured by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. during its fraternal period in the early 1900s, could be the museum’s rarest piece. Museum staff believe very few were manufactured due to the size and nature of the device.
“It’s remarkable the factory sold any of them,” observed John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator. “The blindfolded candidate sat upon the top step of the stairs. A lodge member would trip the mechanism causing the steps to collapse, resulting in the candidate quickly sliding to the bottom. All of our volunteers agree the users of this device must have sustained a few injuries.”
As was the norm for DeMoulin initiation devices, a blank cartridge was also discharged and a bell would ring.
The contraption was purchased from an Austin, Texas antique dealer who found it in a store in Indiana, where it was about to be used as a display shelf. Fortunately the Texas dealer identified it as possibly being a DeMoulin device and immediately contacted the museum. “I’m not sure what amazes me more — that the DeMoulin Sliding Stairs exists or the good fortune that brought it to us,” Goldsmith noted.
IN THE PHOTO BELOW - DeMoulin Museum curator, John Goldsmith, demonstrates the trick to the sliding stairs.
IN THE PHOTO BELOW - DeMoulin Museum curator John Goldsmith (l) with Kevin Walker of Roadhouse Antiques in Austin, Texas. Walker located the DeMoulin Sliding Stairs at an antique store in Indiana.
- Thanks For Choosing Us!
(Sunday, July 31, 2016) - We’re proud to be your choice as Bond County’s Best Summer Fun Place and Best Family Fun Place! (Bond & Fayette County Shopper poll)
(IN THE PHOTO: DeMoulin Museum volunteer Gina Lewis places a Best in Bond County window cling on the museum’s door.)
- Gown Worn By Legendary Actress Now On Display
(Monday, July 25, 2016) - In its 124 year history, DeMoulin Bros & Co. has manufactured outfits for famous entertainers like cowboy movie star Tom Mix, lion tamer Mabel Stark, and singer CeeLo Green. The DeMoulin Museum has recently obtained a doctoral gown made for Ruby Dee, one of the most respected actresses and humanitarians in show business history.
Dee, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in 2007’s American Gangster, was a Grammy, Emmy, and Obie award winner. She was also a National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honors and Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award recipient. Among her other famous films were The Jackie Robinson Story, A Raisin in the Sun, and Do the Right Thing. In 1969, she was a regular on the TV show Peyton Place. She was married to Ossie Davis, with whom she often worked, until his death in 2005.
The robe was purchased at Ms. Dee’s estate sale by a woman who then sold it to the DeMoulin Museum. Prior to agreeing to the purchase, the museum did extensive homework verifying the gown’s authenticity.
“We’ve been able to document four occasions when Ruby Dee wore this gown while receiving special honors,” explained John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator. “The first was in 1982 when she received an honorary degree from Howard University. The others were in 1991 from Spelman College, 2009 from Princeton University and 2011 from Dartmouth. Three photos have been located showing her in the gown.”
Goldsmith said he believes the gown was manufactured by DeMoulin in 1976. The actress’s name was embroidered on the inside. The remaining mystery is why the robe was originally made for her?
From the 1920s until 1982, the DeMoulin factory had a very successful cap and gown and choir robe division. The Ruby Dee doctoral gown, which will be featured in a permanent display, is a highlight from this era in the company’s history.
“There are no words to explain how excited we are to have this artifact on display. Ruby Dee was a giant in show business but more importantly a legendary figure in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. I’m thrilled that this lady’s life intersected with DeMoulin Bros. & Co.”
IN THE PHOTO BELOW - DeMoulin Museum volunteers Gina Lewis (l) and Esther Henry (r) prepare Ruby Dee’s doctoral gown for display.
IN THE PHOTO BELOW - The DeMoulin manufacturing label inside the gown with Ms. Dee’s name embroidered below it.
- Time Clock Loaned to DeMoulin Museum
(Thursday, June 2, 2016) - Thanks to the generosity of an employee of DeMoulin Brothers & Co., the DeMoulin Museum has a piece of company history on display. The factory’s original time clock, manufactured around 1900 by the Cincinnati Time Recorder Company, was recently loaned to the museum by Mark Brooke. The company’s technical manager since 1992, Brooke was given the time clock around twenty years ago by Bill DeMoulin, retired company president. Brooke said he “worked on and off for a year” restoring the clock’s original internal components. After having the time clock as the center piece of the music room in his home, Brooke decided it was time to share it with the DeMoulin Museum’s visitors.
“The stories this artifact could tell,” commented John Goldsmith, DeMoulin Museum curator.“Our best guess is this time clock was used through the early 1950s, which means some of the great characters from DeMoulin history used it.”
One of the time clock’s unique features is a series of cigarette burns on its ledge. Brooke suspects employees placed their lit cigarettes on the ledge while clocking in.
Because the clock still works, the hope is to recreate DeMoulin time cards for visitors to clock in and out with and keep as souvenirs.
- Cookout Makes History, Proceeds to Fund Building Renovations
(Saturday, April 16, 2016) - The DeMoulin Museum held a successful cookout fundraiser on Friday, April 15. Thanks to the hard work of Chef Wes Pourchot and his team plus our phenomenal volunteers, the DeMoulin Museum raised $1,850.25. Our deepest gratitude to everyone who stopped by and bought a pork burger, bratwurst, or butterfly chop.
- DeMoulin Museum Receives Unique Masonic Donation
(Sunday, February 21, 2016) - Greenville Masonic Lodge 245 AF & AM has donated a set of vintage aprons made by DeMoulin Bros. & Co. The aprons were found last fall in storage at the lodge’s former home on the Greenville square. Preparing for the move to their new location on College Avenue, members of the lodge suggested donating the aprons to the DeMoulin Museum. DeMoulin Bros. & Co. made a variety of things for Masonic lodges including aprons, furniture, and regalia. The aprons will be featured in a special display this spring.
IN THE PHOTO BELOW RIGHT - Bob Kirkman, Merle Scott, and Kenneth Henry of the Greenville Masonic Lodge try on a piece of their past, book-ended by John Goldsmith and Gina Lewis of the DeMoulin Museum.
- Baseball Program To Benefit DeMoulin Museum
(Tuesday, March 29, 2016) - A special program entitled “The Ultimate Redbirds Fan Night” will be held Thursday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. with proceeds to benefit the DeMoulin Museum. The program is being hosted by museum curator John Goldsmith at his home and will include a tour of his extensive St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Browns collection, the showing of the 1982 World Series highlights film, and refreshments. Tickets are $20 each and a limited number will be sold. The deadline to purchase tickets is 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 6. Tickets may be reserved by calling the DeMoulin Museum at 664-4115 or emailing via the Contact Form.
- DeMoulin Museum Welcomes Record Number of Visitors
(Monday, December 21, 2015) - The DeMoulin Museum saw 1,294 visitors pass through its doors in 2015, surpassing the previous high set in its inaugural year of 2010. John Goldsmith, museum curator, said Greenville’s Bicentennial weekend, bus tours, school tours, and national publicity on two travel websites were factors in setting the record.
Since opening March 20, 2010 the DeMoulin Museum has welcomed 5,564 visitors from around 40 states. “For a museum that’s only open on weekends or by appointment, we’re thrilled with the response we’ve had over our first five years,” Goldsmith commented.
The museum will be closed for the holidays and reopen Saturday, January 9, 2016. Anyone wishing to schedule a tour over the holidays may call (618) 322-2936.
- Raffle Winners Drawn
(Monday, December 21, 2015) - The DeMoulin Museum congratulates the winners in our annual Cardinals Autograph Raffle (Drawn Dec 18, 2015):
1st place Jeff Alexander (Willie McGee photo)
2nd place Steve Ainscough (Vince Coleman baseball)
3rd place Jace Keaster (Kolten Wong baseball card)
Thanks to everyone who bought tickets in the raffle in support of the DeMoulin Museum!
- Win an Autographed St. Louis Cardinals Collectible
- Roadside America Blog Website Features DeMoulin Museum
(September 14, 2015) - DeMoulin Museum in Greenville, Illinois is Roadside America’s Sight Of The Week for Sept. 14-20, 2015. We’re honored to be have been selected!
Click to read all about our “Museum of Initiation Pranks”
- Magical Weekend of Labor Day Moments
(Tuesday, September 8, 2015) - Greenville’s 200th Birthday Bash delivered a fun-packed Labor Day weekend of milestones, special visitors, and presentations for the DeMoulin Museum. And the greatest highlight involved anticipated guests from Champaign-Urbana. The University of Illinois Marching Illini under the direction of Barry Houser were in Greenville Sunday, September 6, 2015, for the Bicentennial celebration. After participating in the parade the band performed a brief concert then presented a DeMoulin-made uniform to the DeMoulin Museum. It was another magical moment in the history of the museum and a great day for the DeMoulin Museum, DeMoulin Bros. & Co. factory, and U of I alums.
- DeMoulin Museum Celebrating 5th Anniversary
- Autographed Cardinals World Series Replica Ticket Raffle Winner
(Sunday, December 21, 2014) - Congratulations to Janice Romack of Greenville, the winner of the Autographed Cardinal World Series Ticket raffle! The DeMoulin Museum thanks everyone who purchased tickets.
The DeMoulin Museum raffled the 1982 World Series replica ticket autographed by Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Keith Hernandez, and Tom Herr to raise money for the museum renovation project. The ticket is 3.75 inches wide by 14 inches tall. The winner was randomly drawn on December 17.
- DeMoulin Museum Hosting Disney Events For Kids
(Monday, November 17, 2014) - The DeMoulin Museum, 110 W. Main Street, will offer a fun evening for kids on Saturday, November 29 during the downtown “Come Home For Christmas”. The museum will be open from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. for tours. At 6:00 p.m., girls ages 10 and under can enter an Elsa look-a-like contest. Elsa is one of the central characters in Disney’s animated film Frozen. There is no cost to enter the contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top three entries selected by the judges. Kids can also meet and have their picture taken with another Disney legend, Woody from Toy Story, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
- “Oddities” star Mike Zohn Visits Greenville
(Tuesday, April 15, 2014) - Mike Zohn, one of the stars of Science Channel’s “Oddities” and co-owner of Obscura Antiques and Oddities in New York, visited Greenville, Illinois and the DeMoulin Museum on Saturday, March 29, 2014. Zohn toured the DeMoulin Bros. Factory, signed autographs and presented a program about his store and TV show.