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Blasts from the past at Spurlock Summer Sundays

It’s barely June and we’ve already had a few blazing hot days here in East Central Illinois. With more hot days to come, and surely some rainy ones too, some of us will be looking for ways to get out while avoiding crowded pools and parks. Lucky for us, the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently launched a new Spurlock Summer Sundays series. With a little something for anyone of any age, Spurlock is the place to be on hot summer Sundays.

The series, which began Memorial Day weekend, is a part of a larger Spurlock initiative to offer more regular programming for the public and increase the amount of programs offered for adults relative to the the museum’s family and children’s programs. Spurlock Summer Sundays, running every Sunday until Labor day will rotate through three different themes: Cultural Celebrations, Spurlock Time Machine, and Sunday Splash, offering a wide variety of entertainment, educational, and crafting opportunities. Every Summer Sunday begins at 1 p.m., so you always know where and when to be for a great time.

This Sunday, June 11th, it’s expected to be a whopping 92 degrees just in time for the next Summer Sunday. This Sunday’s event, Wrapped Up in Ancient Egypt, falls within the Spurlock Time Machine Series. From 1-3:30 adults and children alike can head over to Spurlock to learn all about Ancient Egypt at a variety of stations set up around the museum’s gallery. They will be featuring activities such as jewelry making and 3-D pyramid puzzles. For the especially curious, a sensory station will provide the chance to smell a variety of essential oils that would have been used during mummification.

Museum-goers who always like to be prepared can make their own Tomb-to-Go, ensuring that their organs and servants accompany them to the afterlife. Spurlock Time Machine Sundays, which will take place on the second Sunday of every month, are targeted towards children and families, but little and big kids are welcome in equal measure. Individuals should leave Spurlock this Sunday with a better understanding of mummification, why it was done, the afterlife, and all the knowledge needed to make it there.

After a fantastic Sunday of mummification, adults can head over to Spurlock on June 18th for Sunday Splash. Each Sunday Splash, taking place on the first, third, and fifth Sundays of every month, will feature a water themed educational and crafting opportunity. Beginning at 1 p.m., attendees can go on a guided mini-tour of the museum. Occurring every 20 minutes, each mini-tour will be led by one of the museum’s education students and are designed to help people, “understand how museum people look at museums,” says Kim Sheahan, the museum’s Assistant Director of Education. Instead of a lecture, Sheahan says to expect a discussion about how to understand artifacts and interpret information at museums. From the materials made, from the commonplace to the extravagant, the goal is for people to leave Sunday Splash with a comfortable understanding of the artifacts that they can take with them and share with others.

Before, after, or between mini-tours, interactive modules and hands-on activities designed for adults and college students will be available, led by craftspeople and experts in the field. On the first Sunday Splash that took place on June 4th, attendees learned about the Ocean of the Sky, with a tour led by one of the University’s Astronomy professors, and had the opportunity to make homemade devices in order to safely view the total solar eclipse on August 21st. Giving a sneak peak into an upcoming theme for Sunday Splash, Sheahan says the museum is working on a Trade by Water theme. Future crafting opportunities include, “Indonesian batik watercolors, Chinese brush painting, Roman mosaics, and global constellation art.”

Every fourth Sunday of the month, enjoy the Summer Sundays performance series, Cultural Celebrations. The next two Cultural Celebrations will feature different storytellers. The last Cultural Celebration will feature a performance by The Coneflowers. Performances at each Cultural Celebration will be about 45 minutes with crafts, tours, and activities to follow. The last few Spurlock Summer Sundays will have activities celebrating the U of I’s Sesquicentennial, prior to the opening of the museum’s Sesquicentennial exhibit.

Sundays this summer are sure to be a blast at Spurlock. Get out and take advantage of some free and fun activities with unique tours and learning opportunities designed to make museums exciting and accessible. 

To find out more about Summer Sundays, visit the Spurlock event page

For specific information about the activities offered each Sunday, feel free to call the museum in advance at 217-333-2360.

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