Michael and his wife Jane moved to Urbana in the mid-seventies for Michael to serve as an artist-in-residence for the college and county schools. Their intention was to stay one year before moving back to New York where he felt he needed to be for his art career. They fell in love with the people and environment of Champaign County including Urbana’s architecture and Urbana College. After finding and purchasing an abandoned church to renovate for a home and art studio they committed to stay on here.
Major studied art at the Dayton Art Institute from the sixth grade through his senior year of high school, has a BS, Summa Cum Laude from Ohio University and an MFA from Pratt Institute, New York.
He founded Main Graphics in 1988 in part to publish books of drawings and after thirty-three years sold the company recently to Boldman Printing.
He continues to spend most of his time at his art studio at 119 Miami Street along with the Champaign County Arts Council and Architect daughter Sarah Mackert.
Submitted on behalf of the CCHS by Rob Pollock, volunteer
What is it worth?
Find out this Wednesday, May 19th at the Champaign County Historical Museum’s spring fundraiser.
The fundraiser will be held on Wednesday between 6 and 9 p.m. in the museum at 809 East Lawn in Urbana.
The event, which is patterned after the PBS series “Antiques Roadshow,” is sponsored by Freshwater Farms of Ohio and the Historical Society. All proceeds benefit the museum’s operations.
The price of admission is $20 in advance, or $25 at the door. Admission includes one appraisal and a flight of wine & charcuterie plate served “bistro-style” by Freshwater Farms. The organizers hope that folks will socialize during the event and tour the museum rather than simply wait in line.
Four experienced appraisers will be set up throughout the museum. Two appraisers were introduced earlier this month.
Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum, at local banks – Peoples, Perpetual and Urbana’s Park National Bank. In addition to benefiting the museum and preserving its artifacts, this should be a fun event for people of all ages to enjoy and hopefully one that will build from year to year.
By Rob Pollock, Volunteer with the Champaign County Historical Society.
“What is it worth?”
Do you have an old object, an antique or a family heirloom that you want to know more about? We may have a solution for you.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is hosting an Antiques Appraisal Fair between 6 and 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 19.
The event is one of two fundraisers that help support museum operations. Freshwater Farms of Ohio and the Historical Society are sponsoring this event.
Advance tickets are $20 each and available at local Urbana banks, the Chamber of Commerce and at the museum located at 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana. Tickets may also be purchased on the evening of the event for $25 each.
For the price of admission guests will receive a verbal appraisal for one item from one of the appraisers. (Current CCHS members may have two objects appraised). In addition, there will be a complementary wine and cheese bistro hosted by Freshwater Farms of Ohio.
The other appraisers will be featured in an upcoming article.
The Historical Museum hopes you will participate in this event and help support our operations.
On Wednesday, March 31, artist and author Robert Kroeger came to the museum to demonstrate his barn painting technique, tell barn stories, and sign his recently published book “Historic Barns of Ohio.”
A raffle of the painting he produced at the event was won by attendee Ed Smith of Chillicothe, Ohio.
Four previously painted pictures by the artist were displayed at the event and are being sold via a silent auction. The auction will end at our Sunday, April 18th 2pm Program (“Myths of the Civil War” presented by Mayor Bill Bean).
Between now and then, you may either submit your bid at the museum, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The minimum bid is $150. You will be notified by either phone or email should someone submit a higher bid. The four pictures being auctioned can be found below.
Further background information on the artist and the individual paintings can be found on his website (THE BARN PROJECTS).
Feel free to call the museum for further details of the auction at 937-653-6721.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID situation in county we are going to have to postpone John Bry's program on Reynolds Street scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15th.
We will be posting a reschedule date as soon as we have one.
This article was written by Urbana Junior High students Elaei Brown, Grady Lantz, Ethan Rose, Janaya Scott, Gavin Stacy and Michael Upchurch as part of a Project Based Learning unit called “Lost Voices,” which helps preserve and share the history of African-Americans in Urbana. The junior high’s Social Studies Department (which includes 6th-8th graders) is working with the Champaign County and Delaware historical societies to present and preserve the story of Dr. EWB Curry. The information below, as well as other information about Curry, is to be presented at the Champaign County Historical Museum in February 2021. (EVENT POSTPONED)
The students of Urbana Junior High School have selected Dr. Elmer Curry for their 2020 Project Based Learning assignment. They used primary and secondary resources to research his family history, educational background, and his different learning institutions. Dr. Curry was a pioneer in educational reform for African-Americans in the early twentieth century and many of his progressive schools were located throughout Champaign County.
Elmer Curry was born on March 23, 1871 in Delaware, Ohio. He lived in a log house on South Street with his mother Julia and his father George. His dad worked as a minister at The Second Baptist Church on Ross Street, which had a great impact on his future career in education. African-Americans that were freed from slavery were not permitted to an equal education that would have helped them to live a better life. Elmer was interested in helping solve that situation through education.
While attending Delaware City Schools at the age of 17 years old, Elmer rented a kitchen shed for 50 cents per month to start his own school for African-Americans. His school was called The Place of Knowledge for Old and Young. It was located at 19 Davis Street in Delaware, Ohio. The tuition was 25 cents per week and his first student was a 50-year-old man who was a day laborer. After attending Michael College and graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University, he went on to become the first African-American teacher at the desegregated Delaware City Schools.
In 1889 he moved to Urbana, Ohio and founded the Curry Normal and Industrial Institute. His school had a traditional education, which focused on reading, writing, and math. It also taught trade school skills, such as nursing, caretaking, farming, printing, and clothes making. The building still stands today and is located at 325 East Water Street.
Dr. Curry passed away June 19, 1930, in Springfield and was buried at Oakdale Cemetery in Urbana, Ohio. There were over 2,000 students who attended the various Curry Schools. Dr. Elmer Curry’s story illustrates activist African-Americans from Ohio utilizing the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in an attempt to better the lives of African-Americans.
Owing to the coronavirus situation and in the interest of safety the Champaign County Historical Society is cancelling the Sunday, March 15th program by Bill Albers, “Champaign Lady - the heavy B-17 bomber.”
We hope to reschedule the program at a later date.
The Museum itself is still open and operating at normal hours.
Museum Holiday Hours
Open Dec. 24th & 31st 10am-12pm
Closed Christmas Day and Jan. 1st
Read about what's happening at the Champaign County Historical Museum this summer in the latest edition of the Champaign Chronicles!
Champaign County Historical Society Board President