See an illustrated history of the Elgin National Watch Company at Gail Borden Public Library, in Elgin, on May 28. (Elgin History Museum photo)

Mind & Spirit Calendar

There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at upcoming lectures and educational enrichment.

See an illustrated history of the Elgin National Watch Company at Gail Borden Public Library, in Elgin, on May 28. (Elgin History Museum photo)
See an illustrated history of the Elgin National Watch Company at Gail Borden Public Library, in Elgin, on May 28. (Elgin History Museum photo)


Stories for a Spring Evening
May 1, 7-9 p.m. Bring family and friends for an evening of tales and legends in a scenic setting. Rain or shine. Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 479-5779

Marsh Music
May 2, 4:30-6 p.m. An introduction to the sights and sounds of marsh life, with games, activities, crafts and a short hike. Pleasant Valley, Shelter 2 & Amphitheater, 13315 Pleasant Valley Road, Woodstock, (815) 479-5779,

Native Plant, Shrub, and Tree Sale
May 2-3, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 19th annual sale by Citizens for Conservation. Good Shepherd Hospital Barn, 459 W. Hwy. 22, Barrington,

Desserts And Cakes
May 9, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn fast and easy ways to make desserts, cakes, frosting, mousses and dessert sauces. Discuss proper methods and techniques, and demonstrate basic cake decorations while sipping Champagne. $55. Loyola University Retreat & Ecology Campus, 2710 S. Country Club Road, Woodstock, (815) 338-1032.

Beautiful Elgin Bungalows
May 11, 7-8:30 p.m. Experts offer information on architecture preservation, renovations and local history for bungalow-style homes. Registration req. Gail Borden Public Library (GBPL), 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin, (847) 742-2411,

Sports in Elgin: 1950s and 1960s
May 13, 7-8:30 p.m. Revisit the local sports scene during the 1950s and ’60s, with former athletes and coaches, moderated by Steve Thoren. Reg. req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Different Minds Contribute to Society
May 14, 8 p.m. Dr. Temple Grandin, who at age 2 had no speech and all the signs of severe autism, shares how her ability to think differently helps her to solve problems that neuro-typical brains might miss. Fermilab, Kirk Road & Pine Street, Batavia, (630) 840-2787,

Smith Nature Symposium
May 16, 5:30-9 p.m. Cocktail reception, dinner, keynote address on Rachel Carson and environmentalism. Pricing/registration: (847) 968-3308, Ryerson Woods, Riverwoods.

Living History Open House
May 17, noon-4 p.m. This drop-in program features Samuel Walker, a prominent and influential man who lived in the house after the Civil War. Volunteers in historical attire will answer questions. Powers-Walker House, Glacial Park Conservation Area, 6316 Harts Road, Ringwood, (815) 479-5779,

A Story of Elgin’s African-American Heritage
May 19, 7-8:30 p.m. Screening of the Elgin documentary Project 2-3-1, documenting life in Elgin for the African-American community from the 1860s to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Discussion follows. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

History of Elgin Mental Health Center
May 20, 7-8:30 p.m. Bill Briska tells the story of the facility’s history, along with the larger societal forces and changes in treatment technology that have shaped EMHC’s mission. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Elgin
May 21, 7-8:30 p.m. Discussion of the 1940s-1950s suburban boom and how the ranch-style home changed the face of suburban America, with focus on some of Elgin’s homes. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Five Faces of Victoria: Jubilee Queen
May 28, 1 p.m. A look at Queen Victoria from Michael Harkins, Barrington History Museum president. Traditional English tea follows. $40; proceeds benefit Cantata Adult Life Services and Barrington History Museum. The Garlands, 1000 Garlands Lane, Barrington,

History of the Elgin National Watch Company
May 28, 7-8:30 p.m. Jerry Turnquist of the Elgin Historical Society uses photos to illustrate the story of the Elgin National Watch Company, which was founded during the Civil War and produced over 60 million “Elgin” watches before closing in the 1960s. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.


Artists and Gardeners
June 5, 9:30-11 a.m. Laura Mueller from the Art Institute of Chicago discusses Claude Monet, Peter Paul Rubens and other artists who created gardens that in turn inspired them to further creation. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Ice Fishing for Neutrinos
June 10, 8 p.m. Presented by Dr. Francis Halzen, University of Wisconsin. The IceCube project at the South Pole has melted 86 holes over 1.5 miles deep and lowered a string of basketball-sized light detectors into each that are sensitive to the shimmering blue light emitted when neutrinos pass through the Earth. $7. Fermilab, Batavia, (630) 840-2787,

Road Race Roundtable
June 15, 7-8:30 p.m. Maurice Dyer tells the history of road racing in Elgin, from the Elgin Road Races of the 1910s to the Piston Pin Special. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

La Dolce Vita (1960)
June 17, 1-4:40 p.m. Classic Film Series. Federico Fellini’s film follows restless reporter Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) as he drifts through life in Rome, dealing with a suicidal girlfriend while pursuing heiress Maddalena (Anouk Aimée) and movie star Sylvia (Anita Ekberg). Discussion follows. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Tupperware: The Burp Heard ‘Round the World
June 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Educator and researcher Linda Rick, dressed in period clothing, tells the story of how Tupperware was invented, the rise of the company in the 1950s and the demise of its marketing genius Brownie Wise. Registration req. GBPL, Elgin, (847) 742-2411.

Bike Week: The Working Bike
June 21-27, Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m., Sun. noon. See and pedal the Bike Machine that can be used to harness electricity to power water pumps, lights and more. Crafts and learning stations, daily activities. Gail Borden Public Library, Rakow Branch, 2751 W. Bowes Road, Elgin, (847) 531-7271,

Yoga for Cyclists
June 22, 6:30-7:15 p.m. Just like yoga, cycling requires concentration, balance and strength. Learn some appropriate postures, warm-up and recovery stretches. Registration req. Gail Borden Rakow Branch, Elgin, (847) 531-7271.

Reflections: History of the Bicycle in Elgin
June 24, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Retired city planner and bicycle advocate Tom Armstrong talks about Elgin’s past bicycle manufacturers and racing, and the area’s growing bike network. Registration req. Gail Borden Rakow Branch, Elgin, (847) 531-7271.

Bike Maintenance at Rakow Branch
June 25, 6-7 p.m. Bob Noe from Village Pedaler in South Elgin will offer simple bike maintenance tips and answer questions for bike riders 12 to 112. Gail Borden Rakow Branch, Elgin, (847) 531-7271.

Give Your Old Bike a New Home
June 27, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Bring unused and outgrown bikes for Working Bikes, which donates used bicycles to those in developing countries and low-income communities in the Chicago area. Drop them off in the Rakow Parking Lot, then check out the Working Bike inside the Library. Gail Borden Rakow Branch, Elgin, (847) 531-7271.