'Culinary Curiosity' exhibit coming to Schaumburg, three other suburban libraries

  • A string bean cutter from 1889 is one of more than 200 pieces on display as part of a "Culinary Curiosity" exhibit spanning four suburban libraries.

    A string bean cutter from 1889 is one of more than 200 pieces on display as part of a "Culinary Curiosity" exhibit spanning four suburban libraries. Courtesy of the Schaumburg Township District Library

Posted10/2/2019 5:30 AM

An exhibit centered around the innovation of culinary tools and equipment will be on public display for the first time starting this week at Schaumburg Township District Library and three other suburban libraries.

The 250 pieces that make up the "Culinary Curiosity" exhibit originally were featured throughout Kendall College, a Chicago culinary school. They now will be divided by category and made available for public viewing in Schaumburg, as well as the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Aurora Public Library and Gail Borden Public Library District.


The exhibit opens Friday and will remain on display through Jan. 5. Patrons who visit two or all four locations within that three-month time frame can have their "passport" stamped and collect prizes along the way.

"Since we're all hosting a piece of this, we want to encourage people to explore the suburbs and see the whole thing," said Jennifer Czajka, program and exhibits manager for the Arlington Heights Memorial Library.

In addition to their collaborative efforts, the libraries also are hosting special programming, holding events and putting other items on display to complement "Culinary Curiosity."

At the Schaumburg Township library, for example, the exhibit will include "cutting edge" and "farm to fork" sections that showcase what farm tools and cooking devices were used in the early 1900s, said Stephanie Driscoll, creative services librarian.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

The library then will add historic photos of various Schaumburg farms in that era, as well as information about the town's German farming heritage, she said. A grand opening with related music, dancing and food programming is scheduled for Saturday.

"We're very excited to be able to have this at our library," Driscoll said. "Everybody loves to celebrate cooking and eating. I think it'll go over very well here."

In Arlington Heights, the exhibit will focus the evolution of equipment to prepare food from the 1800s to present day. Pieces in Aurora will make up the "Liquid Refreshments" and "Global Gastronomy" collections, both of which contain tools from various cultures. At Gail Borden -- a library named after a dairy inventor -- the display will feature equipment used primarily for baking and making other sweets.

The culinary devices were drawn from the personal collection of the late Mel and Janet Mickevic, who were food processing industry veterans. Arlington Heights library leaders have been in discussions with the Kendall College Trust for more than a year over the possibility of sharing the exhibit with the public, Czajka said, but they knew it was too large for one library to take on by itself.


Working with the trust, Arlington Heights teamed up with the three other libraries to divvy up the exhibit, she said, while aiming to "keep and honor those collections" the way they were curated.

"This is really unique ... and people love to learn about food," Czajka said. "There's no reason not to explore an exhibit of such high interest."

The libraries also are encouraging patrons to add a family recipe to the Culinary Curiosity's Community Cook Book. To submit a recipe or learn more about the exhibit, visit culinarycuriositytourslibraries.com.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.