Québec Government Representative in Chicago Éric Marquis, and Mayor of Kankakee, Illinois, Nina Epstein, inaugurated the Kankakee French Heritage Museum on July 28 before a crowd of some one hundred people, including the Consul-General of France and the official representatives of Belgium and Wallonia.
The event marked the culmination of a project that was made possible by the energy of the French-speaking community of Illinois and the support of former Québec representative Marc T. Boucher. Thanks to the work of historians and numerous donations from the community, the French Heritage Museum explores the marked French presence in this region of southern Illinois, which is the result of waves of migration from Québec and, to a lesser degree, France and Wallonia during the second half of the 19th Century. This influx of immigrants gave this region of Illinois a French-speaking majority at the turn of the last century.
The thematic exhibits and numerous artefacts make the French Heritage Museum both a major repository of memories for the population of central Illinois and a testament to the close ties that bind Québec and the American Midwest.
Québec Government Office in Chicago
French Heritage Museum – Kankakee, Illinois