Visitors can learn more about the important role the region’s rivers and wetlands played in the formation of America’s first city at a new exhibit opening Sunday, Aug. 16 at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
“Wetlands and Waterways: The Key to Cahokia” depicts life in the Mississippi Valley through information panels, a large mural showcasing a typical floodplain and a life-sized diorama of a lakeside village. The exhibit educates visitors about how the environment shaped Native American culture, agricultural techniques and cosmological beliefs.
The exhibit also features a dugout canoe that is between 600 and 700 years old. The canoe, which was made of cypress, was found in Arkansas and purchased by the Illinois State Archaeological Society. Before being displayed, the canoe was submerged in a chemical solution for three years and then dried for two years to help preserve it. Tool marks are visible from the original manufacturing process.
Visitors may preview the new exhibit Saturday, Aug. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is $20 (free for members of the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society), and includes entertainment, refreshments and a book signing with Lori Belknap and Molly Wawrzyniak, authors of a companion book for the new exhibit. Tickets may be purchased at the museum or by calling 618-344-7316.
Cahokia Mounds are the largest Native American earthworks north of Mexico. The site, which is administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, includes an interpretive center, gift shop and snack area. Visitors can also explore trails and the 100-foot Monks Mound, the largest earthwork in North America. Admission is free but a donation of $7 for adults, $5 for seniors, $2 for children and $15 for families is suggested. Learn what it's like to be an archaeologist at Cahokia Mounds.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located at 30 Ramey St., Collinsville, IL, 62234. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The grounds are open every day. For more information call 618-346-5160.