60 years ago, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association was created by Ron Nelson, John Bogren, Merrill Nystrom, Bernice Florine, Gilbert Swanson, Janet Nystrom, Frieda Boland, Mrs. William Henry, George Swank, S.L. Mendel and R.M. Everett. The BHHA was formed to preserve Bishop Hill Colony buildings and Colony heritage. Over the decades, the Heritage has acquired and then restored the following structures: Steeple Building in 1963, Blacksmith Shop in 1966, Colony Store in 1969, Cobbler Shop in 1971, Colony Hospital in 1976, Poppy Barn in 1976, Dairy Building in 1985, Apartment Building in 1987, and the Albert Krans Livery Stable in 2012. Today, the BHHA currently own nine buildings with the Steeple Building and the Krans Livery Stable serving as museums and the Colony Store operating as our museum gift shop.
Besides historic building preservation and museum exhibitions, the BHHA has organized numerous educational programs over the years. The Heritage has conducted workshops on Dala Horse painting, basketweaving, woodcarving, and other topics. In addition, we have hosted a variety of musical performers such as Dancing Queen, Kolonien, Sofia Talvik, Akervinda, and others. For many years, the BHHA conducted the Pippi Longstocking Festival which educated elementary children about this famous Swedish fictional character. In the past, the Heritage has organized the following specialty festivals: Midwest Folklife, Vintage Baseball Weekend, Folk Music Festival, and Civil War Days.
Today, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association provides guided tours for schools and tour groups. A volunteer acting troupe performs skits about Colony life at local libraries, senior citizen centers, and other locations. The BHHA sponsors/cosponsors the following annual events: Midsommar Music Festival, Chautauqua, Jordbruksdagarna, Julmarknad, and Lucia Nights.
All the activities listed above would not have been possible without the help of so many BHHA members, supporters, and volunteers over the years. On behalf of the Heritage, thank you all for your help! We hope you will continue your support in the future.