About MHA

Our Purpose

The Midewin Heritage Association (MHA) assists the U.S. Forest Service in researching, documenting, recording and preserving the various aspects of Midewin’s past. We assist in the presentation and interpretation of those historical and cultural records, increasing the public’s awareness of Midewin’s history and its significance. We promote the preservation of Midewin’s historically significant sites, structures, and artifacts, which can help in telling Midewin’s story to future generations. The MHA encourages support and development of governmental and organizational programs which recognize the importance of preserving our local history, and partners with such entities for our mutual benefit.

Our History

The Midewin Heritage Association began as an outgrowth of a US Forest Service Oral History Project. In 1998, Midewin staff had conducted a number of Oral History interviews with local residents and former arsenal workers. In early 2002, Midewin’s archeologist Mike Rizo looked to revitalize the program and sought individuals who would like to share their stories, as well as volunteers to record them.

The initial meeting was held on March 13, 2002 with but 5 individuals attending. In July of that year, current MHA Vice President Pam Hunte gave a lecture on “Conducting Oral Histories”. In 2003, those working on the project were self-titled “The History Group”. By the end of 2003 we started to look at other areas in which we could become involved such as helping with cemetery maintenance and historical interpretation of old farms and the remains of the arsenal on tours.

By the end of 2003 the “Group” was considering incorporation. In March of 2004 they adopted the name Midewin Heritage Association, developed bylaws and subsequently filed paperwork with the State, resulting in an incorporation date of November 9, 2004.

Lorin Schab, 1944-2018

Picture of Lorin Schab

Lorin Schab was the first president of, and driving force behind, the Midewin Heritage Association. He was a tireless Midewin volunteer and a passionate advocate for Midewin's historical and cultural assets. He left a big hole for us to fill. Photo: Penny Vanderhyden

Our Logo

So what are those circles in the MHA logo all about, you may ask. Our logo was introduced in 2010 and is comprised of four circles. Within each a stylized symbol represents a period of human presence at Midewin. A medicine wheel for the period of Native American habitation, blades of a windmill for the pioneer and farming days, a representation of the bottom of an artillery shell for the arsenal period, and a flower head denoting the current Tallgrass Prairie restoration. Now you know.