Of This Place Press Release

July 25, 2022 – Burpee Museum Opens Contemporary Native American Cultural Exhibit

*Note: Press Interviews Available Between 3 pm and 4 pm prior to opening on July 29, 2022. **Photos/Press Kit

ROCKFORD – Burpee Museum invites you to experience our newest contemporary exhibition, “Of This Place,” a collaborative effort between the Burpee Museum and Native American people from the Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe Nations, which opens to the general public on Saturday, July 30, 2022. The exhibition is curated by Starla Thompson (Forest Band Potawatomi) and generously brought to the community of Rockford through January 2023 by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and BMO.

Be inspired by contemporary and traditional artworks and learn about the histories of the represented Nations from their own cultural educators and artists. Experience the living cultures, languages, and history of the Native American people who are of this place.

‘A space to tell Native American experiences’

“Natural history museums have a big responsibility to share accurate information with our community through research and collaboration,” said Anne Weerda, Executive Director of the Burpee Museum. “Our exhibits need to be primary sources of information. For cultural exhibitions, we must do better than we have in the past. We are starting by collaborating and providing a space to tell Native American stories through the voices of the people from the Rock River Region.”

“As we collaboratively created ‘Of This Place,’ the stories, art, videos, selected artifacts, and text in this exhibit are through the voices and choices of people of the Sac and Fox, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe Nations,” added Weerda.

‘Discover the resilience of Native culture to continue to thrive.’

“Of This Place” brings Rockford’s Native history forward, providing space and place for the descendants of the Indigenous people of this land. The Burpee Museum invites you to learn about each Nation’s narratives, experiences, and historical understandings through marvelous works of art and dynamic education. As you view the Burpee Museum’s historic collections alongside the modern works of our collaborative artists, you will experience the journey that disconnected these Nations from the Rockford region and discover the resilience of Native culture to continue to thrive.

“Of This Place” proudly brings collaborative members of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, Sac, and Fox home to their ancestral land as they share their history, culture, and life with the greater Rockford community.

“Many of our fans recognize Starla as the talented Jingle Dress dancer who brings our Land Acknowledgement to life each and every game night, helping our community learn more about the Native Nations who were forcibly removed from their homelands in Illinois. We are incredibly proud to support her and the Burpee Museum on this resource for our entire region to continue to learn about and lift Native American voices,” said Sara Guderyahn, Chicago Blackhawks Vice President of Community and Executive Director of the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation.

“BMO is proud to work with the Blackhawks to honor and acknowledge the histories of those Nations represented through this special exhibit at the museum,” said Tina McNeill, BMO North West Market President. “We know the Rockford community will find great value in this experience.”

For more information, please visit:

Media Contact: Mackenzie Seymour


Quick Info:
  • Exhibit Title: “Of This Place”
  • Private Opening July 29, 2022
    • 3:00 pm-5:15 pm Media Interviews Available
    • 5:00 pm Doors Open
    • 5:30 pm Formal Presentation
    • 6:30 pm Invitation-Only Viewing of Exhibition; Media RSVP Required
  • General Public Opening July 30, 2022
  • Exhibition Included in General Admission Prices
  • The exhibition is open through January 2023
  • Curated by Starla Thompson (Forest Band Potawatomi) and generously supported by the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and BMO