Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Chicago Athenaeum at Schaumburg is Closed

I picked up A Country of Vast Designs by Robert Merry (2009) at the Schaumburg Township Library today, and it looks promising. The book has the kind of subtitle that's an invitation (for me, anyway) to sit down with it: "James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent." Wish I had time to start it today, but it might have to wait a day or two.

I also noticed a spanking-new Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobile Travel Guide), Southern Great Lakes 2010, on the new releases bookshelf. I've never used that series much, but I like to thumb through travel guides of all sorts. I'm window shopping, if nothing else. I looked at the Southern Great Lakes 2010 index and saw that Schaumburg has an entry, which is fairly unusual for Chicago-area guidebooks, much less a book that covers a larger region -- Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, in this case. I was intrigued enough to read the entry.

The entry has exactly three Schaumburg items and one of them is wrong. The Woodfield Mall is still open for shopping and the Hyatt Regency Woodfield still accepts overnight guests. But the Chicago Athenaeum at Schaumburg, at least the design-oriented museum at 190 S. Roselle Road, is long gone. It was here when we moved into the area six years ago, but closed later. I'm not sure exactly when, but it may have been as long as three or four years ago.

The Trickster Gallery, which specializes in American Indian art, is currently in the building that once housed the Athenaeum. The Athenaeum's Sculpture Park is still in Schaumburg, however, on public land near city hall, but that's not even mentioned in the entry (I've been there numerous times; one of these days, I need to post about it).

I've never been a guidebook editor, but I have been an editor, and I understand how troublesome compiling an accurate list can be. They're a lot of work, and you get zero appreciation when everything is right -- but complaints when something is wrong. Moreover, I'm sure editorial budgets at Forbes have been cut to the marrow lately, like a lot of places.

Still, the museum has been closed for years. It's a telling blunder, especially considering the bragging on the book's back cover: "On the ground correspondents provide up-to-date information on what to see and do in each destination." Do they now?

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