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calendar of events


“Rock & Mineral Identification”

Geologist Sara Kurth presents an introduction to rocks and minerals. Learn to identify minerals through basic hands-on identification including observation skills and hardness tests. Great for rockhounds, Boy & Girl Scout merit badges and Teachers Professional Development credit. Email: Scout groups require adult supervision.

All Classes 10:30 a.m., April 8, May 13, June 24
75 minutes – Ages 8 yrs. to Adult
Fee: $5.00 per person, Museum Members $3.00
Reservations Required (630) 833-1616

“Rockin’ Jewelry for Kids”

This beginner’s class allows children to make their own gemstone jewelry to keep. Choose two different types of jewelry to make with stones from the Museum Shop and learn how to work with jeweler’s tools. Great for Girl Scout Jewelry Badge, parties of 10 or more are encouraged to schedule a private class. Email:

All Classes 1:30 p.m., April 8, May 13, June 24
Activity - Ages 8 to 16 years
75 minutes
$10.00 per person Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616

April 22
“What’s Up In The Sky”

Meteors, meteorites & the solar eclipse are coming our way this summer. Dr. Paul Sipiera, founder of the Planetary Studies Foundation presents the types of meteorites that fall to earth, where they are found and some of the more recent falls in our region. Learn about meteorites and meteor-wrongs. In addition learn about the solar eclipse coming this August, the dos and don’ts of viewing an eclipse and where it is best visible. If you think you’ve found a meteorite bring it in for identification.

Lecture/Discussion – Youth to Adult
60 minutes – 2:00 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission, Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended

May 6 & 7
“Art in the Park”

A juried show of Fine Art, Craft and Design, over 100 artists from around the Midwest will be showing and selling their creations in Wilder Park. At the Lizzadro Museum, members of the West Suburban Lapidary Club will be demonstrating forms of lapidary art.

Free Admission to the Museum.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

May 21
“Museum Day in Elmhurst”

Ride the trolley as it rolls through Elmhurst to celebrate the 21st Annual Museum Day in Elmhurst. Visit all 4 locations: the Art Museum, Historical Museum, Park District’s Conservatory and Lizzadro Museum. Park at one museum and ride the complimentary trolley to each location. Collect a stamp at all 4 locations for a chance to win a prize. At the Lizzadro Museum, see the fascinating exhibits of stone carvings and gems. Create your own rockin’ picture frame to take home.

Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. All Ages Welcome.
Admission is Free at all 4 locations!

stone hunt

June 3
“Stone Hunt”

This hands-on activity allows children and adults to search for gems and minerals among more common rocks. Learn the difference between rocks and minerals and how to distinguish between them. Each rock or mineral found is identified and can be taken home.

Activity - Ages 5 yrs. to Adult 45 minutes - 2 p.m.
$5.00 per person, Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended


June 17
“Geode Collecting Field Trip”

Collect geodes near the Mississippi River. This private quarry yields abundant and fascinating geodes along with other minerals and fossils. Trip includes tour guides, motor coach, collecting and on-site cracking fees.

Field Trip - 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
$95. per person, Museum Member $90.
Reservation Required (630) 833-1616


Summer is a great time to visit the museums in Kane and DuPage Counties. Designed for ages 4 to 12, each site has an activity for children to complete. The Summer Passport program begins on May 1st and ends on Labor Day.

Interpreting Chinese Jade Pendants
By Ying Zhang

As one of many forms into which raw jade materials are crafted, jade pendants became popular during the Ming and Qing Dynasty (AD 1368-1912), the Late Imperial Period in Chinese history. Jade pendants are often made in square or rectangular shapes, and are relatively small in terms of size, because jade pendants are designed as personal accessories. Ancient Chinese people usually wore jade pendants using a string to hang from the waist.

As the pendants were meant to hang from the waist or the neck, there is a hole at the top of each pendant so the string can be threaded through. There are two sides of the jade pendants that craftsman would carve on: the front side presents scenes, patterns, or objects, while the back side is usually carved with poems or mottos. The contents of the front and back side echo mutually and deliver the same allegorical message. Because of its size and the auspicious meaning it carries, the jade pendant is very convenient to wear and ancient literati or aristocracy were fond of the small but exquisite pieces of jade.

During the Imperial Period the most popular designs involved auspicious symbolism. Thematic patterns on the front side may include a wide range of images: scenes of landscape, stories of historical figures, flowers and plants, rare and valuable animals, and hermits. Moreover, auspicious blessings are conveyed with methods of homophonic analogy, symbolization, or metaphor. For example, the “lock” jade pendant (pictured here) from the Lizzadro Collection exemplifies the metaphorical principle.

The flower on the front side of the piece is called peony, “?? mu dan,” which symbolizes prosperity, wealth, and flourishing. The flower species peony is also the national flower of China; its symbolization of prosperity could anticipate a prosperous and thriving society.

The back side of the “lock” piece is carved with four traditional Chinese characters, reading from left to right: 玉堂富貴 yù tang fù guì, translates “wish the honorable household prosperity and wealth.” Also, flowers like begonia, peony, magnolia, are culturally associated with the meaning of prosperity and luxuriance. In addition, the shape of the lock indicates that the lock stores and locks the prosperity and wealth in it. In this way, the lock shape itself is a metaphor for the action of storing and collecting good fortune.

Another pendant features língzhī (pronounced in English "ling zhur") 靈芝, a fungal species that is venerated as the “Mushroom of Immortality.” Pictured here, the língzhī is bottled in a vase with beautiful ribbons. This special fungal species, or reishi, has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2000 years and culturally refers to longevity and immortality. Double dragons face each other on the top. The back of the pendant depicts several cloud motifs, the square seal writes “諸仙祝壽,” meaning“all the immortal divines congratulate you with the blessings for longevity.”

Nephrite jade “lock” pendant on display at the
Museum shows a peony symbol on one side and
Chinese characters on the other side. The lock shape
indicates the storing and collecting good fortune.

Nephrite jade pendants often show a graphic image on one side and a related calligraphic message on the other.

Fourteen of the Museum’s jade pendants were interpreted to discover their meaning and symbolism. Just one small piece of beautifully carved jade can refer to literature, Chinese calligraphy, auspicious symbols and historical stories. These pendants were welcomed by the Ming and Qing people, but are also relevant to modern people. Jade pendants today are highly collectable and continue to be produced in China. The Lizzadro Collection has a wide range of different kinds of jade pendants, so be sure to take another look at the display.

Special thanks to Ying Zhang for her work in interpreting pendants and carvings in the Lizzadro Collection, we wish her all the best as she goes on to pursue her doctoral studies.


Twenty-one years ago the Smithsonian Institution created a national outreach program that would extend the reach of the Smithsonian collections to communities, museums and research organizations across the nation. To fulfill the Smithsonian’s mission for the “increase and diffusion of knowledge,” Smithsonian Affiliations was created to provide access to Smithsonian collections. The program’s goal was to make sure those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., could experience and enjoy the Smithsonian in their own neighborhoods.

Today, the program has established partnerships with more than 200 organizations in 45 states, Puerto Rico and Panama. The Lizzadro Museum became an Affiliate member in the fall of 2008. We look forward to bringing an exhibit of Smithsonian Gems this summer.


In December 2016, the Lizzadro Museum received $5,000 from the DuPage Foundation to support educational and cultural programs offered by the Museum. The grant funds will be used for in-house and outreach programming, with a focus on the Earth Science education.


All Aboard the Explore Elmhurst Express!
Looking for an adventure this summer? Take a free ride on the Explore Elmhurst Express trolley running weekends from June 2 through September 16! Explore the heart of Elmhurst including Museums, Wilder Park, shops and restaurants. For more information visit

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