GREENVILLE, Ill. – In the small town of Greenville, Illinois, you can find an old church at the corner of South and Prairie. However, it’s not a church but the DeMoulin Museum, serving as a time capsule of marching band history.
“The basis of the museum was through my mother,” John Goldsmith, the founder and curator of the DeMoulin Museum, said. “She was a 50-year employee, and overtime collected the history of the company she works for became her hobby.”
Goldsmith and his mom collected uniforms over the years before opening the museum in 2010. Tourists now come from all over to see the museum and the fun attractions inside.
“Based on the people I talk to, they come through the museum and tell me they were in band – and you can tell that reverence and love they have for this part of the museum that tells the band uniform story,” Goldsmith explained.
The museum is famous for its large and rare collection of DeMoulin lodge initiation devices. Visitors can enjoy a hands-on experience with the Electric Branding Iron, Bucking Goat, and Lifting and Spanking Machine.
The DeMoulin factory sits about five minutes away from the museum, where sewers and seamstresses are creating the very uniforms you see on football fields, including the country’s premiere college marching band, the University of Illinois Marching Illini.
“We’ve been here since the beginning. We are the first manufacturers of marching band uniforms and have made U of I’s uniforms for decades,” DeMoulin CEO Don Adamski shared. “I think DeMoulin and the town of Greenville grew together. For many years, we were the largest employer in the county, so what’s good for the city and what’s good for DeMoulin. It works hand-in-hand.”
Adamski the company makes uniforms for bands around the world as well as many bands in the immediate St. Louis area. Parkway Central High band director, Doug Hoover, said they have bought uniforms from DeMoulin for decades, and adds the uniforms connect his present students to the past.
“I think our kids as they get older in the program make a much greater connection with all those kids who came before them. They will walk the wall of pictures in the hallway and look the eyes of the kids who were here 15, 16, or 25 years ago – and even find their parents in their pictures,” Hoover said.
DeMoulin’s large production requires a lot of love and labor from its employees. Grace Haynes is a seamstress who worked for DeMoulin for more than six decades. The DeMoulin museum even named a room after her – called the “Grace Haynes Embroidery Room.”
“God put you in the place where he needs to be, when he needed to be there – and I think that’s why I was there that long,” Haynes expressed. “I just enjoyed my work, I was close to my family when they needed me.”
FOX 2’s Amelia Mugavero got the chance to visit the museum and speak with visitors about her experience as a former feature twirler of the Illinois Marching Illini.
Goldsmith says whether you’re a high school band alum, or watched from the sidelines, DeMoulin gives everyone an opportunity to appreciate music and the history of marching bands.
“It offers an opportunity for those who have musical ability to do so, and an opportunity to be part of something special.”