212 West Main Street | Barrington, Illinois 60010




Linda Brown is a retired Palatine elementary classroom teacher who lives in Lake Barrington.  She has volunteered at the museum for six years in various roles starting in education and most recently in curating the Wedding Dress exhibit.  She leads the preschool programs and helps out occasionally as a schoolmarm.  This is her second year on the Board of the museum.  She finds devoting time and energy to local history and specifically the Barrington History Museum very rewarding.

Barrington History Museum Intern, Kyle Dockery
Curator of the Carl and Lily Tolpo:
Art Osmosis Exhibit

Carl and Lily Tolpo: Art Osmosis

SATURDAYS 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Weekday tours can be arranged by calling the Museum Office: 847.381.1730

Barrington History Museum Volunteer, Linda Brown
Curator of Wedding Dresses: Retrospective

Wedding Dresses: Retrospective


Volunteer Donation to Blacksmith Exhibit Please
$5 Members & Students  •  $10 Non-Members

•  Wedding Dresses: Retrospective     
•  Carl & Lily Tolpo Art Collection
•   A Retrospective on the Caricatures of Native Son Frank Willmarth
•   Children’s Toys through the Decades of the 20th Century

When asked to develop an exhibit using our collection of wedding dresses, I couldn’t have been more delighted.  In my six years as a volunteer, I had always wanted to get into that ‘sacred’ storage area that preserves our over 200 costumes.  My first work day was like Christmas morning opening up boxes not knowing what gems I would find inside each one.  What I did find became the basis for this exhibit of fifteen vintage dresses, some over 120 years old, donated over the years by Barrington residents.

By visiting the exhibit you will see a dress that broke with tradition – it is the color rust, a dress worn by three generations of brides, a dress with a 12 foot train and a dress with a memento sewn into the bodice.  Each dress is unique and many are handmade.  Most are in unbelieveably excellent condition.

"Vince and Carolyn [Tolpo] have experienced "Art Osmosis" living in their home studio atmosphere where drawing, painting, sculpture, and art philosophy discussion is a daily diet."

March 11, 1965 edition of the Barrington Courier-Review

This quote from an article discussing an art show by the Tolpo teens Vince and Carolyn poetically describes the Tolpo family's busy and productive years in Barrington. Carl Tolpo and his wife Lily were both professionally trained artists who had developed a positive reputation and successful business in the Chicago art community. By 1955 they could afford to buy a niche chunk of land and build their own home and studio complex. The home quickly became a productive center for Carl to work on his commissioned portraits, Lily to paint and sketch, and for both of them to begin exploring sculpture as a serious medium. Their three children, Tina, Carolyn, and Vincent all went to Barrington High School and were quite involved with theater, baseball, and the Broncettes. Carl recieved national acclaim for his giant depictions of Abraham Lincoln, which can be seen on the Barrington High School campus, outside the Lake County Courthouse, and inside the historic Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was assassinated. 

In this exhibit are featured many works that present an intimate look at a family whose creative instinct seems boundless. It includes sculptures, paintings, newspaper articles, and sketches, most of which have never been exhibited outside the family home before, providing an excellent opportunity to understand the exciting lives of a local family. The Barrington Historical Society would like to thank Vincent Tolpo for the donation of almost all of the works on display.

Kyle Dockery is a 6th generation Barrington resident and 5th generation student at Barrington Schools. He graduated from BHS in 2011 and went on to study history and art history at Lawrence University, graduating in 2015. Kyle hopes to find a career in the museum field, ideally working with works of art, so curating the exhibit Carl and Lily Tolpo: Art Osmosis was an excellent opportunity.

The Barrington History Museum Current Exhibits