Two Capps-Related Events on Nov 16

The Jacksonville Area Museum will host two events related to its J. Capps & Sons exhibit, including a hands-on ornament making activity with a sewing theme, on Wednesday, November 16.

“J. Capps & Sons Indian Trade Blankets, Buffalo Bill Cody and Really Nice Threads” will be presented in the Jacksonville Area Museum’s west gallery at 5 p.m. on November 16 by Donna Cody and Terry Maggart. Cody researched the Capps Indian Trade Blankets and the connection between Buffalo Bill Cody and J. Capps & Sons for a program she presented to the Household Science Club. She will share the information she gleaned and will have examples of the blankets. Maggart, who worked at J. Capps & Sons in the mid-1970s and was there when the company closed after more than 130 years, will talk about the specific techniques of J. Capps & Sons suit construction and the impact the popularization of polyester fabrics had on the company. The presentation will last about 30 minutes.

“Spools of Fun” ornament-making will also be held at the museum on Wednesday, November 16 from 4 to 6 p.m. The museum’s 2022 Christmas Tree will have a sewing theme in honor of the museum’s J. Capps & Sons exhibit that opened earlier this year. Spools of Fun participants will make ornaments for the tree using wood thread spools. The event is designed for people of all ages, adults and children, crafty or not. All supplies will be provided. The only thing participants need to bring is creativity, and they may stay for a few minutes or the entire two hours.

“My sisters and I made a couple dozen ornaments as examples and had a blast doing it,” said event organizer Laura Marks. “What’s great about it is the possible designs are endless and there’s no right or wrong way to create an ornament.”

Both events are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made by calling (217) 408-1197 or emailing

The November 16 events supplement “J. Capps & Sons, Ltd. A History of NICE THREADS!,” a new major exhibit featuring the history of Jacksonville’s first manufacturer that opened in July. “NICE THREADS!” traces the history of the company from 1839, when Joseph Capps started his wool carding business in Jacksonville, through the company’s closing in 1975. Many original artifacts are included in the exhibit, including men’s suits, topcoats, military uniforms, and the company’s famous Indian trade blankets that Buffalo Bill endorsed. Also featured are original fabrics, tools, company records, photographs, and Capps employee reminiscences through the years..

The Jacksonville Area Museum is located in the old Post Office building at 301 E. State Street, and its regular schedule is Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. There is no admission fee but a donation of $5 is suggested to keep the museum operating.