Museum’s Mystery: Who is Minnie Owen? Illinois Museum Searches for Artist of Century-Old Newspaper Painting


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Watseka, IL – A century-old painting titled “Man reading newspaper” is at the heart of a historical whodunit at the Iroquois County Museum. 

The artwork, depicting a reader engrossed in the Times-Democrat—a local newspaper long associated with Watseka—has prompted the museum to enlist the public’s help in uncovering the identity and story behind the artist, Minnie Owen. With no known donor and scant information about Owen, this quest not only seeks to attribute the painting to its creator but also to potentially unearth a piece of local history. 

Those with any information are urged to contact the Old Courthouse Museum at (815) 432-2215 or via email at The search for Minnie Owen is more than a call for artist identification—it’s a community’s journey to reclaim a part of its artistic heritage.

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


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