Trutter’s legacy honored by museum

Kaitlyn Lange, Lamp staff

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SPRINGFIELD — Students pass by the Trutter Center everyday at Lincoln Land Community College. However many don’t know that inside is a collection of 750 artifacts, gathered from the lifelong travels of the building’s namesakes, Phil and Mary Kathryn Trutter.

Phil Trutter and his wife, Mary Kathryn “Kitty” Trutter, were lifelong explorers.  

For three decades, the Trutters visited 100 countries, where they collected art and other various cultural pieces from their endeavors.  

Kitty Trutter maintained travelogues for all of their adventures and left those, along with brochures, behind for the museum.

The Trutters spanned around the globe about 10 times, said Janet Semanik, development specialist for the LLCC Foundation.

The Trutter Museum’s current exhibit, titled, “Art, Asia, and Antiquities” features just some of that collection. The artwork was created by Lillian Scalzo, Jack Madura and the late LLCC Art Professor Jim Murray, all of whom were Phil Trutter’s teachers. The exhibit also holds the artwork of his mother, Frances Mischler Trutter, who encouraged his passion of art.

Scalzo taught Phil Trutter in his early years at the Springfield Art Association, while Murray and Madura instructed him in art classes at Lincoln Land as he expanded his love of the fine arts well into his 70’s.

Featuring pieces by his early teachers, himself, and the Trutter’s own cultural findings, the main goal of this exhibit is to showcase what shaped and inspired Mr. Trutter throughout his art and cultural journey in life.

The Trutter Museum opened in 2004, after a generous gift from Phil Trutter after his death. Along with the opening of the building and gallery, a portion of the monetary gift went to creating scholarships for LLCC students.  

The Trutters were passionate about exploring and learning which helped inspire the concept of the museum.  

“The whole idea of Mr. Trutter leaving this collection behind was that he was hoping that students and others, and possibly people who didn’t have the means to travel like they did, might be able to experience other cultures. Diversity is, after all, one of the college’s core values,” Semanik said. 

The Trutter Center is located at 5250 Shepherd Rd, Springfield, IL 62703.  The museum is open Monday-Thursday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., or anytime by appointment.  

To schedule an appointment call at 217.786.2217 or e-mail [email protected]  

Kaitlyn Lange can be reached at [email protected]