The achievements of Peoria native Curley Boo Johnson will be celebrated with a new exhibit now on display at Peoria Riverfront Museum. The “Curley Boo Johnson: Celebrating Achievement” exhibit features four cases of Johnson’s sports memorabilia, including Harlem Globetrotters uniforms, a basketball, his Peoria High School letter and other sports souvenirs related to his education and career.
Johnson, who was known as “The World’s Greatest Dribbler" while playing with the Globetrotters from 1988 to 2007, will be on-hand to officially “unveil” the exhibit Feb. 21 at 4 p.m., along with students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria for which Johnson has been a longtime volunteer and benefactor.
Members of the Illinois High School Association, Peoria High School Alumni Association and the African American Hall of Fame Museum will also be in attendance.
Johnson has been inducted into the Peoria Sports Hall of Fame (2007), Peoria High Hall of Fame (2004), African American Hall of Fame (2007) and Spoon River College Hall of Fame (2010), and had a Peoria street (corner of Sterling & Nebraska) named after him in 2007.
The exhibit opening coincides with the start of the Illinois High School Association Boys Basketball State Finals at Peoria Civic Center, March 9-18.
Johnson’s memorabilia will be on display in the museum’s lobby through March 31 and in the IHSA Peak Performance Gallery until June. All items are on loan from Johnson.
There is no charge to see the lobby exhibit. Those entering the IHSA gallery must pay the standard museum entry fee of $11 for adults, $10 seniors (60+) and $9 youth (3-17). The Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, through March 12, is extra.
Two additional new displays are being installed this week at the museum.
The first features a rare treasure related to the RMS Titanic which has not been seen in public for more than 50 years – an untitled, unframed painting by Francis Davis Millet, a prominent American artist who perished in the sinking of the Titanic. The painting is on loan to the museum from a Peoria resident and is on display in an exhibit case just outside of “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition.”
The second new display features two items donated to the museum by Pekin native and NASA astronaut Capt. Scott Altman - a flight suit and a model of the Hubble Space Telescope. The crew of STS-125, the last Space Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope, used the model while training for their mission. The items are on display in the Dome Planetarium lobby.
For more information on the “Curley Boo Johnson: Celebrating Achievement” exhibit or the new Titanic or Altman displays, call the museum at 309-686-7000 or visit RiverfrontMuseum.org.
More on Curley “Boo” Johnson...
Curley "Boo" Johnson was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters from 1988-2007 who performed on six continents and in 94 countries. Johnson inherited the role of dribbling wizard made famous by Marques Haynes and "Curly" Neal and became known as "The World's Greatest Dribbler."
A native of Peoria, Illinois, Johnson attended Peoria High School and Richwoods High School and gained all-American honors at Spoon River College, where he was 7th in the nation in shooting. Johnson was also on the college's student senate and was the student representative to the college board of trustees. Johnson studied marketing while playing at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and became the first athlete there to have his jersey retired.
Johnson is focused on helping children succeed and has been involved with children's causes, including Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Family Rescue, Big Brothers Big Sisters, The United Way, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation and many more.
More on the Peoria Riverfront Museum...
Peoria Riverfront Museum is a privately funded, AAM accredited nonprofit museum fostering an interest in art, science and history. The Museum features traveling exhibits, the Dome Planetarium, Giant Screen Theater, interactive galleries and unique programs and community outreach efforts that offer hands-on educational experiences for Central Illinoisans of all ages. Our mission is to inspire lifelong learning for all - connecting art, history, science and achievement through collections, exhibitions and programs. For more information visit RiverfrontMuseum.org