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The Regional History Center is a unique component of NIU’s commitment to education, research, and public service. The Center’s mission is to acquire, preserve, and make available to the public the most significant historical records of the northern Illinois region. They actively collect from the eighteen northern counties of Illinois excluding Cook County. Since 1977 the Center has grown into a multifaceted research center which houses three related sets of historical records: University Archives, Regional Collections, and Local Government Records (Illinois Regional Archives Depository). The Regional History Center is always adding manuscripts to the collections. Please feel free to contact the center if you believe you have documents that should be preserved for future generations.
The Anthropology Museum at Northern Illinois University was founded in 1964 and is operated as part of the Department of Anthropology. The museum houses over 20,000 objects comprised mostly of ethnographic material with some archaeological material. The museum specializes in cultures of Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and the Southwest and Plains Native Americans. In addition, the museum holds smaller collections from Africa, modern Greece, Mesoamerica, and South America. The museum is particularly proud of the Native American basket collection, featuring over 200 specimens, as well as the Indonesian textile collection, which contains over 600 pieces. In addition, the museum also houses about 100 different Indonesian shadow puppets, a fine collection of Thai khon masks, and important collections of Hmong and Karen artifacts. The museum has a growing collection of modern Mesoamerican artifacts reflecting the cultural and artistic changes taking place in modern Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. The Museum is open during the NIU Academic Year.
NIU Art Museum’s mission is to service the arts curriculum at NIU and to extend arts education and cultural enrichment to the community. The Museum has a permanent collection of 1,000 art pieces and also hosts visiting exhibitions. The Jack Olson Gallery is “the cornerstone of exhibition programming” that is promoted by NIU School of Art. This exhibit space brings thought provoking exhibitions to the northern Illinois community while also offering faculty and students a space to showcase their latest creative endeavors.
This museum is a replica of the first McDonald's restaurant opened by Ray Kroc on April 15, 1955. View an array of memorabilia, from the original kitchen equipment to the 1950s classic cars parked on site.
Sports memorablia; interactive video; photos of all inductees.
Step back in time in the Loveland Museum and get a glimpse of Dixon and Lee County history. See exhibits from the life of "Father" John Dixon, the Blackhawk War, Civil War and other conflicts, local industry and attractions, the Truesdell Bridge disaster and President Ronald Reagan.
First Christian Church served as the Reagan family church while they lived in Dixon and helped form Ronald Reagan's Christian-based work ethic, which included a short term as a Sunday School teacher.
Tour the restored home that the Reagan family resided in from 1920-1923, and meander through the Visitor Center and Gift Shop which features books and gifts highlighting the Reagan legacy. The tour includes the four-room Presidential Timeline exhibit and the viewing of a Reagan biographical video.
A bronze statue of Ronald Reagan, astride the likeness of a palomino horse he rode nearly 60 years ago, sits at the head of the Heritage Crossing Riverfront Plaza located on River Street in downtown Dixon. The statue, created by local artist Don Reed, serves as the centerpiece of Heritage Crossing, an open-air plaza that looks out onto the Rock River.
The Northwest Territory Historic Center is a History Research and Learning Center housed in President Ronald Reagan's boyhood South Central School; located in his hometown of Dixon, Illinois. Beautifully restored with the dedicated support of the townspeople and Reagan colleagues, the Center is proudly affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution and houses the Veterans History Project Regional Center, auditorium, research library, historical exhibits, art gallery, surround-sound theater and museum store. A visit to the Northwest Territory Historic Center includes: The Unchanged Land-an interactive exhibit on Native American & Black Hawk War; The Changing Land-an interactive exhibit on early American Farming; Ronald Reagan's Restored Classroom; Rock River Assembly Diorama; Chautauqua Assembly Building Model; Earth from Space Poster Exhibit; President Reagan History Room, changing historical exhibits, a museum store and much more.
Located 8 miles north of downtown Peoria on Route 40. Wheels O'Time features vintage and classic autos, Early Ford V8 Club rotating monthly, gas engines, fire engines, airplanes, tractors, musical instruments, juke boxes, toys, dolls, animated miniature circus, and many “hands-on” displays. Open May-October, Wednesday-Sunday, Noon-5 p.m. with a new Ford exhibit on display every month.
The restored railroad depot, designed by Henry Ives Cobb, is now the home of the Dwight Historical Society and is still an operating Amtrak train station.
Built in the 1790s, the house is designed in the French vertical-log style rather than the more familiar horizontal-log style. This is the oldest known residence in Illinois.
Katherine Dunham is probably best known as a legendary dancer who propelled the awareness of the cultures of the African Diaspora via her choreography. Her famous dance technique reflects a fusion of many cultures. Miss Dunham was a true renaissance woman. She was an artist, anthropologist, author, activist, manager, movie star, producer, educator, wife, mother, and so much more. The world needs to know about her wonderful life story and there's no better learning environment than the Museum and Centers for Arts and Humanities she created. The museum houses Miss Dunham's outstanding collection of symbolic and functional art, including more than 250 African and Caribbean art objects from more than 50 countries.
CITY:East St. Louis
This memorial in Valley View Cemetery honors Edward Coles, the second governor of Illinois (1822-1826). A former slaveowner from Virginia, Coles became an abolitionist and won the 1822 gubernatorial election as the candidate of anti-slavery forces.
The 1836 Weir House is filled with an amazing display of artifacts representing local and county history, in addition to a historic research library.
This two-story brick home is a wonderful example of Federal-style architecture from 1820. Col. Stephenson, who was a contemporary of Lewis & Clark, moved there in 1809.
The museum focuses on expanding young minds through a variety of educational programs. It is available for birthday parties and field trips.
Toddlers to 12-year-olds can enjoy the unique interactive exhibits and seasonal events at this fun children's museum.
Showcasing classic and one-of-a-kind Corvettes and memorabilia, My Garage Museum is a must-see attraction for any car enthusiast. Corvettes on display include Indy pace cars, racing machines, the last C-4 and the first 21st century model.
The courthouse was built in 1871 after Effingham was named the county seat. The courhouse retains a pristine exterior and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also features a museum inside. The museum displays two rooms devoted to the military, which gets changed throughout the year. It also has a room dedicated to the railroads in Effingham County. The Effingham County Courthouse is open Tuesday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visit the James J. Eldred House, completed in 1861, and step back in time to view one of the most elegant residential structures in the region and an important surviving example of Greek Revival architecture. The home had fallen into disrepair over the years, but with the creation of The Illinois Valley Cultural Heritage Association, the Eldred House has come back to life and is being painstakingly restored. The home is open for tours during the annual Greene County Days celebration.
Housed in an 1856 landmark building, permanent exhibits include artifacts from the Elgin National Watch Co. and Elgin Road Race memorabilia.
In beautiful Lord's Park, this museum features over 15,000 specimens of natural history with newly expanded family focused hands-on exhibits.
Get caught up in the history and spirit of firefighting. View the 1929 American Lafrance Fire Engine and 1869 Horse Drawn Silsby Steamer.
Experience railroading during its glory days at a former link for the Chicago Great Western Railway from Chicago, Illinois to Oelwein, Iowa by taking a tour through our extensive collection of railway memorabilia. See a full-size caboose, both G-scale and HO-scale operating model railroads and artifacts of northwestern Illinois railroads.
Tour the Elizabeth History Museum and view more than four thousand local history artifacts on lead mining; the Apple River Fort; Elizabeth businesses, schools and veterans.
Apple River Fort State Historic Site, located in Elizabeth, Illinois, is the site of one of the battles fought during the Black Hawk War. Black Hawk and his 200 warriors attacked the hastily erected fort on June 24, 1832. His story and that of the early settlers are told.
A fascinating, hands-on experience awaits! Join period interpreters on a journey through the fine Victorian home of Charles Banwarth.
The oldest farmhouse in Elk Grove Village. Restored to reflect life during the civil war. The home of Heinrich and Maria Schuette. School and scout programs available. Open year-round.
CITY:Elk Grove Village
The Elk Grove Historical Museum provides a look at pioneer living from the mid 19th to early 20th century. The Museum specializes in the history of the Elk Grove and its development over time. Open year round, the Museum offers tours, educational programs, exhibits, and assistance with research on Elk Grove Village and the surrounding area.
CITY:Elk Grove Village
The cemetery is the final resting place of several notable figures, including Illinois Governor Richard Oglesby and John D. Gillette (Cattle King of the World). The Memorial Arch replaced the wooden bridge over which Robert Todd Lincoln walked during the Oglesby funeral procession in 1915.
(TEMPORARILY CLOSED beginning 10/08 except for special events.) Pierre Menard, an important political figure in 1818, built this home. It is furnished with many of the Menard family's personal possessions and other period pieces. The surrounding grounds and outbuildings include an herb garden, smokehouse, springhouse, and adjoining kitchen.
Exhibiting late 20th Century American Art, Elmhurst Art Museum offers exhibitions ranging from national touring works to local emerging and mid-career Chicago and Illinois artists. The Museum offers public tours, programs, guest lectures and art classes. It's award-winning structure contains a dramatic glass entrance gallery, three museum galleries, an educational pavilion, and the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick house.
Theatre Historical Society of America features archives and gallery space showcasing the history of America's theatres in photos, blueprints and artifacts.Rotating exhibits highlight the history of different theatres.
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - This one-of-a-kind museum features displays of Chinese jade and other hard stone carvings, dioramas, minerals, gemstones, earth science, hands-on exhibits, and a unique gift shop. Group tours are available with reservations, and educational programs are offered.
DuPage County, Chicago’s Western Suburbs - This prize-winning museum features changing interpretive exhibits on Elmhurst history as well as national touring exhibits. Programs for children, families and adults throughout the year. The Elmhurst Historical Museum is located in a historically significant structure known as the Glos Mansion, which is the former home of Elmhurst's first village president, Henry L. Glos, and his wife, Lucy.
Discover what life was like in historic Elsah when it was founded in 1853 by James Semple. The museum, housed in the Elsah Village Hall built in 1887, showcases former residents, architectural styles used in constructing buildings, and implements used by residents in the mid-1800s. The museum is open Saturday and Sundays only from 1 - 4 p.m.
This cemetery was named after the 16th president of the United States, and was designed to serve approximately one million Chicago metropolitan area veterans.
Housed in the Donald B. Cerf Center at Eureka College, the museum collection numbers over 10,000 items from President Reagan's Eureka College student days, his movie and TV career, his governorship of California and two terms as president of the United States. The Reagan Peace Garden located on the historic campus includes a bust of the 40th president and a section of the Berlin Wall.
Focusing on the art, history and culture of the American Indian. Permanent exhibits are dedicated to the Native cultures of the Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Northwest Coast and Arctic regions of North America. Each gallery contains a “touching table” where visitors can handle real examples of Indian artifacts, as well as feel the raw materials—including snakeskin, caribou fur, birch bark, turquoise and buffalo skin—that were used by native Americans. Temporary exhibits showcase emerging and established contemporary Native artists. Lectures and performances throughout the year provide a venue for multicultural education.
Located on the Campus of Northwestern University, the Block Museum is dedicated to the study and exhibition of reproducible art forms, including prints, photographs, film, video, and computer-mediated art. It is also noted in metropolitan Chicago for its outdoors Sculpture Garden. The museum also hosts an acclaimed film series which moves outdoors in the summer. Admission to the museum is free.
This cultural center is a restored train station in the heart of Evanston. Home of the Piccolo Theatre and Custer’s Last Stand Festival which takes place each June.
Housed in the gracious historic mansion of former U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes, this stunning chateau overlooks Lake Michigan. Visitors and history buffs explore this National Historic Landmark appreciating its original furnishings and artwork. The home features exhibits focusing on the history of Evanston.
The Dawes House, a magnificent Chateauesque Mansion overlooking Lake Michigan, was the home of the former United States vice president under Calvin Coolidge and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Charles Gates Dawes.
Frances Willard was one of the most prominent social reformers in the 19th century America. Willard rallied support for temperance as well as many important reform movements including woman’s suffrage, women’s economic and religious rights, prison reforms, education reforms and labor reforms. The Frances Willard Historical Association operates the Frances Willard House, Willard’s home from its construction in 1865 until her death in 1898.
Northwestern University's Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art is one of the largest fine art museums in the Chicagoland area.
Showcasing the largest collection of Toby and Character Jugs in the world including many rare and unique jugs within the complete Royal Doulton collection. On display are over 6,000 pieces illustrating their evolution from inception circa 1765 to the present day. Admission is free.
The American Toby Jug Museum is home to more than 8,000 Toby and Character jugs, and related derivatives from around the globe. The collection spans the Centuries and features characters representing the times in which they were made, from the oldest dating back to the 1760’s to the most recent ones still in production. It is the largest collection in the world, and is on display and open to the public
A resource to encourage education and to promote research, the library acts as a cultural center, housing 18,709 books. It is also home to large print books, audio books, newspapers, magazines, music cassettes, videos, bifocal kits, and art prints. Patrons have access to a fax machine, copy machine, microfilm printer-reader, genealogy materials, and the internet through two computers. The library offers a meeting room, outreach programs, children's programs, and a children's library.
This local museum features a Fairbury Room and exhibits that change periodically. Open Wednesday and Fridays, or by appointment.
Car enthusiasts are tempted by every make from Model T's to muscle cars. Shop the Antique Mall for Collectibles or attend their monthly sales and auctions.
Blacksmithing, as well as artistic and functional iron work, is performed in this smithy that was erected in 1928.
KidsWork Children's Museum is a cultural institution that brings children, families and the community together to engage in fun, hands-on interactive play.
Franklin Creek Grist Mill, 1893 Twist Road off Old Mill Road, Franklin Grove. Covered wagon tours. Interpretive Center.
Jane Addams, born and raised in Cedarville, was an internationally famous humanitarian and social work pioneer who founded Chicago's Hull House and won the Nobel Peace Prize. She is buried in this lovely old hillside cemetery.
Explore five permanent galleries: European (19th century paintings, sculpture), Art of the Near and Far East (Egyptian, Chinese, and Southeast Asia), Native American (pots, baskets and Kachina dolls), African and Oceanic Art (masks, ceremonial pieces and textiles), and Contemporary (prints and paintings). Two galleries feature new exhibitions every 8-12 weeks and are devoted to regional art or national exhibitions. A student gallery features aspiring young artists from local schools. The museum also offers educational programs, performances, and special events. Open: Tuesday thru Friday: 10 am - 5 pm; Saturday: Noon - 5 pm. Free admission, but donations are appreciated.
This museum, operated by the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club, which also operates the Silver Creek and Stephenson Railroad, offers 20 rooms of early Americana. Exhibts include 500 pieces of crockery, dolls, a recreated schoolroom and kitchen, art exhibits, quilts, tools and agricultural equipment, and many other historical exhibits. Also on the grounds is a display of antique machinery and an exhibit of Henny Motor Company vehicles which were manufactured in Freeport. Plus visitors can view the operating Cooper-Corliss engine, a giant 130-ton steam engine with a 25 foot flywheel which originally operated a rolling mill in a zinc plant. Special exhibits and events are featured throughout the year. Open: May thru October on selected holidays and weekends: 11 am - 4 pm.
For model railroad aficionados -- and everyone else who ever enjoyed model trains -- this model railroad is something to see. The Fever River Railroad is a 120X24-foot HO scale model with detailed scenery, rail yards, factories, and interchanges with many other railroads. The Fever River Railroad is an ongoing project with upgrades to the layout and scenery that provides an exciting model railroad experience. A collection of railroad memorabilia and pictures, many from the surrounding area, are on display throughout the facility. The Stephenson Society of Model Trainmen, who operate the railroad, host an open house twice a year.
The museum gift shop is located at the rear entrance of the Taylor Mansion. It offers unique gifts including reproduction toys and games, pretzel-themed gift items, Rawleigh products, books of historical and local interest and more
All aboard, as a 36-ton, 1912 Heisler steam locomotive pulls three cabooses, including an antique red caboose reported to be the oldest in the state, for a four-mile ride through farmlands. Purchase your ticket at the Silver Creek Depot, a turn-of-the-century replica filled with railroad artifacts, and browse the Freight House Gift Shop and visit the Silvercreek Museum across the street. Open: May thru October on selected holiday and weekends; 1 am - 4 pm. Train departs on the hour.
The Fulton Historical Society is located in this Civil War-era home donated to the city by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Martin.
The Windmill Cultural Center houses an extensive collection of 21 European windmills representing ten European countries. Interpretive exhibits provide unique information on the products produced by windmills, country of origin, windmill specifications, and the cultural impact of windmills. The Education Area features video presentations of the windmill countries and an education area contains children's activities including coloring, puzzles, and toys promoting scientific concepts. The gift shop sells fresh stone-ground flour, Delft pottery, and souvenirs of Fulton, the Windmill Cultural Center and the windmill.
On the Mississippi River in an old 12-acre quarry is where you will find a restored and furnished mid-1800s settlement. Paths through the wooded hillsides lead from one home site to another.
Galena's oldest house, Dowling House, was built in 1826 by John Dowling. Built of limestone, it was once the only trading post in the city. The Dowling House was equipped with primitive living quarters and hosted many fur traders in years past. Tour guides provide a complete history of the development of the City of Galena and Dowling House while you browse through quaint artifacts from the early nineteenth century. Thirty-minute tours. Noreen's Old Tyme Photo & gift shop on site.
Used as a refuge for women and children of the Galena area during the Blackhawk War of 1832, the Old Stockade brings Galena's earliest history to life in this 1820's log building. Come, share!
This satellite facility of the international museum features contemporary art, architecture and photography from around the world.
Authentic 1897 blacksmith shop with working forges. Original tools/equipment and an on-site historian. Gift shop: Galena-forged items.
Discover Ulysses S. Grant, one of the most celebrated Generals of the Civil War and United States President, in this museum bearing his name. Featuring ‘Ghosts of the Grants’ hologram, Civil War exhibits, 1830s lead mine shaft. Book/gift shop. Galena merchandise.
Celebrating regional art in its many forms: special exhibits, performances, regional artwork gallery, photography from the historic Alfie Mueller collection.
See military memorabilia from the War of 1812 through Desert Storm.
Discovery Depot Children's Museum is a non-profit institution providing fun and educational programs for children and families. Interactive exhibits, programs, and collections will stimulate curiosity, promote discovery and encourage learning. Creative playground facilities outside for children too. Through these resources, visitors will gain a better understanding of our world.
The Discovery Depot museum provides an engaging atmosphere in which children and families explore, learn, and have fun together. Since 1999, we have sought to fulfill our mission, "Inspiring Wonder and Excitement for Learning" through diverse programs, exhibits, and community partnerships. We promote literacy, science, engineering, technology, mathematics, fine arts, and cultural education by engaging families through hands-on learning! In addition to providing exhibits and programs, we lease classroom space for private events, including children’s parties, business meetings, and other special events. The museum is located across the street from the Galesburg Amtrak Station and the Galesburg Railroad Museum.
The Geneseo Historical Museum features displays of local people and places in an Italianate-style home built in the mid-1800. Walk through the 27-rooms which tell the story of how people lived in the past and Geneseo’s history. See the Underground Railroad space used to hide runaway slaves. A wide variety of President Abraham Lincoln artifacts are the centerpiece of the museum. Visit the newly built carriage house home to Geneseo’s agricultural history. Explore and be delighted while learning about Geneseo’s heritage
Created by Colonel and Mrs. George Fabyan, who lived on the 600-acre estate from 1905 to the 1930s, the estate includes a restored villa with diverse collections, a Japanese garden and a Dutch windmill.
This 50-acre forest preserve houses the Philip B. Elfstrom Stadium (home of the Kane County Cougars minor league baseball team), the Roberta Campbell Cultural & Conference Center (used for art exhibits and community activities) and a picnic/park area.
They offer award winning educational programs and professional exhibits that make the Geneva History Center a source of great community pride.
In 1977, the Kishwaukee Valley Heritage Society was formed to bring together area people who had an interest in local and regional history and its preservation.
This newly refurbished museum features displays of memorabilia relating to the history of German Valley and the surrounding area, including items from the Ostfriesian area of Germany. A kitchen area, bedroom, dining room, parlor, military room, and children's playroom are furnished with items from the past, and a display room offers a variety of exhibits. A schoolroom contains items of interest from German Valley's Pleasant Prairie Academy and other area schools. Farm and other outdoor exhibits are featured in an outdoor facility. Special events and displays are featured throughout the year. Open May through October, last Sunday of the month, 1 to 4pm or by appointment (815-362-3671).
Explore the largest Oliver Hart-Parr collection in the Midwest, including farm toys, advertising, and collectibles dating back to 1860, and real antique tractors and machinery. Bus and group tours are available, but should be scheduled in advance.
An authentic log cabin located in the heart of Glen Carbon, it has the original ceiling rafters and attic floor. The sidewalks are made from a 1912 school building. The Cabin is used for group activities and community events. Tours by appointment.
Kohl Children’s Museum offers hands-on, interactive exhibits designed exclusively for children ages birth to 8. All of the exhibits and programs are designed to make learning fun and interesting for young children. A visit to a grocery store, a veterinarian’s office as well as a day care inhabited by dolls allow children to participate in adult activities on their own scale. Children can build a house, make music, take care of cars, explore the properties of water and much more in the many engaging exhibits featured.
This historic non-denominational chapel served as a house of worship for thousands of servicemen and women passing through this military base. After the Glenview Naval Air Station closed, the building was moved from its original location and painstakingly restored by the Village of Glenview and Kimball Hill Builders. Now owned by the Park District, it is available for rental by groups, individuals and organizations.
Originally called Monticello, the village of Godfrey was named for a Massachusetts sea captain, Benjamin Godfrey who founded the Monticello Seminary in 1838. One of the more rapidly growing Illinois community colleges, Lewis & Clark Community College, now calls the Monticello campus home. Located on the campus, the Benjamin Godfrey Chapel, built in 1854, has become a landmark in the community. This church has been designated as one of only six churches outside of the northeastern United States that are authentic copies of New England church architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Situated at the base of the Ohio River bluffs, this two-story log structure, built in 1840, has been continuously occupied by generations of one family for 146 years. It was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1976.
Grand Tower is a city rich in history that is inseparable from the history of the Mighty Mississippi River itself. To preserve the history and culture of life on the water dating back to the heyday of steamboats, the museum houses artifacts from this bygone era. For a step back in time and a glimpse of the life experiences along the Mighty Mississippi River, stop by this newly opened museum and explore.
This 158-year-old home has displays of historic items including Civil War artifacts, a Native American collection, and 1830s furnishings.
Learn how firemen fought fires throughout history. See all of the antique firefighting memorabilia.
A state of the art history museum dedicated to collecting and sharing the history of the greater Grayslake area. The Grayslake Heritage Center offers programs, exhibitions and special events all year round and includes two galleries, a community room and classroom.
As an official Navy Museum, the Great Lakes Naval Museum's mission is to tell the story of the United States Navy, with particular emphasis on the Navy's only "boot camp" at the Naval Station Great Lakes.
As an official Department of the Navy Museum, the Great Lakes Naval Museum's mission is to select, collect, preserve, and interpret the history of the United States Navy with particular emphasis on the Navy's only "boot camp" at the Naval Training Station/Center at Great Lakes, Illinois. Exhibits feature an overview of the boot camp experience and the history of Naval Station Great Lakes. The museum is located at the Great Lakes Naval Station by the Main Gates. Admission and parking are free. Public transportation to the Great Lakes Naval Museum is available via Metra's Union Pacific North Line.
This monument honors generations of soliders who sacrificed their lives for their country.
This museum is a living monument to the more than 72 one-story schools throughout the nation that served to educate children and host community gatherings.
Farm implements, tools, tractors, and other equipment are featured that date back 100 years. The museum is open for special events including the Outhouse Festival in the fall.
The museum, located in the original college building on the campus of historic Greenville College, features hundreds of sculptural pieces by Richard Bock, best known for his work with famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.