For 20 years (1819-1839) Vandalia was the capital of Illinois. Abraham Lincoln held his first political office 1834 through 1839 so Vandalia has a lot of history.
The first Illinois State Capitol frame building was on the northwest corner of Fifth and Johnson, the Second Statehouse was built on Fourth Street and the Third Statehouse was built in 1836 east of the second one.
Fayette County needed a museum so in 1972 the 1867 Presbyterian Church building located on Main Street behind the Old State Capitol on Gallatin Street was purchased by Historical Vandalia, Inc, for the Fayette County Museum. It opened in 1979.
The lower level has been developed with much Lincoln history on the years he was in Vandalia. It has the Lincoln froe he used to make shingles for houses and barns.
A mural on the north wall is a reproduction of Vandalia during Lincoln’s lawmaking period.
History also is in the telephone and switchboard, elegant accessories, spinning wheel, flax wheel, slave collars and leg irons, taxidermy, many kinds of farm tools, carpenter tools, items from rural homes, business equipment, medical office, military uniforms and items, Civil War books, flags, guns, school area, displays of period clothing, glassware and china and numerous other displays.
The church sanctuary, upstairs, has several art shows each year. Upstairs also has displays.
Visitors to the Museum comment on how they appreciate how everything is kept clean—no dust or cobwebs.