visitors

Where are you located?

We occupy the entire Old Courthouse in the heart of Downtown Bloomington. Our address is 200 N Main St, Bloomington Illinois, 61701. We are surrounded by 4 streets- Washington, Main, Jefferson, and Center.

What are your hours?

Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Tue. 9 a.m. — 9 p.m.
Sun. Closed.

Where do I park?

See the parking section visitors information page for more information. Metered parking around the building is 90 minutes, and strictly enforced. There are parking garages downtown that charge a small fee.

What exhibits do you have?

See the exhibits page for more information. We have 4 permanent galleries that explore People, Farming, Work, and Politics in McLean County. We also have 2 galleries that change every couple years.

How old is the building and how long has the museum occupied it?

The building, opened in 1903, is the fourth courthouse to exist on this square. It was built after the Bloomington fire in 1900 destroyed the third courthouse. It was an operating courthouse until 1976, when the Law and Justice Center was built on Front Street. The museum moved into the building in 1991. Read more about our history.

Can I rent out the museum for events?

Yes. The courtroom, located on the second floor, and the classroom, located on the third floor, can be rented out for events. Please contact Jeff Woodard by email or phone at (309) 827-0428 for more information.

I am a professional photographer. Can I take photos of the museum?

Yes. Please contact Jeff Woodard by email or phone at (309) 827-0428 for more information.

membership

How much do memberships cost?

We have various membership levels for all income types.  See our membership page for more information!

Does a McLean County Historical Society membership get me discounts at other museums?

Yes! As a MCHS member you get free or discounted admission to 200+ historic sites and museums (including the Chicago History Museum, Frank Loyd Wright House, and Peoria Riverfront Museum)

researchers

Is your book collection searchable online?

Yes, via RSA CAT.

Do you have city directories?

Yes, from 1855 to present.

What resources do you have for genealogists?

  • Computer and internet access
  • Access to Ancestry online
  • Death and cemetery records
  • Birth and marriage records
  • Surname files
  • City directories and yearbooks
  • Newspaper index file
  • Plat books
  • Genealogy reference books
  • Searchable archives

See our online resources to see what we have available through our website. See the library page for more on our library holdings.  See the archives page for more on our archival collections.

donations

Can I donate an object to the museum?

Absolutely! Please call the curator at (309) 827-0428 to make an appointment before you bring an object for donation, and be prepared to answer lots of questions about the object’s owner and its history. Our collections are fantastic because of the generous donations people make!

What kinds of objects does the museum collect?

See the objects page for more information.

Do you appraise items?

No, we do not. But we'd be happy to find you an appraiser. Contact the Curator.

educators

What is the cost of a guided educational program?

Free! Donations are gladly accepted.

How far in advance should I schedule a program?

At least two (2) weeks. Contact the Education Department to schedule a program.

volunteers & interns

What kind of volunteer projects are available? 

There's a big variety!  Some people volunteer regularly at reception, the library desk, or the gift shop.  Some volunteers lend their expertise by helping with education outreach, archiving, or another special project.  There are also volunteers with limited time who join us just for Cemetery Walk or Christmas at the Courthouse.  If you're interested, email our Director of Volunteers and Interns.

How many hours are required by an internship? 

The Museum’s internships (whether for credit or not for credit) require 175 hours over the course of a semester.