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History

The McLean County Museum of History traces its roots back to 1892, the year the McLean County Historical Society was founded. It is a nationally accredited award winning museum with five permanent exhibit galleries and two rotating galleries.

This educational institution is dedicated to telling the rich story of McLean County through programs which serve people of all ages.

The museum features seven exhibit galleries, preserves more than 20,000 objects, makes available more than 15,000 rare and hard-to-find books on local history and genealogy, and manages 2,000 feet of historical papers and images in its archives. 

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Land Acknowledgement Statement

We would like to acknowledge that the land we call McLean County is the ancestral land of many Native groups, beginning with the Paleoindians 12,000 years ago, and most recently Algonquin-speaking groups, including the Kickapoo, who were forced west from this area in the 1830s. Other groups in this area include (but are not limited to) the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Piankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascouten, Odawa, Sauk, Kickapoo, Mesquaki, Lenape, Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Chickasaw Nations. These lands were and are the traditional territory of these Native Nations prior to their forced removal; and these lands continue to carry the stories of these Nations and their struggles for survival and identity.  

This statement was drafted in collaboration with Lester Randall, Tribal Chairman of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, and Nichole Boyd, Director of the Native American House at UIUC.

Timeline

Scroll through this timeline to learn more about our institutional history. Further down the page, read a message from our director, and view our mission and vision.

Vision Statement

We endeavor to drive new conversations and engage more people to understand and be inspired by the rich history of McLean County.

Mission

Our mission is to preserve, educate, and collaborate in sharing the diverse stories of the people of McLean County. This mission is achieved by:

  • Preservation: We are a steward of McLean County history—discovering, researching, and sharing the tangible evidence of the past
  • Education: We are a cornerstone for learning and civic engagement through programs, exhibitions, and outreach
  • Collaboration: We are inclusive, seeking ideas and valuing multiple perspectives

Adopted by the Board of Directors January 19, 2022