The Museum is open, please check "Plan Your Visit" page for latest covid info and latest hours
This late May 1936 scene shows James Moberly (though which individual is James is unknown) of Funks Grove Township grinding valves and fitting new rings on his McCormick-Deering Farmall F-30 tractor. Moberly was preparing the tractor before his corn was ready for cultivation.
Seen here are four members of the Bloomington Police Department taking target practice with their Smith & Wesson .38 service revolvers. The more industrious members of the BPD had earlier converted a hayloft in the garage wing of old City Hall into a combination clubroom and firing range!
Brokaw Hospital maternity nurses are seen here keeping the Wheeler triplets on their strict feeding schedule—one ounce of milk every two hours. In an age well before infertility treatments, triplets were extremely rare!
Construction began on a new Corn Belt Bank home office on September 13, 1960. The Bloomington bank was moving two blocks east from its longtime home on the Courthouse Square. This bank building opened in October 1961.
Opened in 1915 as the finest movie house in the Twin Cities, the Irvin (or at least its marquee) is seen in this June 1938 sidewalk-and-street scene. The view is looking east. The old theater was torn down in the fall of 1987 and today the site is a surface parking lot for Second Presbyterian Church.
Through the summer and fall, I’ve been an intern for the museum archive. My task has been to help in identifying and describing German-language materials, and to translate some of them into English, so they can be indexed correctly and be more accessible to users of the archive who don’t read German.
Department of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet, stopped in the Twin Cities on October 17, 1935. She spoke at Capen Auditorium on the Illinois State Normal University campus. She talked about workplace health and safety.
This undated aerial photo shows the six blocks bounded by Front, East, Olive, and Madison streets (outlined in red) that were razed beginning in the late 1950s to make way for an urban renewal “superblock” featuring the Law & Justice Center, what would become the Abraham Lincoln parking deck, and a nondescript office building.
An intrepid Museum staffer tracked this wonderful image down, taken in mid-February 1959 - this being the first McDonald’s in the Twin Cities. Soon after, the drive-in opened.
In July 1950, 19-year-old Carolyn Cameron of Pekin was crowned Jaycees’ “Miss Bloomington” 1950. Cameron, an Illinois Wesleyan University student, bested 26 other young woman for the honor.
In early May 1953, former Bloomington Mayor Cecil Cone brought past and present city officials together for a barbecue at his home, 703 E. Market St. Seen here (left to right) are Mary and Cecil Cone, Clarine Mather, and city councilman Monroe Dodge.
A fascinating discussion was given on the myriad of court battles surrounding the May 30-June 1, 1970 rock & roll festival in southern McLean County. As seen in this photograph, not all of the estimated 60,000 spectators were hippies, yippies, freaks, Bohemians, peaceniks, avant-garde radicals, druggies, merry pranksters, flower children, long-hairs, or drop-outs!
n the spring of 1941, fencing became the newest sport on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus. Seen here are Prof. R.M. Chase giving pointers (pun intended) to Russell Stickney (left) and Bill Trierweiler. Looking on is Robert Lucey, captain of the fencing group.
Brown’s Business College, offered classes in various downstate Illinois communities, including Galesburg, Moline, and Peoria. The school maintained a “campus” in Bloomington from the 1890s to the early 1940s
By 1935, The Pantagraph had outgrown its 1887 home. Construction of new and expanded quarters began that year at the same location.
Since 1998, the Museum has hosted projects created by seventh grade students attending Tri-Valley Middle School every spring. The students, however, do not do it alone. They are led by veteran teacher and history buff Mr. Robin Roberts...
The Pantagraph recounted the story of the Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home Band, organized in 1897-98 and active into the 1960s. This state-run home in north Normal changed its name to the Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School (ISSCS) in 1931.
This photo recalls the Bloomers, Bloomington’s professional minor league team that played in the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League from 1901 to 1939.The Bloomers home was Fans Field. Today, this site is occupied by Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department’s RT Dunn Fields and a series of businesses along Lafayette Street, including Weber Electric and Aramark. The Fans Field grandstand burned down in August 1947.
In late July 1922, the McLean County Farm Bureau and the McLean County Home Bureau held a picnic west of Bloomington for farmers and rural folk from six area townships. A crew from Homestead Films, Inc. of Chicago was also there to shoot scenes for a seven-reel silent picture to be called “The Yoke of Age.”