Finding Aids

Detailed inventories of archival collections housed in our onsite archives.

Funk Bros Seed Company

The Funk family arrived in McLean County from Ohio in 1824.  Over the years Isaac Funk acquired 22,000 acres of farmland and upon his...

Williams Oil-o-Matic

Charles U. Williams came to Bloomington in the late nineteenth century.  He was an itinerant photographer who decided to relocate to...

McLean County Poor Farm

For more than 90 years, the McLean County Poor Farm, located south of Bloomington, housed some of the area’s poorest and most...

Show all finding aids


Architecture of McLean County

Thousands of images of the built environment, from the earliest cabins to construction of homes in the 21st century.

Work in McLean County

Thousands of images showing hundreds of occupations that helped build McLean County, and the people who labored within them. 

Public Life in McLean County

Images in this collection include clubs, schools, parades, sports, service organizations, government, and medicine in McLean County.

Show all photos


Links to dozens of publications about McLean County history, digitized by the Museum and other institutions

City Directories

Thanks to a partnership with Bloomington Public Library and intern Noah Tang, local directories from 1855-1920 have been digitized, and are available on the Internet Archive.

34 items

Home Town in the Corn Belt

Home Town in the Corn Belt, which debuted in late December 1950, contains 171 articles, including 39 biographical sketches and 52 poems relating to local history by 132 authors (mostly regular local folk).

5 items

General Reference

Good Old Times in McLean County, The Biographical Record of McLean County, Illustrated History of McLean County, and much more.

17 items

Show all publications


Map Of McLean County, Ill. 1886.

David Rumsey Map Collection

Show all maps

Pages from our Past Articles

Articles on various topics, written by Museum Librarian Bill Kemp for the Pantagraph

‘Black Devils’ earned fame in WW I

During World War I, several dozen Bloomington-Normal residents fought in an African-American regiment that earned a reputation for...

Bloomington home to world champion singing mouse

“The voice that spanned continents and oceans to win international acclaim is forever stilled,” announced a somber Pantagraph in...

Weston Cemetery Prairie window to lost world

In 1971, C.E. “Bud” Wink and Dr. Lee Garber of Fairbury undertook an investigation of five-acre Weston Cemetery, located in nearby...

Show all pages from our past articles

Onsite Resources

Stevenson-Ives Library

The Stevenson-Ives Library contains more than 15,000 books and periodicals with a focus on McLean County and Central Illinois history and genealogy.


The Museum's Archive features a wide-range of primary and secondary source material relating to the history of McLean County, from the 1820s to the present.


The nearly 20,000 objects preserved at the Museum document the growth and development of McLean County from the prehistoric period through the present.


Links to even more McLean County history online!

Adlai Today

Adlai Today examines the references made to Adlai Stevenson II in current issues in news stories. Explore this website to find out more about this inspirational political figure who called Bloomington home.

Google Cultural Institute

See high resolution digital photographs of the paintings from our collection at the Google Cultural Institute


Discover local historic images pinned to a map, some overlaid into Google Street View!

Show all websites

Use Policies

Digital Reproduction Policy

Addresses use of digital cameras and personal scanners in Library/Archives.

Fees for Personal Scans of Archival Images

If you want our staff to scan an image from our Archives for personal use, see this document.

Fees for Scans of Archival Images for Commercial Use

If you want our staff to scan an image from our Archives for commercial use, see this document.