We are a nationally accredited, award-winning museum with seven exhibit galleries, more than 18,000 objects, over 15,000 rare and hard-to-find books on local history, and 2,000 feet of historical papers and images. We are a non-profit organization.
We are also free Saturday mornings during the Farmers' Market.
The McLean County Museum of History's address is 200 North Main Street, Bloomington, Illinois, however our entrance is on Washington Street, on the south side of the building.
Street parking: Street parking around the Museum is free but limited to 90 minutes, and this is strictly enforced by the city. You may move your car to a different block to reset the 90 minute limit.
Lincoln Parking Deck: One block south of the Museum on Front Street and Main. Parking is $1 per hour during the day M-F.
Center and Market Garage: This garage is three blocks north of the Museum on the corner of Center and Market. Parking on the first floor is free for the first four hours.
Washington and East St. Lot: There is free 2-hour parking three blocks southeast of the Museum in a lot at the corner of Washington St. and East St.
Evening and weekend parking: All public parking in Downtown Bloomington is free and unlimited after 6 pm on weekdays, and all day Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Many Bloomington-Normal city buses stop at the Downtown station one block south of the Museum square.
For more information and a system map, please visit the Connect Transit website.
All groups should call the Museum to make reservations.
Groups arriving by bus should unload and load in the bus loading zone located outside the Museum entrance on Washington Street. Buses can park in the Douglas Lot, located north-east of the Museum for the duration of the group’s visit. Click here for parking instructions for buses.
Note: Museum staff reserve the right to update these plans based on a shift in health guidelines and/or based on experience.
If you are exhibiting any symptoms or have a temperature over 100.4 degrees, please do not visit the Museum.
Masks are recommended but not required. Masks and additional protocols may be required for select partner programs.
Physical distancing of at least six feet is encouraged inside the building when possible.
During your visit, feel free to use the hand sanitizing stations. Restrooms are on the ground floor in the Visitors Center if you need to wash your hands.
For more information on accessibility accommodations, including sensory friendly evening access, please call us at 309-827-0428.
Our elevator is being replaced and therefore do not have any elevator in the building until work is completed (hopefully early July). The Museum’s marble stairs go from the ground floor to the third floor of the building. The stairs have a handrail, but each step is approximately 6 inches tall. There are 24 steps between the ground floor and the first floor, 32 steps between the first and second floors, and 32 steps between the second and third floors. See elevator FAQ here.
There are places to sit down in most of the exhibit galleries and a bench in the first and third floor rotunda.
Exhibits are typically around 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).
We have five Sensory Bags (provided by Autism McLean) that are available for check out at the reception desk. Each bag includes: sound dampening headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and visual communication cards. These bags are available to all visitors.
To prepare for your visit, view the Museum's social narrative.
Free public wifi throughout the Museum.
Diaper changing facilities in both the men's and women's restrooms.
The Museum staff is trained in first aid and there is an AED on site.
There is no cafeteria in the Museum but pop, snacks, and candy are available for sale in our visitors center (ground floor) and there are water fountains throughout the building.
There is a coat rack on the second floor, outside the courtroom. It is unsecured and accessible to the public at all times. We are not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Personal photography for private, non-commercial use is permitted in all locations unless otherwise posted. To take pictures inside the museum, regular admission must be paid on days the Museum charges admission.
Professional photographers MUST pay a fee.
Please call us at 309-827-0428 for more information.
Pets are not allowed in the Museum. Service animals are allowed as defined by ADA law.
Visitors are welcome to nurse or bottle feed their baby anywhere they are comfortable.
If you would like a more private space, please reach out to a staff member and we will do our best to accommodate you. We currently do not have a room dedicated to nursing, but hope to in the future.
There are 11 Looking for Lincoln exhibit panels around downtown Bloomington. Look for the graphic shown to the left! These panels are installed at historic Lincoln sites. There are over 200 of these informative exhibit panels throughout Central Illinois.
You can explore Lincoln sites throughout downtown and other sites in Bloomington-Normal using our narrated tour. It is available at the Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 website, and also as a CD in our gift shop.
On this self-guided smart phone tour, you can learn about the architecture of many downtown Bloomington buildings. Look for posters in the front windows of buildings, and scan the QR code on the. A map of building and instructions for using QR codes can be found here (PDF).
Downtown Bloomington has an abundance of restaurants, specialty retail shops, art galleries, and entertainment venues, all within walking distance from the Museum. For lists of businesses, events, and more please visit the Downtown Bloomington Association Website.
For information about events, accommodations, and things to do in the greater Bloomington-Normal area, please visit the Bloomington-Normal Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website.