Downers Grove Museum

Downers Grove Museum Discover the history of Downers Grove! Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs 12-4pm, 2nd and 4th Saturdays 10-1pm
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The mission of the Downers Grove Museum is to provide educational and leisure opportunities for the community by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting materials that explain and document the history of Downers Grove and its relationship to local, state, regional, national and global history.

SPECTERS AND SPIRITS AT THE DOWNERS GROVE MUSEUM! Possible rain spoiling our Specters and Spirits Event preventing you f...
10/12/2023

SPECTERS AND SPIRITS AT THE DOWNERS GROVE MUSEUM! Possible rain spoiling our Specters and Spirits Event preventing you from registering at www.dgparks.org? Well, fear NOT! We have decided to add the old Lincoln School, now known as the Lincoln Center as part of our paranormal investigations! Even if the rain prevents us from touring the Main Street Cemetery, we'll take the time to explore one of Downers Grove's oldest schools!

Have you ever felt like Victorian Dolls are really watching you? Check out our Fun Spooky Fact about why. If you're look...
10/09/2023

Have you ever felt like Victorian Dolls are really watching you? Check out our Fun Spooky Fact about why. If you're looking for more some spook-filled fun this season, join us for Specters & Spirits on Oct. 13 from 7-10pm. Search for signs of spirits with paranormal experts using real paranormal detection equipment at the allegedly haunted Downers Grove Museum, the Lincoln Center, and Main Street Cemetery. Fee includes light appetizers and a non-alcoholic beverage. This event is for ages 18+. Register online at: https://rb.gy/9ddvx.

10/06/2023

At last night’s Village Council meeting Mayor Barnett honored this year’s Montrew Dunham Award recipient Bruce Swanson with a proclamation. Because of Bruce’s significant service and contributions to Downers Grove, the Mayor proclaimed the week of October 1 - October 7, 2023 as “Bruce Swanson Week”. Bruce will be presented with the Montrew Dunham Award by the Historical Society this Saturday at 1 pm at the Lincoln Center. Please register at the link below if you’d like to attend. In the words of Mayor Barnett, “if you don’t know Bruce, you should”.

https://dghistory.org/event/2023-montrew-dunham-award-ceremony/

Photo courtesy of Slav Polinski Photography

👻 It's National Ghost Hunting Day for those who enjoy exploring mysteries, hearing eerie tales and seeking out the super...
09/30/2023

👻 It's National Ghost Hunting Day for those who enjoy exploring mysteries, hearing eerie tales and seeking out the supernatural! If you're looking for some spook-filled fun this season, join us for Specters & Spirits on Oct. 13 from 7-10pm. Search for signs of spirits with paranormal experts using real paranormal detection equipment at the allegedly haunted Downers Grove Museum and Main Street Cemetery. Fee includes light appetizers and a non-alcoholic beverage. This event is for ages 18+. Register online at: https://rb.gy/9ddvx.

Thank you to everyone who joined the Downers Grove Museum on Saturday, Sept. 23, to celebrate the acceptance of the 1846...
09/26/2023

Thank you to everyone who joined the Downers Grove Museum on Saturday, Sept. 23, to celebrate the acceptance of the 1846 Israel and Avis Blodgett’s House into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom! The Network to Freedom, a National Park Service program, coordinates preservation and education efforts nationwide associated with the Underground Railroad. Learn more about the 1846 Blodgett House and the Network to Freedom at https://www.dgparks.org/news/networktofreedom.

Don't miss this special celebration! The Association of Midwest Museums will host a Best Practices Award Virtual Event t...
09/22/2023

Don't miss this special celebration! The Association of Midwest Museums will host a Best Practices Award Virtual Event to celebrate the restoration of the 1846 Blodgett House on Nov. 16, from 4:00 to 4:45pm. This event will be held via Zoom and requires advance registration available at https://www.midwestmuseums.org/2023-awards-virtual/.

Downers Grove Museum has received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums! The Association of M...
09/21/2023

Downers Grove Museum has received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums!

The Association of Midwest Museums will host a Best Practices Award Virtual Event to celebrate the restoration of the 1846 Blodgett House on Nov. 16, from 4:00 to 4:45pm. This event will be held via Zoom and requires advance registration available at midwestmuseums.org.

The Association of Midwest Museums has recognized the Downers Grove Museum with the Best Practices Award for their work on the completed renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House.

Save the date! The Downers Grove Historical Society has named Bruce Swanson as the 2023 Montrew Dunham Award recipient. ...
09/18/2023

Save the date! The Downers Grove Historical Society has named Bruce Swanson as the 2023 Montrew Dunham Award recipient. This award honors those whose significant service and contributions to the Village of Downers Grove have earned them a place in its history. He will be honored on October 7 at Lincoln Center (935 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, IL) at 1:00pm; the public is invited. Many know him through his volunteer activities, and many more enjoyed having him as their 5th or 6th-grade teacher during his 30+ years with Downers Grove District 58. If you have words of appreciation or anecdotes you would like to share, please email the DG Historical Society at [email protected]. The event is free, but your registration helps us plan. RSVP at https://dghistory.org/event/2023-montrew-dunham-award-ceremony/

Save the Date! Bruce Swanson has been named the 2023 Montrew Dunham Award recipient by the Downers Grove Historical Society. This award honors those whose significant service and contributions to the Village of Downers Grove have earned them a place in its history. He will be honored on October 7th at Lincoln Center (935 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, IL) at 1:00pm; the public is invited. Many know him through his volunteer activities, and many more enjoyed having him as their 5th or 6th-grade teacher during his 30+ years with Downers Grove District 58. If you have words of appreciation or anecdotes you would like to share, please email the DG Historical Society at [email protected]. The event is free, but your registration helps us plan. RSVP at www.dghistory.org/register

Downers Grove Park District wishes everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend! Downers Grove Museum will be closed Sept...
09/01/2023

Downers Grove Park District wishes everyone a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend! Downers Grove Museum will be closed Sept. 2 to 4.

On Sept. 23, from 1 to 2:30pm, join us at the Downers Grove Museum as we celebrate the acceptance of the 1846 Israel and...
08/07/2023

On Sept. 23, from 1 to 2:30pm, join us at the Downers Grove Museum as we celebrate the acceptance of the 1846 Israel and Avis Blodgett’s House into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom! The Network to Freedom, a National Park Service program, coordinates preservation and education efforts nationwide associated with the Underground Railroad. We’ll learn more about the Network to Freedom and about the connection of the Blodgett House and other UGRR sites in DuPage County. The Blodgett House will also be open for tours. This program is free, but pre-registration is required at https://bit.ly/43WrkD6.

In observation of Independence Day, Downers Grove Museum will be closed July 2 to 4. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!
06/29/2023

In observation of Independence Day, Downers Grove Museum will be closed July 2 to 4. Have a fun and safe 4th of July!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Downers Grove Museum will be closed on Saturday, June 24. We apologize for the inco...
06/18/2023

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Downers Grove Museum will be closed on Saturday, June 24. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Thank you to The Grove Foundation for sponsoring another fantastic Country in the Park last Saturday!
05/09/2023

Thank you to The Grove Foundation for sponsoring another fantastic Country in the Park last Saturday!

Families were able to visit with farm animals and play 1850’s pioneer-era games during the Country in the Park, part of the annual Downers Grove Founders Day celebration, on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

On Friday, April 21, the Downers Grove Museum was presented with an Award of Superior Achievement in the category of Bui...
04/24/2023

On Friday, April 21, the Downers Grove Museum was presented with an Award of Superior Achievement in the category of Building/Site Preservation from the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) for the restoration of the 1846 Israel Blodgett House.

The Award Committee surmised that the project is a testament to the commitment of the community that a key piece of Downers Grove history was not only preserved but transformed into an educational space for the public to understand both local history as well as larger connections to the Underground Railroad.

Learn more about this exciting honor at https://www.dgparks.org/news/IAMAward.

Learn more about the upcoming Founders Day Celebration including “Farm to Table: Heirloom Gardening” at the Downers Grov...
04/17/2023

Learn more about the upcoming Founders Day Celebration including “Farm to Table: Heirloom Gardening” at the Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Ave., from 1 to 2:30 p.m., on April 29. You also can play in the Pine Hollow Golf Tournament starting at 11 a.m. at the historic Belmont Golf Club, 2420 Haddow Ave. Then, at 3:30 p.m. the same day, the recently renamed Belmont Golf Club will be honored as the 2023 Historic Site of the Year. On May 6, the Downers Grove Museum will host Country in the Park on the museum campus from noon to 3 p.m. It offers a petting zoo, educational booths, live Civil War-era music and historic games for children.

Pioneer woman Abigail Root will be honored as part of week-long Founders Day celebration.

In observation of the spring holiday, Downers Grove Museum will be closed Friday, April 7, to Sunday, April 9.
04/05/2023

In observation of the spring holiday, Downers Grove Museum will be closed Friday, April 7, to Sunday, April 9.

Today, the Illinois Daughters of American Colonists unveiled a dedication plaque at the 1846 Blodgett House. The plaque ...
03/25/2023

Today, the Illinois Daughters of American Colonists unveiled a dedication plaque at the 1846 Blodgett House. The plaque recognizes the home of Israel Blodgett as an active stop on the Underground Railroad and highlights the family's involvement as Abolitionists who advocated for the freedom of enslaved peoples. Thank you to the Illinois Daughters of American Colonists for this recognition!

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our last winter DGM History Talk on Prominent Women in D.G.! As part of Woman's His...
03/16/2023

Thanks to everyone who joined us for our last winter DGM History Talk on Prominent Women in D.G.!

As part of Woman's History Month we want to showcase one of D.G.'s most promient women highlighted in our talk, Alice Tisdale Hobart. Hobart graduated from Downers Grove High School in 1896. When visiting her sister in China, she met her husband, Earle Hobart, an American oil Company representive. In 1922, the Hobarts were caught in the middle of a civil war in China where they were detained and later escaped to Shanghai. This experience prompted her to write her first major book, "Within the Walls of Nanking." She later wrote many books exploring areas of racial conflict between native Chinese and American Businesses.

Alice Tisdale Hobart lived an adventurous life, and used her gift of writing to describe a world that almost no early 20th century Americans could hope to see. She is considered one of the premier female novelists of her day.

March is Woman's History Month! Join us on March 16th at 11:00am for our latest free DGM History Talk on Prominent Women...
03/01/2023

March is Woman's History Month! Join us on March 16th at 11:00am for our latest free DGM History Talk on Prominent Women in Downers Grove! We will cover some of D.G.'s most infamous women who broke barriers in both in the locally and nationally in our community. Sign up at dgparks.org!

There is still time to register for our Feb. 25 and March 25 tours of the 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museu...
01/25/2023

There is still time to register for our Feb. 25 and March 25 tours of the 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museum. Explore the lives of Israel and Avis Blodgett and discover their role on the Underground Railroad. Register online at https://bit.ly/3XWKVk5.

Upcoming tours of the historical Blodgett House in Downers Grove offers insights into it role as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Join us Thursday, January 19th at 11:00am on Zoom for a discussion on Sears and other Kit Homes of Downers Grove during ...
01/06/2023

Join us Thursday, January 19th at 11:00am on Zoom for a discussion on Sears and other Kit Homes of Downers Grove during one of the museum’s History talks! We’ll discuss the history of kit homes in our village and some of the many still standing in Downers Grove. Talk is free! Register at: www.dgparks.org .

Take a tour of the newly restored 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museum. Explore the lives of Israel and Avis ...
12/20/2022

Take a tour of the newly restored 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museum. Explore the lives of Israel and Avis Blodgett and their role on the Underground Railroad. The Blodgett family held abolitionist beliefs, and it is believed that they provided assistance to enslaved people during the Civil War era. Register for one of three dates this season at https://bit.ly/3uWVIOM.

Happy Holidays from the Downers Grove Museum! The museum will be closed on the following days for the holidays: Dec. 23 ...
12/18/2022

Happy Holidays from the Downers Grove Museum! The museum will be closed on the following days for the holidays: Dec. 23 to 26 and Dec. 30 to Jan. 2.

It's  ! Register now for Tree to Table: Maple Syrup happening on March 18 at the Downers Grove Museum! Discover how mapl...
12/17/2022

It's ! Register now for Tree to Table: Maple Syrup happening on March 18 at the Downers Grove Museum! Discover how maple syrup gets made and learn how one of nature's tastiest treats goes from a tree to your kitchen table. From tree biology and identification, to the rich regional history behind early syrup production, join us for a sweet journey into all things maple! Register online at https://bit.ly/3Hw9Lm2.

Families got into the holiday spirit with Christmas traditions of the past as they listened to Victorian-era carolers, t...
12/15/2022

Families got into the holiday spirit with Christmas traditions of the past as they listened to Victorian-era carolers, toured the Blodgett House and visited with Santa at last weekend's Merry & Bright event at the Downers Grove Museum!

Thank you to My Suburban Life for stopping by!

The Week in Pictures at My Suburban Life for Dec. 5-11.

Don’t forget to join us at the Downers Grove Museum for the return of our Blodgett Boo Fest from 3pm to 6pm tonight! Fre...
10/31/2022

Don’t forget to join us at the Downers Grove Museum for the return of our Blodgett Boo Fest from 3pm to 6pm tonight! Free snacks, crafts and games for all ages!

See the Victorian Blodgett House decorated for Halloween and take a tour. Learn about what would have been done to celeb...
10/13/2022

See the Victorian Blodgett House decorated for Halloween and take a tour. Learn about what would have been done to celebrate the holiday when people lived in the Victorian Blodgett House, from the 1890s to the last family in the 1960s. Learn more and register at https://bit.ly/3Cvi3q7.

Kids ages 6 to 12 can spend their day off at the Downers Grove Museum for a full morning of adventures on Oct. 21 or Nov...
10/08/2022

Kids ages 6 to 12 can spend their day off at the Downers Grove Museum for a full morning of adventures on Oct. 21 or Nov. 8. We'll make new discoveries and participate in fun games and activities relating to Downers Grove's past. Learn more and register at https://bit.ly/3M7Q3xg.

Part 4: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out? The Downers Grove Museum has so many artifacts in ou...
10/05/2022

Part 4: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out?

The Downers Grove Museum has so many artifacts in our collection, many of them being historic toys and dolls. When the museum was first started it was a volunteer organization, not ran by people who held degrees in Museum Studies. Due to this our records of early donations to the museum are incomplete, we have many artifacts that are labeled found in collection, meaning we have no idea where it came from or what its history is. Do we have a mourning doll on display right now? We very well could and have no idea, one of the dolls in the children’s bedroom does have a flat back of the head and is pale in color, but it is a found in collection piece so all I can say is maybe.

Thank you for joining us in learning more about the connections to death and the departed and Victorian Dolls. Don't forget to sign up to join us this Friday, October 7th for our Specters and Spirits event.

Sincerely,
Nina Fuscaldo Curator of the Downers Grove Museum

Part 3: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out? Hear the case of the Audubon House Museum in Key Wes...
09/28/2022

Part 3: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out?

Hear the case of the Audubon House Museum in Key West Florida starting in the 1980’s. In the early 80’s a woman named Mrs. Peck donated a rather large Victorian doll, it was pale and left visitors and staff with a general feeling of dread. Sometimes they could swear the doll was looking at them, or that its fixed facial expression would change. It was on display in a replica children’s bedroom with historic toys, books and furniture around the room. After the doll arrived things in this room began to break, toys would be broken, or moved from where they had been placed for display, historic books would be found ripped, and furniture would be moved. This became almost a daily occurrence.

The museum later acquired a security system and cameras to see what had been going on. There was no person behind these odd occurrences and according to the staff, things would just happen with no one anywhere near the room, and the alarm would go off. Word of this haunting spread and the Audubon House Museum became a place for people particularly interested in the paranormal to visit. This doll became its most popular display item, Quite often visitors would try and take its picture and seemingly for no reason the photos never fully came out right. They might be blurry, or a black slash would appear across a part of the doll's face, or the facial expression captured on camera was not the fixed facial position the doll was made to bare. Now this all seems quite odd, but that is not the end of the story. One night in January of 1997 the alarm went off in the children’s bedroom. When staff arrived the doll was missing, and on the security footage it is on the bed one moment and gone the next, just p**f gone. No one really knows what happened to the doll but the odd occurrences at the museum stopped the day after its disappearance.

Please stay tuned for more! And don't forget to join us October 7th at our Specters and Spirits event at the Downers Grove Museum.
https://www.dgparks.org/calendar/events/specters---spirits-0976352148

Part 2: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out? Mourning dolls may seem quite odd to our modern mind...
09/21/2022

Part 2: Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out?

Mourning dolls may seem quite odd to our modern minds but to the Victorians the use of these dolls was just as normal as mortuary photographs. Mortuary photographs were photos taken of dead relatives, posed sometimes with the aid of clamps and hooks. Photography was still new and quite expensive in the Victorian Era, so many people did not have their photos taken in life, but a few did in death due to the kindness of their families. Even a photo taken with a dead relative was better than having no photograph with them at all. They would do their best to make the co**se look alive in these photographs, sometimes they would even paint open eyes on the closed eyelids of the dead.
Families found comfort where they could and during the Victorian Era, this was also the time when spiritualism began to rear its head. People no longer thought that psychics were agents of the devil, they embraced the idea that someone could speak to their departed loved ones. This was another use for these mourning dolls, some psychics ask for something belonging to the dead. As you now know, many of these dolls bore, both the hair and clothing of the dead child. Some families would have had mourning jewelry made, this was decorative jewelry which held the hair of the dead, psychics would use these as a conduit as well. Using the doll or the jewelry the psychic would make a “connection” during a séance with the spirit and relay messages to the family members for a small fee. Ghost stories really began to take of during the Victorian Era and there are several stories floating in the ether about these dolls being possessed during these séances.

Please stay tuned for more! And don't forget to join us October 7th at our Specters and Spirits event at the Downers Grove Museum.

https://www.dgparks.org/calendar/events/specters---spirits-0976352148

Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out? An educational letter from the Curator, Nina FuscaldoDear pa...
09/14/2022

Have any of the dolls in our displays ever creeped you out?

An educational letter from the Curator, Nina Fuscaldo

Dear patrons,

The following information may color the way you see Victorian dolls henceforth….

During the Victorian Era death was such a common place subject that little girls were purchased death kits alongside their tea sets. A death kit was a special set of dolls and accoutrements which were to prepare the girls for dealing with the burden of death. Generally, these kits would contain at least one sometimes two larger dolls, (a woman or women in their mourning attire) as well as a tiny dead child doll and miniature coffin. This was done so the girls could practice proper manners in dealing with visiting mourners and how a proper lady would herself dealt with death. It would be of no consequence should parents find a young girl playing funeral, actually it was encouraged.

Disturbing yes? Oh wait there is more….

Perhaps you have heard of mourning dolls, most people have not nowadays, but these may be more disturbing to our modern lenses than death kits. A mourning doll is something that a family of significant wealth might have commissioned. Using the dead child as a model an artisan would come to the house and create a weighted wax or ceramic doll with a flat back of the head so they could lay flat (full size replicas were made for children up to the age of three, over the age of three only the head and shoulders would be replicated). These dolls would often bare the hair of the dead child, sheared from their co**ses. They would also wear the clothing of the dead child. The end result being a pale, sometimes grotesque looking doll; these were not viewed at the time as disturbing, they were meant to be an aid to the family members who were in mourning. Some people would set these dolls out in a replica coffin during the wake, near the actual dead. Sometimes people would leave these dolls at the grave site, sometimes the dolls were placed in a glass case inside of a replicated coffin. One reason these dolls were common amongst the affluent of society happened to be the societal rules surrounding death. The family of the afflicted would tend to them while they were ill, still alive, but death slowly approached. The family would cover the mirrors of the house so the soul would not be trapped when it inevitably left their loved one. After the moment of death, the family’s job was technically at an end. Friends of the family were meant to take on watching over the dead. This practice was mean to save the family from deeper pain, but in essence it could have left family members without a sense of closure. Mourning dolls were supposed to bring this sense of closure to them. They were not always left at the graveside; this was a personal decision the family would make. Sometimes these dolls were brought home and cared for as if the child was still alive. Often times cleaning them, changing their clothes while placing them in the dead child’s bed or crib to “sleep”. This could go on for an extended period of time while they dealt emotionally with their loss.

To be continued...

Want to learn more? Please visit us during our Specters and Spirits event on Friday, October 7, 2022 from 7-10pm. Register at: https://www.dgparks.org/calendar/events/specters---spirits

We'll also share more information on this exciting subject, weekly as we get closer to our event!

Lost water bottles!!!!Everyone had such a fun time at summer camps this year, that a few campers left some items behind!...
09/01/2022

Lost water bottles!!!!Everyone had such a fun time at summer camps this year, that a few campers left some items behind! We would love to reunite these water bottles with their rightful owners. If one of these water bottles or bags is yours, please reach out to the museum at [email protected], to schedule a time to pick it up!

We would like to thank the   for showing us around the museum campus during our last day of History Mysteries Museum Cam...
08/19/2022

We would like to thank the for showing us around the museum campus during our last day of History Mysteries Museum Camp! We had a great time learning about travel in our local area and making connections between Lisle and Downers Grove!

Thanks to everyone who joined us this summer at our Downers Grove Museum Camps this year! We had a blast! Can’t wait for...
08/19/2022

Thanks to everyone who joined us this summer at our Downers Grove Museum Camps this year! We had a blast! Can’t wait for everyone to join us again next year!! In the meantime, we can’t wait to see you at our fall events and programs!

On July 14, 2022, the Downers Grove Museum hosted a donor reception to celebrate the completed renovation of the 1846 Bl...
08/11/2022

On July 14, 2022, the Downers Grove Museum hosted a donor reception to celebrate the completed renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House. The renovation of the house has been years in the making through a partnership between the Downers Grove Park District and the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation.

The vision for the 1846 Blodgett House restoration is to create a cultural center focusing on the Blodgett family and their involvement in the nationally significant Underground Railroad. By completing the interior restoration of the home, the District has expanded the cultural impact that the museum will have on the surrounding communities and illuminate Downers Grove’s heritage as a part of the Underground Railroad. It is the hope that the restored home will serve as an education center for schools throughout the region.

On July 14, 2022, Downers Grove Museum hosted a donor reception to celebrate the completed renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House. The renovation of the house...

We’ve had so much fun this summer so far with our half-day Museum Camps! Can’t wait for everyone to join us the rest of ...
07/22/2022

We’ve had so much fun this summer so far with our half-day Museum Camps! Can’t wait for everyone to join us the rest of the summer at our future camps!

🇺🇸 In celebration of Independence Day, the Downers Grove Museum will be closed July 2 to 4. Have a happy and safe 4th of...
06/30/2022

🇺🇸 In celebration of Independence Day, the Downers Grove Museum will be closed July 2 to 4. Have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!

A big thank you to all of our volunteers for helping take care of our heritage garden, and get it ready for some vegetab...
06/21/2022

A big thank you to all of our volunteers for helping take care of our heritage garden, and get it ready for some vegetable planting! We can’t do it without you! We are excited to see what will grow here this summer!

We had a fun first week of camp with our American Girl Doll Summer Campers here at the Downers Grove Museum! We can’t wa...
06/17/2022

We had a fun first week of camp with our American Girl Doll Summer Campers here at the Downers Grove Museum! We can’t wait for you guys to join us later on this summer for some of our other fun themes and Activities! Our camps run weekdays from 9am-Noon with a new theme each week. This week the campers had fun learning and experiencing the lives of some of American Girl’s Historic Dolls, including Kaya, Addy, and Samantha!

Address

831 Maple Avenue
Downers Grove, IL
60515

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12pm - 4pm
Wednesday 12pm - 4pm
Thursday 12pm - 4pm

Telephone

(630) 963-1309

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Our Story

The Downers Grove Museum is a community museum in the western suburbs of Chicago. Operated as a facility of the Downers Grove Park District, the musuem’s mission is to provide educational and leisure opportunities for the community by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting materials that explain and document the history of Downers Grove and its relationship to local, state, regional, national and global history.

The museum’s collection includes over 80,000 historical objects, furniture, clothing, textiles, documents, and photographs related to the history of Downers Grove. Some of the important artifacts in our collection include Downers Grove’s first motorized firetruck, objects owned by Downers Grove’s founder, documents signed by four U.S. Presidents, and original photographs that the Downers Grove Reporter newspaper published from the 1940s to 1990s.

The museum started in 1973, when the Downers Grove Park District and Downers Grove Historical Society began operating a museum in a house on Curtis Street. The Historical Society exhibited its collection of historical artifacts that it had started in 1967 and displayed in Village Hall. Three years later, the Park District purchased the historic 1892 Charles Blodgett House on Maple Avenue and moved the museum there. The Park District also hired Pauline Wandschendier, the founder of the Downers Grove Historical Society, as the museum’s first Curator and named the Blodgett house’s property Wandschneider Park in her honor.

The Downers Grove Museum has expanded beyond the Charles Blodgett House since then. In the late 1980s, the Park District replaced the property’s old homestead barn with a brand new exhibition and programming facility designed to look like a barn. In 2008, the DG Heritage Preservation Society raised funds to move the 1846 Israel Blodgett house on Randall Street to the museum’s property. However, it has not been opened to the public due to a long-term interior renovation project.