Museums in South Elgin


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  • Elgin Area Historical Society
    Boasting Greek Revival-style architecture, the Elgin History Museum's first floor exhibits show how Elgin developed form the 1830's to through the 1970's. The museum focuses on the town's industry, its architecture, and, most importantly, its citizens. The second floor's thematic exhibits cover the world-renowned Elgin National Watch Factory, which employed generations of residents, and the Hiawatha Pageant, performed for 50 years at Camp Big Timber. Size: five permanent exhibits, plus a handful of temporary exhibits The Building: called Old Main, it was built in 1856 for the Elgin Academy prep school and is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places Eye Catcher: Check out a replica of Elgin's first cabin, built by the Gifford family, who are credited as the city's founders Permanent Mainstay: Elgin Road Races, which chronicles the competitions held in town beginning over 100 years ago in the early days of auto racing Don't Miss: Explore Elgin Architecture illuminates the city's many design styles, from settlers' cobblestone homes to Victorian architecture to bungalows Hands-On Exhibit: Watch Your Pocket allows kids to build a pocket-watch prototype as if they were working on the assembly line at the watch factory Pro Tip: through the Adventure Pass program, Illinois residents can use their library card for free admission to this museum and 16 others
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    360 Park St
    Elgin, IL US
  • FireZone
    A kids' firehouse sets the stage for hands-on, imaginative activities at FireZone, where actual firefighters show off fire engines, explain educational displays, and oversee games for kids of all ages. In addition to children’s parties and drop-in play sessions, FireZone runs school field trips, caters to adults with corporate training days, and rents fire trucks for picnics, parades, and festivals.
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    1100 National Parkway
    Schaumburg, IL US
  • Illinois Railway Museum
    The most enticing exhibits at the Illinois Railway Museum don't sit in glass cases. Instead, they can be found chugging along the five-mile mainline or the one-mile streetcar loop at various points in the day, giving visitors an opportunity to witness these antique machines functioning the way they were meant to do. This emphasis on living history is a key part of the museum's mission to educate visitors about the growth and development of the railroad industry throughout the Chicagoland area as well as the United States in general. Although it already possesses extensive collections of trolley coaches, electric cars, diesel engines, steam locomotives, and hovercraft, the Illinois Railway Museum is still bent on acquiring more pieces, hoping to eventually represent each major chronological period in the history of rail travel. The museum's technicians do their best to restore antique equipment whenever possible, either by rebuilding original parts or by using modern reproductions and cosmetic touches to fill in the blanks. This ensures that visitors will not only be able to see restored, full-sized versions of historic rolling stock, but can also witness them in motion and even ride some of them. Beyond the locomotives and cars, the Illinois Railway Museum also features a broad assortment of historical artifacts. Antique signals, telegraph and communications equipment, tools, uniforms, and ticket stubs are all available for viewing for guests hoping to learn even more about America's railroad history.
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    7000 Olson Rd.
    Union, IL US
  • DuPage Children's Museum
    In 1987, Louise Beem and Dorothy Carpenter were early-childhood-education specialists. Based on their combined experience—gained from teaching preschool, founding the College of DuPage's early-childhood-education program, and being grandmothers—the two friends felt that traditional methods of teaching youngsters were less than optimal at the time. Their brainchild, the DuPage Children's Museum, began that same year. The pair designed the museum's colorful exhibits to incorporate interactive and open-ended elements, which they believed more closely matched the way kids learn and naturally process information, a discovery they say has now been corroborated by findings in neuroscience research. In that vein, the three-story museum engages young neurons with interactive art, math, and science-themed attractions. Giving little hands the chance to explore, the AWEsome Electricity exhibit bridges the gap between the electric-powered gadgets and lights families use every day to where all that nonbreakfast-based energy comes from. Kids learn how electricity gets from one place to another and what its basic units are while at play in the museum's signature hands-on spaces. Elsewhere, the Young Explorers exhibit is designed for children aged 2 and under, who develop math skills by learning concepts such as sorting and patterning and express their creativity by experimenting with color and light.
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    301 North Washington Street,Naperville
    Naperville, IL US
  • Naper Settlement
    In 1969, a group of history lovers saved the Civil War-era St. John's Episcopal Church from demolition, and in so doing gave birth to Naper Settlement, an outdoor history museum that preserves a slice of 19th-century life. Over the decades, more and more buildings have been restored and moved to the settlement grounds, building up a massive testament to times past and earning dozens of awards in the process. Size: 30 historic buildings spread across 12 acres Eye Catchers: the staff, who don costumes and take on personas from the 19th century Permanent Mainstay: Brushstrokes of the Past—3,500 sq. ft. of art, artifacts, photos, and other relics that chart Naperville's history Crown Jewel:Martin Mitchell Mansion, a 12-room celebration of 19th-century luxury and one of the settlement's original buildings Hands-On Activities: try on clothes from the past or build a cabin with Lincoln logs Pro Tip: use Naper Settlement's app to explore the grounds and baffle those who've forgot what century they're in
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    523 S Webster St.
    Naperville, IL US
  • Scitech Hands On Museum
    In 1987, Fermilab physicist Ernest Malamud had a dream of an interactive space where kids and adults could get up close and personal with cutting-edge science and mind-bending technology, inspiring minds of all ages to discover the world around them. SciTech is the culmination of that dream. Whether rubbing elbows with real-life critters or stepping inside 78mph winds, visitors explore STEM fields through over 150 interactive exhibits that inspire education and imagination. SciTech also offers group field trips, overnight events, scout programs, birthday parties, and day camps. Visitors can also check out the Discovery Shop, which features unique gifts ideal for budding scientists.
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    18 West Benton Street
    Aurora, IL US

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