County Historical Museum

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County Historical Museum & Archival Library 

County Historical Museum and Archival Library
Visit the Library
801 North Main Street
Edwardsville, Illinois 62025
Wednesday–Friday: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.–4 p.m.

Telephone/Email Research Services
Tuesday–Friday: 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
(618) 656-7569 / Email

County Historical Museum
Closed for Renovation
In the meantime, visit the "Mini-Museum" in the Library Building and/or take in a virtual exhibit.

"Mini-Museum" Exhibit in the Library

Ink to Paper: Exploring the Advancement of Letter Writing and Its Uses

The exhibit looks at the lost art of letter-writing. Various types of letters, the instruments used to write them, and the stamps used to send them, feature in the exhibit.

Ink to Paper was curated by intern David Thompson, a graduate student in Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, under the direction of Madison County Museum staff. The exhibit will run through March 2021.


News from the Museum Department

 Three girls 1897   January Staff Pick

The two little blond girls are sisters (Mildred and Marion Brown); the girl in the middle is their cousin Sarah Travous. One day Mildred and Marion’s mom called up Sarah’s mom and said the photographer was in town, so hurry up and come over for a picture. There wasn’t enough time to brush out Sarah’s curls. This picture was taken about 1897 or 1898. When the Brown family purchased their first car years later, beautiful and popular Mildred was the first one to learn to drive it. But someone had to ride with her, to keep her from picking up boys. MCHS photograph 1992-095-0015-002.
 bubble pipe   Artifact Spotlight

This bubble pipe is about 100 years old! You dip the bowl in a soap solution and then blow into the mouthpiece, holding the pipe so that the bowl faces downward. Ads for the "Wonder Soap Bubbler" tout it as "fascinating, healthful, sanitary, and indesctructible." The perfect holiday gift for kids! MCHS object 2019-300-0012-FIC.
Artifact Spotlight

Elijah Parish Lovejoy, editor of the St. Louis Observer, began writing editorials against slavery in 1833. After a mob destroyed his printing press for a third time, Lovejoy moved his family across the river to Alton, Illinois, where he started the abolitionist paper the Alton Observer. Soon a vocal faction of citizens felt that Lovejoy's abolitionist views had become more extreme (for the time and place). On November 7, 1837, a pro-slavery mob approached the location of his hidden printing press with murderous intent. Both parties fired shots. Lovejoy came out of the building to overturn attempts to burn it down and fell victim to multiple gunshots. The mob reached the printing press and threw the pieces in the Mississippi. Due to multiple conflicts of interest, the justice system did not charge anyone with Lovejoy's murder.

MCHS object 1964-035-0005: Joining a mantle from his Alton home, this platter entered into the Madison County Historical Society collections after travelling through Lovejoy’s extended family. In a 1937 Alton Telegraph article, the owner stated that the platter and four matched plates had been part a larger set that did not survive the 100 years between. "I did not realize the value of these dishes or I would have been more careful with them."
 montage catsup bottle    Advertising: The Art of PersuasionOur latest online exhibit explores textual and textual-visual advertising in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Click here for more online exhibits.
 Spread Eagle   Archival Image Spotlight

The Spread Eagle, a side-wheeler steamboat, cruises down the Mississippi River. You can see the old Burlington Northern railroad swing bridge at Alton in the background. The steamboat and bridge were both built in 1892 (the bridge was completed in 1894). This photograph was taken about 1900.

Transportation will be a prominent theme in the new exhibits when the museum reopens.
  Superintendent Jon Parkin explains the origin of the idiom "Lock, Stock and Barrel."
 NESCO-pie-pan    One Hundred Years of CookingShowcases selected cooking-related museum and archival artifacts, focusing on the period circa 1830-1950. Click here for more online exhibits.

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157 North Main Street,
Edwardsville, IL. 62025
618-296-6200 | Click HERE to Email
Department Contact Information Click HERE
Business Hours:  Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
89°57'28.758"W 38°48'47.095"N