Boone County Museum Of History
Started in 1936, our historical society has grown from a group of passionate volunteers collecting artifacts to a three story museum in the heart of Belvidere. We work hard to preserve our county’s history for the next generation. We are continually holding events, lectures, and exhibit openings to educate the public on the intricate and exciting history of our community.
No reservations or anything are required to visit!
Hours are currently:
Wed-Fri 10-4, and Saturday 10-3.
We are closed Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
314 S State St Belvidere IL.’
Phone: (815) 544-8391
We are located in the heart of downtown Belvidere.
You can find us next to O’Brien and Dobbins Drugstore,
and across the street from Stylehouse Furniture.
We have many great restaurants within walking distance,
including Shortline Sushi, The Steam Plant and Sips & Sprinkles.
Admission is free to the public.
We do accept a free-will donation.
Any donation is very much appreciated!
Starting in 2017, we launched a full redesign on all of our exhibits within the museum. Our goal has been to make our displays modern while presenting our history in an interactive format. Below are several examples of our brand new exhibits, which have delighted thousands of visitors and expanded our community’s knowledge on the history of Boone County.
Boone County Museum of History is an interactive museum of history, art, and popular culture located in the South State Street Historic District in Belvidere, Illinois. Established by members of the Boone County Historical Society, the museum’s mission is to stimulate interest in Boone County history through education, research, and collection and preservation of artifacts and archival material. An extensive museum complex encloses under its roof an exhaustive Boone County archival collection, thousands of artifacts, several historic carriages and vintage automobiles, an exhibit celebrating 1969 Miss America Judith Ford, and the entire two-story pioneer log cabin of a Manchester Township family farm.
Boone County has been involved in nearly every American war. Complete with a World War I trench and a Civil War tent, this exhibit represents Boone County’s extensive military history. In this exhibit, we not only showcase these wars but also the stories of the men and women of Boone County who fought them.
History of Farming in Boone County
Sowing Season features interactive elements for kids such as a farmers market, a cow that can be milked, and more! Other elements include a full history of the dairy industry in Boone County and a dedication to the famous Edward’s Apple Orchard, whose founder was a dedicated member of our museum. We can’t wait for you to see this exhibit!
In the collection are several rare conveyances, including horse-drawn brougham and hearse carriages. A 1904 Eldredge Runabout manufactured in Belvidere by the National Sewing Machine Company occupies a prominent place in the museum’s foyer opposite an ivory 1965 Plymouth Fury II, the first chassis to come off the production line at the Belvidere Assembly Plant, an early donation to the museum by Chrysler. A 1924 Ford Model T convertible occupies a space next to an example of the penny-farthing, the first bicycle
Celebrating 50 Years of Judi Ford
The night Judi Ford won the title of Miss America 1969, Belvidere exploded into an excited frenzy. Judi Ford, small town girl who had grown up in Belvidere, had won the title and put the city’s name on the nation’s map. Explore our new exhibit that dives into Judi’s life growing up in Belvidere as an expert gymnast, to her historic win, and her current life as a retired teacher and grandmother. The exhibit also features a recreated 1960’s living room where you can sit and watch Judi win on a 1950’s television!
The Banks Legacy has been established to honor Mildred and Melvin Banks, longtime Boone County residents. Mildred’s passion for photography was enjoyed most when her slides and photos were shared with others. The Legacy ensures that her view through the lens will be seen for years to come. Melvin’s love of the land and interest in county conservation will also be remembered through the Banks Legacy in the updated Boone County natural sciences room, aptly named, “The Melvin and Mildred Banks Gallery of Boone County Conservation”
The Mission of the Boone County Historical Museum is to stimulate interest in Boone County History through education, research, and preservation of artifacts and archival materials. Take a look at some of the items we have in our collection!
Source and photos: https://www.bcmuseumofhistory.org/
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