Get a glimpse of history, locally and across the world, in our various museums. Whether you’re exploring Abraham Lincoln’s past in Champaign County, learning about the world’s shared humanity, riding historic trains, or gazing at the stars, our museums offer an intimate look into our past. Check out the lineup below and plan your next museum trip, today!
Champaign County Courthouse, 101 E. Main St., Urbana
Explore Lincoln’s twenty years practicing law in Urbana as he rode with the Eighth Judicial Circuit at “Abraham Lincoln: Large Presence in a Small Town.” Witness the sights and sounds of Lincoln’s legal career near the spot where the great man himself tried the cases of his day. FREE
102 E. University Ave., Champaign | champaigncountyhistory.org
The museum is located in the County's oldest commercial building and the only one Abe Lincoln himself would recognize. The beautifully restored 1857 Cattle Bank, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, features rotating exhibits showcasing more than 175 years of Champaign County’s people, events, architecture and lifestyles. The museum is reopening in the Fall of 2016 after a major one-year renovation. The museum maintains a book store that features numerous titles focused on Champaign County History. Visit our website for hours of operation and contact information on special group tours.
992 Iron Horse Pl., Monticello | 217-762-9011 | mrym.org
The Monticello Railway Museum is an all-volunteer organization in central Illinois with an operational railroad main line yard open to the public. They offer train rideson Saturdays and Sundays from May through October, regardless of weather conditions, as well as a number of special events throughout the year.
They also collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit materials and artifacts from throughout the fascinating history of trains and railroading. Come explore our many rail cars and other equipment, and view our museum displays.
950 N. Lombard, Mahomet | 217-586-2612 | museumofthegrandprairie.org
The Museum of the Grand Prairie has an extensive collection interpreting the 19th and early 20th century life in east-central Illinois. Two floors of exhibits present architecture, trades and occupations, decorative arts, and childhood and domestic life of the time. The Discovery Room offers hands-on opportunities for children to interact and learn about the residents of the Grand Prairie. The "Champaign County's Lincoln" exhibit allows you to travel in a buggy with Lincoln, see a daguerreotype camera up-close and hear Lincoln's friends and neighbors talk about the early history of the community. Lincoln spent 20 years getting to know the people and places of Champaign County. Hours: Daily 1:00–5:00 p.m.; Additional Summer Hours: Mon–Sat 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Sun 1:00–5:00 p.m. (June–August) FREE
346 N. Neil St., Champaign | 217-352-5895 | orpheumkids.com
The Orpheum Children's Science Museum inspires, engages and educates children through exploration of science and the arts. Live exhibits (reptiles and Madagascar hissing cockroaches), a water flume, a Vet Clinic, Dino Dig, Butterfly Garden, Archaeological Dig, Castle Workalot, giant bubbles and more create exciting hands-on fun. We have wonderful weekly programs, science clubs, camps, and special events, so check our website and social media pages for updates and more information! Other opportunities include field trips, museum visits, birthday parties, volunteering, and space rentals for weddings and parties. Hours: Closed Mondays, Tuesday-Friday 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Weekends, 1:00-5:00 p.m. Admission is $5/person, seniors $4, children under 2 are free, and visitors presenting an EBT card pay only $1.
236 Harding Band Building, 1103 S. Sixth St., Champaign | 217-244-9039 | library.illinois.edu/sousa
The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music holds diverse collections of music and historical instruments documenting America’s cultural heritage. The Center is home to the world’s largest collection of original compositions by John Philip Sousa, one of many significant collections portraying America’s band movement and the early evolution of electronic and avant-garde music. The Sousa Archives offers tours of its collections to all visitors. Hours: Mon, Tu, Th, Fr 8:30 a.m.–noon and 1:00–5:00 p.m., Wed 10:00 a.m.–noon and 1:00–5:00 p.m. Closed weekends and federal holidays, but can be opened with special appointments. FREE
600 S. Gregory St., Urbana | 217-333-2360 | spurlock.illinois.edu
The Spurlock Museum celebrates the people and places of our world...our heritage as members of individual cultures and as the community of humanity. Feature exhibits are arranged in five main galleries: Europe; East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania; The Americas; Africa, Ancient Egypt and, Mesopotamia; and the Ancient Mediterranean. The Campbell Gallery houses regularly changing exhibits. Visitors of all ages enjoy events in the Knight Auditorium and hands-on programs in the Zahn Learning Center.
2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign | 217-351-2446 | parkland.edu/planetarium
Discover the universe at the second largest planetarium in Illinois, the William M. Staerkel Planetarium, located at Parkland College. Using their digital projection system, visitors can learn about the stars, planets and more in this cutting-edge environment. Public shows are held on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as summer matinees.