Collinsville Historical Museum
406 W. Main St.
Collinsville, IL 62234
Collinsville Historical Museum
In 1975 as a bicentennial project, Irving Dilliard and Lucille Stehman founded the Friends of the Collinsville Historical Museum. This organization formed around the artifacts of the Collins family trunk which had been acquired by Mr. Dilliard in 1967. With humble beginnings and an offer by the Collinsville Memorial Public Library of a 1500 square foot space in the East Wing of the lower level, the Collinsville Historical Museum began to take shape.
There were not drastic changes over the years nor were there moves to larger accommodations but that did not impede the progress of this small but mighty museum. In 2000 a Conservation Assessment Program grant (CAP) documented for the first time the true extent of the collection. According to the CAP assessment conservator Jennifer Hein, the collection totaled over 10,000 individual items containing paintings, framed photographs, personal journals, documents, and physical artifacts from the Collinsville area. Some of the more notable objects in the collection are a large number of uniforms from all forms and time of military service such as a Civil War Union Officer’s military uniform and Congressional Medal of Honor; a leather bound Mein Kampf which were given to German officers by Adolf Hitler; the founding family of Colllinsville’s personal possessions; Blum’s Bell collection (Blum Cowbell Factory was one of only two in the nation); uniforms and memorabilia from famous citizens such as Art Fletcher, New York Yankee baseball great; and Tom Yeager, Olympic swimming gold medalist, and other extensive collections of toys, fashion, jewelry, et.al. Ms. Hein gave a glowing review of the collection and its volunteer curators at the time Arvil and Betty Wrigley and Floyd and Bernice Sperino for the excellence of the content and condition of the exhibits and she encouraged the volunteer group to continue its quest for a permanent home for the Historical Museum.
In 2005 word was received from the Illinois State Museum that the Collinsville Historical Museum was to be awarded a Brick and Mortar grant for construction of $ 488,300 for a new facility to house their artifacts. Through the generosity of the Collinsville Memorial Public Library Board of Trustees the building was placed on a portion of the Library’s ground on Main Street in downtown Collinsville.
On March 25, 2006 the Collinsville Historical Museum was dedicated on the grounds of the library proper through a grant written by the librarian Barbara Rhodes.
The Friends of the Museum made the decision to officially establish the Collinsville Historical Museum as an incorporated entity with 501c3 status that would be operated by an independent Board of Directors. This goal was achieved and the Board of Directors took control of the organization and established a plan for the future.
The Museum has all of the possible elements necessary to be the cohesive component for the historical community in the Collinsville area. The unique set of circumstances that exist in our area are truly special. With the Cahokia Mounds Park predating the earliest of pioneers to the homes of many of the early settlers and important citizenry to the Willoughby Farm establishing the early agricultural times and other early business establishments, our area can trace its earliest beginnings through to the present day. The goal of the Museum is to be a Clearinghouse for all of these important elements of our community and to help enhance the area’s understanding of the importance of our past to our present.