Street Address
803 S. State Street
Lockport, IL 60441
Mailing Address
803 S. State Street
Lockport, IL 60441
phone: 815-838-5080
e-mail: info@willhistory.org
web: www.willhistory.org
Hours
The Museum is open approximately mid-February - December
We are closed major holiday weekends.
Sunday, Wednesday - Saturday12 PM - 4 PM
Please call ahead to verify we are open, as the Museum is staffed by volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, you may sign up through our website or at the museum.
Admissions
Free
Services
Gift Shop
Group Tours
Staff
Sandy Vasko, President and Director
phone: 815-838-5080
Brian Conroy, Vice President
phone: 815-838-5080

Description

The Will County Historical Museum and Research Center allows public access to information and research on the history of Will County and the Illinois & Michigan Canal. We welcome anyone to visit and explore our museum, exhibits, and archives.

Mission

The Will County Historical Society exists so that people and organizations may be connected to the rich history of Will County, Illinois.

History

In 1837, the town of Lockport was laid out by the Illinois and Michigan Canal commissioners, and an office was constructed and became headquarters for administrative of the waterway. The office played a central role in the design, financing, and construction of the I & M Canal, which connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. The canal extended ninety-six miles from the south branch of the Chicago River near Lake Michigan to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru, and was in operation from 1848 to 1914.

In 1876, a residence for the Canal Superintendent was added to the office building, and a bank vault was installed in the administration office to store canal records. It later served as headquarters for the Sanitary and Ship Canal. In 1972, the building was recognized by the National Park Service with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This building is now operated by the Will County Historical Museum and Research Center, and is part of the I & M Canal National Heritage Area.

Artifacts Collections

We accept artifact donations that pertain to the history of Will County and the Illinois & Michigan Canal.

Research Collections

The Museum's vault houses approximately 50,000 documents, including canal, county, church, and court records; African American Genealogical records; plat maps; architectural surveys; and much more.

Educational Programs

We provide tours of both the Museum and Heritage Village (249 W. 2nd Street, Lockport) for the public and group reservations, which have included Scouts, homeschools, car tours, and more. Contact the Museum for more information, or to set up a tour.

    Facilities

    Along with the Will County Historical Museum, we operate our Heritage Village (249 W. 2nd Street, Lockport). It is a collection of 19th century buildings that were save from demolition and eventually made their way to the present location.

    Performance Areas

    Governance

    The Museum is run by the Will County Historical Society.

    Library

    Access: General Public, Students, Scholars

    Appointment required: No

    Publications

    The Historical Society publishes and mails to members both a quarterly newsletter and publication on a topic of Will County history.

    • Quarterly Newsletter (Available for free at the museum)
    • Quarterly History Publication (Available for sale in our gift shop).

    ADA

    Parking

    Restrooms

    Services

    We provide tours of both the Museum and Heritage Village (249 W. 2nd Street, Lockport) for the public and group reservations, which have included Scouts, homeschools, car tours, and more. Contact the Museum for more information, or to set up a tour.

    Gift Shop

    Group Tours