200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428


A woman and her 10-year-old granddaughter share an interactive experience in the Museum’s new state-of-the-art exhibit. They laugh together after a pair of antique roller skates inspires the woman to share a funny story of when she worked one summer as a car hop waitress. The girl later shows her grandmother how to use a touchscreen panel as they explore Abraham Lincoln’s political path through McLean County.


Install a new, updated permanent exhibit that reaches increasingly diverse audiences and offers interactive experiences for different learning styles.

Challenges, Choices and Change: The People of McLean County – The new, highly interactive, 5,000-square-foot permanent exhibit will benefit from 20 years of new research and artifacts to tell more complete and compelling stories of how and why people came here, settled and worked to create a successful community.

Lincoln Gallery– The new gallery will present McLean County’s key role in making Abraham Lincoln president. Lincoln has major appeal for history fans and tourists. Visitors who initially enter the Museum for the Lincoln experience will walk away with a better understanding of McLean County’s place in the nation’s larger story.

Technology– Installations will use new technology to engage visitors, inviting people to delve much deeper into areas that specifically interest them. Upgrades will also allow our curators and educators to offer fresh programs/themes within the permanent exhibit. New technology will include video mini-theaters, SMART boards for classroom presentations, touchscreen discovery panels, smartphone apps for interactive learning, digital photo displays, online access and audio enhancements

Explore . . .

At the heart of the campaign is the new permanent exhibit Challenges, Choices and Change: The People of McLean County.

The exhibit will incorporate new research and new technologies to tell the story of how people came here, settled and worked to create communities like those they had left behind. It will be heavily utilized by school groups and will tell a more complete story of the people of McLean County and the community’s place in history. The new exhibit and technological upgrades will also allow the Museum to update information as new populations continue to settle and thrive in Central Illinois, facing their own modern-day Challenges, Choices and Change

Lincoln . . .

Illinois tourism statistics indicate 1.5 million people visited sites associated with Abraham Lincoln in 2011. His legacy and continued global influence in modern times not only

attract new audiences, but Lincoln has inspired a new kind of voracious history fan who seeks out new experiences. Considering Lincoln’s intimate relationships with Bloomington and McLean County, it is clear the future Lincoln Gallery will be a welcome addition to the Museum.

Interact . . .

New interactive technologies will help visitors investigate and learn from stories of our past. Not only does this create a more personalized museum experience, it also expands our ability to deliver important information without taking up precious floor space. For example, new touch screen discovery panels will enable visitors to further explore the particular people, objects, and themes that they find most interestin

Your commitment is needed to extend the Museum’s legacy of excellence . . .

For more than a century, the Museum has successfully used artifacts and stories of past people to connect different generations and reflect on our heritage of hopes, triumphs and failures. Your support will dramatically enhance our ability to continue this mission. With increasingly diverse audiences and fundamental changes in 21st century learning, we must strive together in the present to preserve the past in order to shape the future. Help us ensure that the heritage of McLean County will continue to play a vital role in community life.

For Updated Permanent Exhibits:

Introduction                                                                                      $22,000                                                                                           
Lincoln Gallery
Politics Gallery
Work Gallery
People Gallery
Farming Gallery
Total $1,200,000