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

The Campaign for theMcLean County Museum of History

The Museum's excellence has been apparent for years; it must not be allowed to slip away.

Craig C. Alexander
President, McLean County Museum of History
Co-chair, Extending Excellence Campaign


A mother brings her children to the McLean County Museum of History one Saturday after her fifth-grade son bragged about getting to load a covered wagon during a field trip. The woman watches as her son helps his little sister explore a digital map that shows the path of different immigrant groups who settled in McLean County. As her son eventually finds his way back to the hands-on covered wagon, the mother helps him load sacks of flour and salt as she tells him about his grandfather who arrived in the United States with one suitcase and a $100 bill.

Getting There

Board members and community leaders have collaborated to launch Extending Excellence: The Campaign for the Museum of History which will raise $3 million to meet four goals. Click on each to learn more.

New Exhibit — Challenges, Choices and Change: The People of McLean County will benefit from 20 years of new research and artifacts to better interpret the stories of how people came here, settled and worked to create a successful community. A new gallery will illustrate McLean County’s key role in electing Abraham Lincoln as president and celebrate our new populations that enhance local culture.

Digital Initiative — Exhibits and programming will embrace new technology to tell our story. Mini-theaters, SMART boards, touch-screen discovery panels, enhanced online exhibits, curated research collections and online access to materials will enrich the visitor and student experience.

Education Programs Endowment — Capacity will significantly increase in order to meet the growing demand for more educational programs serving students and senior citizens both inside and outside of the Museum’s historic walls.

Landscape Upgrades — The Museum has long dedicated efforts to preserve its American Renaissance architecture that is the initial attraction for 30 percent of visitors. New landscaping will foster a more welcoming environment and to maintain important downtown green space.

The Work We Do Matters

The Work We Do Matters…

History is valuable, and a thriving community needs to understand the importance of place. When someone you know loses their memory, we feel a sense of loss for them. How much greater is that loss if it were to happen to an entire community? The Museum is committed to serving as the collective memory of McLean County’s past.

The Museum Operates According to the Highest National Standards

The Museum Operates According to the Highest National Standards…

Less than three percent of museums nationwide achieve accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. As an accredited museum, we join a distinguished group of the finest museums, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

We engage people with learning opportunities at all life stages

We engage people with learning opportunities at all life stages…

People of all ages living, working and studying in McLean County can benefit from the Museum’s wide-ranging resources and opportunities. Families can be found enjoying our galleries and hands-on Discovery Room, while students explore exhibits and access our first-rate library/archives and classroom programs. The Museum also supports mutually beneficial relationships with hundreds of professionals and retirees who volunteer 17,500 hours each year. For our oldest citizens, the Senior Reminiscence outreach program enhances the lives and memories of seniors in assisted living residences

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.

Campaign Goals: Extending Excellence

Campaign Expenses