McHenry County Historical Museum
A hidden gem, the McHenry County Historical Museum campus includes an 1843 log cabin, an 1895 one-room schoolhouse and an expansive museum - a portion of which is housed the former Union High School building built in 1870. It is one of just three limestone buildings in the county - two of which the county historical society owns! Highlights include a research library with family biographies, interactive exhibits, a flexible programming space with a stage, a speakers' bureau and a historical archive of more than 10,000 items - documented and preserved for future generations.
Backstory and Context
Since 1963 the McHenry County Historical Society has strived to engage and educate current and future generations about the history of their county.
This 501c3, nonprofit organization has an enviable 57-year-old track record of educational, entertainment, resource and preservation contributions. The Society spearheaded efforts at developing a McHenry County Historic Preservation Ordinance in 1990. It undertook the restoration of the 1843 Gannon log cabin, the 1867 Pringle School, 1886 Seneca Town Hall, the 1895 West Harmony School and a 1950 Modern Tourist Cabin.
In 2009 the Society acquired the 1898 Riley Methodist Church – one of seven structures it owns and cares for.
The McHenry County Historical Society & Museum endeavors to be a hub for collection, preservation and educational outreach reflecting McHenry County’s history. Toward that end, we strive to operate with 11 values in mind. They are accessibility, collaboration, integrity, inclusion, innovation, knowledge, leadership, outreach, relevancy, sustainability and stewardship.