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Learn, Imagine, and Be Inspired at These St. Charles, Illinois Museums

Even in today's digital age, museums serve as an essential element of any community. They provide a wealth of excellent information - whether it be historical, cultural, or natural. With National Museum Day being on May 18th, this is the perfect time to showcase the one's we have right here in town. Take a look below to see where you can take a deeper dive in learning more about St. Charles and the Fox Valley Community.

Have you ever wondered "How did St. Charles grow into what it is today?" If so, you have to go visit the St. Charles History Museum. Located downtown in the 1928 McCornack Oil Company building, you'll discover over 10,000 photos and over 15,000 artifacts in their collection. They have both temporary and permanent exhibits, including the "The Makings of St. Charles" where you can get an in-depth look at the origins of this town. Before you go, make sure to swing by the Curious Fox Gift Shop, housed inside the museum, to get your very own St. Charles souvenir!

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

The environmental features of St. Charles are a sight to behold. As you explore this town, you'll notice an array of different terrains: prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and more, all featuring their own unique eco-systems. One of the best place to learn more about all of this is at the Hickory Knolls Discovery Center - where you'll have the chance to see it all up-close. They have plenty of trails that wind through their Natural Area, and signage so that you gain knowledge along the way. Inside their Discovery Center, they even offer exhibits with animals such as snakes, turtles, and more, and seasonal and specialty programs to take part in!

Step into Kane County's very own "Little House on the Prairie" with a visit to the Durant-Paterson House Museum. Open on select Sundays from 1pm-4pm, this living history museum will transport you back in time to the 1840's. The museum has since been restored since being built in 1843, complete with furnishings that represent the Victorian era. Throughout the year, keep an eye out for various programs that are held there that will allow you to immerse yourself into certain topics of this time period - both work or play!

Photos Courtesy of the St. Charles Park District

If you're curious to learn what life on the farm is all about, Primrose Farm is the place for you! At this free site, you can witness and take care of many farm animals including goats, cows, and chickens through their animal adventure programs. You can also participate in a variety of farm camps and other specialty programs to further learn about farm life. While you're there, be sure to stop by the Farmstand to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and more - usually open from the beginning of spring through the fall, depending on the weather.

What Topics About St. Charles Interests You the Most?

  • Discovering the History of the Town

  • Learning About the Natural Features

  • Gaining Knowledge on the Culture of the Area

  • Other

Right by the Durant House is where you'll find Pioneer Sholes School - a great way to see exactly what it was like to attend school during the 19th and 20th century. Dating back to 1872, this one-room schoolhouse is open on select Sundays from 1pm-4pm, and is revived and furnished to give visitors, students, and teachers an authentic look at what school was like over 100 years ago. Private tours, school tours, and events are offered, and a full curriculum is available for classes who want to really get the full experience.

Photos Courtesy of the Creek Bend Nature Center

Uncover the wonders of Kane County's ecology at the Creek Bend Nature Center, found at the LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve. Engage with several interactive exhibits they offer, like their woodland, wetland, and prairie biodiversity displays. Explore the center, take a self-guided hike, or participate in any of their upcoming nature programs. Admission is free, so don't miss out on this wonderful opportunity to learn more about Kane County's natural features.

Open to the public from June through August on Tuesdays from 1pm-4pm, you can tour the restored 1850 limestone Greek Revival home known as The Beith House Museum. The Beith House Museum currently serves as a Preservation Study House and headquarters for the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley, whose sites also include the Pioneer Sholes School and the Durant-Peterson House Museum. Here, you can view decorative arts of the mid-19th century, and learn from their educational exhibits such as their outdoor Archeology Box, Gallery of Local Architecture, and many "old house mysteries"!

Take a stroll through history with the Historic Walking Tour on the Travel St. Charles App! This 26-stop tour showcases historical gems, such as the Trolley Line and the Rockewell House, and maps out exactly where each place is located. That way, you can create your route to take, and can travel at your own pace. Each stop has audio and text about each location so that you can acquire more knowledge!

Looking for more self-guided tours to take around St. Charles? Download the Travel St. Charles App and click on the Tours Tab to start your adventure today!


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