In 1915, the Old Settlers Union made a motion to organize a “historical society for the purpose of collecting relics and valuable information of all kinds pertaining to the history of Madison County.” The Madison County Historical Society was formally organized in 1916, but remained inactive until 1922, when the new charter aimed to “stimulate a general interest in the history of Madison County – to encourage historical research and investigation, and to collect and preserve all forms of data bearing upon the history of Madison County.”
In 1923, the Madison County Board of Supervisors set aside the courthouse’s grand jury room for the society’s historical collections. This was the beginning of the Madison County Historical Museum and Archival Library.
In 1963, the Society purchased the Weir House at 715 North Main in Edwardsville. After restoration of the house, the collection was moved from the courthouse, and the museum opened in the Weir House on November 1, 1964. The collecting of artifacts, documents, and books continued.
The one-story library building, dedicated March 3, 2002, was made possible through state grants secured by Illinois State Senator Evelyn Bowles and fundraising efforts of the Madison County Historical Society.
Museum staff and volunteers provide guided tours of the eight rooms and basement of the Weir House and care for the collection of artifacts. At the Archival Library, staff and volunteers assist researchers and work to preserve the collection of books, papers, maps, and photographs.
Friends of the Museum are a support organization founded in 1965 after the purchase of the Weir House. The Friends serve the Madison County Historical Society as volunteers at the Museum and assist with fundraising. The Historical Museum and Archival Library are open to the public Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. No admission is charged.
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