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  • Hours &

    Downers Grove Museum
    Wandschneider Park
    831 Maple Avenue
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    (630) 963-1309
    Fax: (630) 963-0496


    Donations Appreciated

    Open Hours
    Monday - Friday 12:00 - 4:00 pm
    Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    *The Museum office is located in the
    Victorian Blodgett house.

    Museum Closings
    1/1, 2/19, 3/30-4/1, 5/28,
    7/4, 9/3 11/22-11/24,
    12/24-12/25, 12/31

    Group Tours
    Please see "Programs" Tab for more information.

    Visiting the Museum

    How to Find Us

    We're easy to find. Downers Grove is located 25 miles west of Chicago, near Interstate Highways 55, 88 and 355. Just follow the brown and white signs posted on major Downers Grove roads to The Museum grounds at Wandschneider Park. We're just 2 1/2 blocks east of Main Street near downtown Downers Grove.

    About the Museum

    The mission of the Downers Grove Museum is to provide educational and leisure opportunities for the community by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting materials that explain and document the history of Downers Grove and its relationship to local, state, regional, national and global history.

    Downers Grove was settled in 1832 by Pierce Downer, a Rutland, Virgnia native. Downer moved to Ellisburg, New York where he met and married his wife, Lucy. They were a farming family and eventually had five children. Downer's son, Stephen, moved to Fort Dearbon in Chicago to help with the construction of a lighthouse. Following the departure of his son, Pierce Downer decided to also move west in the pursuit of a new future. He reached Chicago and eventually traveled down the DuPage River and settled in an area that would become Downers Grove.

    Permanent Exhibits

    Pioneer Blodgett House

    The Pioneer Blodgett House was built by Israel and Avis Blodgett in 1846 and is one of the oldest houses in Downers Grove. Israel and Avis came to Downers Grove in 1835 from Amherst, Massachusetts. The family first settled in a small, one-room log cabin while Israel worked as the town's blacksmith. In 1846, the family resided in the pioneer home that is part of the Museum Campus. The members of the Blodgett family held abolitionist beliefs, and it is believed that the Blodgett's provided assistance to runaway slaves during the Civil War era. The house is currently closed due to renovation.
    Victorian Blodgett House

    Victorian Blodgett House

    The Victorian Blodgett house was the home of Israel and Avis's youngest son, Charles, and was built in 1892. Charles was a member of the DuPage County Board of Supervisors and was instrumental in the development of the roadway system in Downers Grove. He lived in the home with his wife, Emma, and their four sons. The permanent exhibits in the Victorian Blodgett house illustrate life in Downers Grove in the 1890's. The house also contains the offices of Museum staff, archives, collection storage and a research library.

    Victorian Living: Explore period style rooms in the Victorian Blodgett house that represent what life was like in Downers Grove in the 1890's! Rooms include a front drawing room, back sitting room, kitchen, child's bedroom, and an adult bedroom.

    Downers Grove Hall of Fame: Located on the second floor of the Victorian Blodgett house, learn about notable figures who have connections to Downers Grove!

    Homestead Barn

    The Barn is home to our temporary exhibits as well as a permanent exhibit celebrating the history of the Downers Grove Fire Department, including their 1920's original fire engine.
    Pumper Fire Truck

    1921 White Pumper Fire Truck

    On permanent display is the first motorized fire truck the Downers Grove Fire Department owned. Learn about the different parts of the truck and fun facts about the early days of the Department. Try on one of our firefighter outfits and take a picture with the truck!
  • Programs

    Museum Programs

    The Downers Grove Museum offers a variety of year-round educational and entertaining programming for all ages. Museum programs include exhibit-related workshops and events, craft workshops, holiday programs, and annual free events. Participants can explore local history while interacting with knowledgeable staff and volunteers.


    Group Programs

    Bring your group to the Downers Grove Museum! Programs are 1 or 2 hours in length depending on the program and can be tailored for adult and kid groups. Call 630-963-1309 to book your program today!

    Museum Methods: 2 hour program, $40 for up to 10 people; $3 per person over 10

    Get an inside look at the Downers Grove Museum while learning how museums preserve and exhibit their collections! Find out what happens after an object is donated and learn about object handling, cataloging, and preservation.

    Archaeology 101: 2 hour program, $40 for up to 10 people; $3 per person over 10

    Do you 'dig' the past? Then come explore the techniques archaeologists use to uncover the past at the Downers Grove Museum!

    Victorian House Walk: 2 hour program, $40 for up to 15 people; $3 per person over 10

    Enjoy a guided walking tour of the Victorian homes along Maple Avenue while learning about Victorian architectural styles. Please dress for the weather.

    Go Behind-the-Scenes! : 1 hour program, $25 for up to 10 people; $2 per person over 10

    Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the DG Museum! Follow the Museum Curator through public and private museum spaces learning about our collections and exhibits.

    Main Street Cemetery Walk: 1 hour program, $25 for up to 15 people; $2 per person over 10

    Enjoy a stroll through Downers Grove's historic Main Street Cemetery while learning about some of the prominent people buried there. Please dress for the weather.

    Victorian Downers Grove: 1 hour program, $25 for up to 10 people; $2 per person over 10

    Explore what life was like in Downers Grove in the 1890's! Take a tour of the historic Victorian Blodgett House and complete a trivia scavenger hunt.

    Group tours

    Bring your class or group to the Downers Grove Museum! Learn about the pivotal beginnings of Downers Grove through the story of the Blodgett family. Learn about settling in Downers Grove, interacting with local Native Americans, and living in the Pioneer and Victorian periods. During your guided tour, you'll visit the foot print of the Blodgett family cabin, discuss the 1850's and the Pioneer Blodgett House, and learn about the 1890's inside of the Victorian Blodgett House. Tours are one-hour in length. Call the Museum at 630-963-1309 to book your tour today!

    School Tour

    School Tours: One class per one-hour tour, $45 per class

    Tuesday - Friday : 9 am - 1 pm

    Group Tours: $25 for up to 10 people; $2 per person over 10

    Tuesday - Friday: 1 - 4 pm

    Saturday: 10am - 1pm

  • Current Exhibit

    Rotating exhibitions are displayed in the Museum Annex, and are open to view during Public Tour Hours Monday through Friday from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


    MARCH 21 - AUGUST 11, 2018

    Take a trip through the history of vacations, tourism and leisure from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. This exhibit explores how Downers Grove residents and tourists who visited the village planned, enjoyed and remembered their travels.


    Hearth & Home: The Significance of Downers Grove's Historic Houses

    Exhibit Hours: Monday - Friday (12-4PM) | Saturday (10AM-4PM)

    Houses have been at the center of Downers Grove residents' lives since the 1830s, providing places to eat, sleep, work, play and bond with family. The way that D.G. residents lived in their homes have change drastically, but this core purpose has remained the same. Hearth and Home explore the histories of houses built between the 1830s and 1930s and the families, past and present, who turned them into homes.

    Exhibition & Opening Reception: September 8, 2018 | 1-3PM | DG Museum

    Enjoy refreshments and meet with Museum staff who curated the exhibit. Local experts will be on site to answer questions about historic home research, recognition programs and preservation.

    Permanent Displays

    Victorian Blodgett House

    Victorian Living

    Explore period style rooms in the Victorian Blodgett house that represent what life was like in Downers Grove in the 1890's! Rooms include a front drawing room, back sitting room, kitchen, child's bedroom, and an adult bedroom.

    Downers Grove Hall of Fame

    Located on the second floor of the Victorian Blodgett house, learn about notable figures who have connections to Downers Grove!

  • Research

    Local History Resources

    Researchers interested in Downers Grove history are welcome at the Downers Grove Museum. The Museum offers a Public Research Library that contains birth and death certificates, cemetery surveys, census records, telephone directories, school yearbooks, genealogies, and newspaper articles. The Downers Grove Museum's photographic collection is also available to view upon request. Resources and access to the Public Research Library is available by appointment only. Please call 630-963-1309 to make an appointment.

    For individuals unable to visit the Downers Grove Museum, or those in need of research assistance, you may submit a research request to the Museum Curator, Zach Bishop, by phone at 630-963-1309 or by email at A research fee of $10 will be assessed for research inquiries submitted to our Curator. Please allow up to two weeks for a response to a research request.

    Associated Research Fees

    Document photo copies = $0.25/copy
    Digital Photo scans = $1/photo
    Research Request = $10

    *Research Disclaimer* -

    Research request fees are non-refundable and applicable regardless of research results. The fee covers the cost of our Curator's time conducting the research and is not based on the outcome of that research. Payment of research request fees is due to the Museum prior to research taking place.


    Museum Collections

    The Downers Grove Museum is home to thousands of objects pertaining to Downers Grove history. The Museum contains a large textile collection of clothing, uniforms, and quilts, an archival collection of photos, books, letters, and documents, and a three dimensional object collection containing furniture, memorabilia, dinnerware, toys, and tools.

    Dining Set Donation

    This beautiful dining set was donated by a Blodgett Family relative who lives in Georgia. The set dates to the early 1910's and includes a table with eight chairs, side board and china cabinet. The family also generously donated a sofa, and pair of side tables that date to the same time period.


    Donating to the Museum

    What does The Museum collect?

    It is the mission of the Downers Grove Museum to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret materials that explain and document the history of Downers Grove and its relationship to local, state, regional and national history. All objects accepted into the collections must have a direct connection to Downers Grove, or be able to help tell the story of the community.

    How can you donate to The Museum?

    If you have something that you think is of interest, contact the Museum by calling 630-963-1309 or by visiting the Museum. The staff will be able to tell you whether or not the object(s) would be considered for it's collection.

    What happens to donated objects?

    Donated objects accepted by The Museum are given one of three designations: Permanent Collection, Education Collection, or Property. Items are placed in the appropriate category based on a variety of factors, including provenance, intended use, availability, and condition.

    Are object donations tax deductible?

    YES! Under the terms of the Federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, charitable gifts of appreciated property are fully deductible. Contributions of $250 and over will require a receipt for all donations, including property and cash.

    Does The Museum staff appraise objects for donation?

    NO. The value of an object donation must be appraised by a qualified person. The staff is prohibited from providing appraisals of the monetary value of materials offered as gifts, brought in for identification, or submitted for any other purpose. Therefore, the donor is responsible for obtaining the services of an appraiser.

  • Want to experience what it's like to work at a museum?

    Become a volunteer!

    The Downers Grove Museum is always looking for enthusiastic individuals to join our team. Opportunities are available in the following areas:

    Collections: Go behind the scenes and work directly with the objects

    Exhibits: Help staff curate and install an exhibit

    Programs: Assist in DGM programs and summer camps

    Tours: Brush up on local history and give tours of the DGM Campus

    Research: Help answer research inquiries and conduct exhibit research

    If you're interested in becoming part of the awesome DGM team, contact the Museum at 630-963-1309.

  • Downers Grove Historic Homes Program

    The Downers Grove Museum and the Downers Grove Historical Society are proud to present the Downers Grove Historic Home Program. This program aims to preserve the history and integrity of Downers Groves' homes and educate the community about research and preservation. The application packet below describes the requirements that need to be met in order for a home to be recognized by the Museum and the Historical Society and for a plaque to be purchased

    The Downers Grove Historic Home Program is not affiliated with the Village of Downers Grove's Historic Landmark Program. The Downer Grove Historic Home Program is strictly honorary and does not limit the homeowner from making alterations to the home. Additionally, the Program does not qualify homeowners for any type of financial incentives such as property tax assessment freezes or tax rebates.

    Application packets for the program can be downloaded from the link below or picked up at the Downers Grove Museum during open hours. Inquiries about the program can be sent to

    Downers Grove Historic Homes Application Packet

    Photos of already recognized homes can be seen on the Downers Grove Museum's Facebook page. This album will be updated as new homes are recognized.

    The Downers Grove Historic Homes Program is operated in partnership between the Downers Grove Museum and the Downers Grove Historical Society.

  • Museum Birthday Parties

    museum birthday party

    Mix up the traditional birthday with a party at the Downers Grove Museum! Choose a unique and fun theme geared specifically towards your child's interests. Each party includes a themed craft or activity and time for opening gifts and eating cake. Parties must be booked at least two weeks in advance.

    Party Themes for Ages 6 & up

    American Girl Doll: Have your guests bring their dolls for a doll-themed craft or activity. The craft or activity can be customized to your child's doll.

    Fairy Tales: Hear a selection of classic Grimm fairy tales including Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella and complete a tale-themed craft.

    Alice in Wonderland: Compete in an Alice-themed obstacle course for a fantasy-filled party!

    Historic Games: Spend your birthday playing classic games like marbles, hop-scotch, sack races, horse-shoes and more!

    Firefighter: Learn about the Museum's 1920's fire truck and dress up in fire gear before enjoying cake and presents!

    Victorian Tea Party: Dress up in Victorian-attire and play Victorian-era parlor games before enjoying tea with your cake! Museum will provide dress up clothes, tea set and linens.

    Party Themes for Ages 8 & up

    Time Lord: Have an adventure with a certain bow tie and fez wearing master of time and his big blue box!

    Archaeology: Do you 'dig' the past? Then explore the techniques archaeologists use to study the past with this hands-on party!

    Aviation: Be a master of the skies! Learn about Downers Grove's connection to aviation history then build and race different types of paper airplanes.

    Be a Pioneer! : Learn about pioneer-era Downers Grove and test your hand at pioneer skills like candle-making or butter-making!

    War Time: Are you a military history enthusiast? Then pick between American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, or Vietnam-themed activities for this history-filled party.

    Scavenger Hunt: Compete in teams to finish a Downers Grove history-themed scavenger hunt in the Victorian Blodgett house!

    Fees for 2 Hour Party

    # In Party Fee
    Up to 10 $100 R/ $150 NR
    Each Additional (max 5) $5


    Call the Downers Grove Museum at 630-963-1309 to book your party today!


    Wandschneider Park is a beautiful setting for your next special occasion. Complete with gazebo, gardens, walkways and open space, the Museum Campus offers a private sanctuary of nature and history in one. For more information on events and rentals, contact 630-963-1309.

  • 831 Maple Ave, Downers Grove, IL

    Pauline Wandschneider was a long time resident of Downers Grove and was the founder and leader of the Downers Grove Historical Society. She dedicated her life to collecting, preserving, displaying and interpreting the history of Downers Grove. In addition to this, she also aided in finding a permanent home for all of these materials. In 1977, in honor of her contribution, the Park District named the site of the Park District museum Wandschneider Park. Pauline died in 1993, but the park carries on her name and contribution to the Downers Grove community.

    This 4-acre park contains the Downers Grove Park District Museum, including the 1892 Blodgett House (main museum and offices), the 1846 Blodgett House, and the Annex Building, which houses special collections and featured exhibitions. Other amenities include a gazebo, Wildflower Walk perimeter pathway, and a Heritage Vegetable Garden.

    Wandschneider Park


    • Drinking Fountain
    • Guided Tours
    • Natural Area
    • Picnic Tables
    • Gazebo
    • Wildflower Walk Gravel Pathway
    • Heritage Vegetable Garden

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