If You Like Museums

Whether artistic, historical, cultural or scientific, museums feed our minds and souls! Here are a few spots to stop along the Byway that are brimming with history, collections and displays.

We recommend calling or visiting each website for up-to-date information on hours of operation, etc.

Northern Leg of the Byway


The Historic Owen Lovejoy Homestead was a stop for  on the Underground Railroad, and contains a concealed compartment in which escaped slaves could be hidden. 


The Bureau County Historical society invites you to explore the history of the area with two museums and a research library.


The Ottawa Historical & Scouting Heritage Museum was founded to promote and preserve the colorful and proud traditions of Boy Scouting, Girl Scouting and Camp Fire, via exhibition of the past of these organizations with memorabilia from its vast collection. 

Spring Valley

The Spring Valley Historic Association Museum features historic photos and memorabilia of this small town. Spring Valley Historic Museum Association on Facebook


The LaSalle County Historical Society maintains a Museum Campus that features a Canal Warehouse, One Room School House, Heritage Center, Blacksmith Shop, and 1875 Barn. 

Central Leg of the Byway


This river town is home to the Charles Perdew Museum, which showcases the famed duck decoys created by Charles and Edna Perdew. The couple did their wildlife carving and painting from their home and workshop overlooking the Illinois River.  The property is now in the  process of being restored as a memorial to these renowned artists. 


The Weber House and Gardenoffers tours of the storybook Tudor Cottage and the surrounding English Garden.


History buffs will enjoy the many artifacts held at the Streatorland Historical Society.


The Chillicothe Historical Society/Museum features eight rooms of historic artifacts including a large McCulley/Zorro exhibit.


The Rock Island Railroad Museum is a historic depot with running model trains and furnished caboose  - a must for train enthusiasts.


The Caterpillar Visitors Center gives an intriguing insight into the history and innovation of this legendary heavy equipment company.


Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum provides engaging exhibits and activities ideal for families with young children.


Discover Peoria’s vibrant past at the Pettengill-Morron House Museum, the 1868 mansion constructed in the Second Empire architectural style was built for prominent businessman Moses Pettengill (1802-1883).


The John C. Flanagan House Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in viewing the area’s oldest home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Flanagan House was continuously inhabited from 1837 until 1962 when it became part of the Peoria Historical Society. 


The Peoria Riverfront Museum is the largest and best-known museum in town. Here, visitors can explore an array of exhibits from fine art to science and technology. Visitors to the Dome Planetarium can explore the universe.


The Wheels O’ Time Museum is a train and car enthusiast’s paradise, boasting over 20,000 square feet of train cars, classic cars, motorcycles and other vintage vehicles from early 1900s steam-powered to modern muscle cars. 

Southern Leg of the Byway 

Creve Coeur

Fort Crevecoeur Park commemorates French  explorer Robert Rene Cavalier de LaSalle’s presence here on the east bank of the Illinois River in 1680. 


The Canton Area Heritage Center provides a place to showcase artifacts and to capture Canton’s compelling history of almost 200 years, focusing on the industries that have been established in the area over time. 


The Rasmussen Blacksmith Shop/Museum, built in the mid-1830s and in operation until 1969, is one of a few historic blacksmith shops in the entire country in its original location.