155 Houston St
Batavia, IL 60510
March through Thanksgiving
Sunday - Monday, Wednesday, Friday - Saturday2 PM - 4 PM
or by appointment
Suggested Donation:$1
Gift Shop
Chris Winter, Curator


Local history exhibits housed in an 1854 C. B. & Q. Railroad Depot. Permanent exhibits include railroad history, manufacture of windmills and a brief stay by Mary Todd Lincoln at Bellevue Place.

The interior of the Depot is preserved much as it looked when passengers stopped at the window to seek information or to buy a ticket for a ride to a nearby town.

Batavia railroad history comes alive in a permanent exhibit about the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (est. 1850), the Chicago & North Western Railroad (est. 1872) and the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Electric Line (est. 1902). Three railroad lines served Batavia freight and passenger service until the mid-1900’s when the automobile became the transportation of choice. On display are many railroad artifacts, photos and ticket agent office. A detailed section on the telegraph system and it’s role in railroad history includes live telegraph keys where visitors can try their hand at sending messages using Morse Code.

The bed and the dresser on display in the Lincoln Room are from the bedroom to which Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the slain president, was assigned when she was a patient at Bellevue Place from May 20 to September 11, 1875. Other pieces of the period complete the room. For more on Mrs. Lincoln's stay in Batavia, see Mrs. Lincoln and Bellevue Place.

A life-sized statue of a Early Woodlands Indian startles many visitors as they descend the stairs to the lover level exhibit entitled Little Town in a Big Woods. Several Indian tribes inhabited Illinois before it became a state. By 1818 when the area won statehood, most of the Native Americans had moved away. Four tribes remained in northern Illinois. One of these, the Pottawatomies had a camp south of Batavia and another camp several miles to the west. During the Black Hawk War, Chief Black Hawk tried to unite these Native Americans against the white settlers. Pottawatomie Chiefs Waubonsie and Shabbona, convinced their tribe to side with the whites.


The mission of the Batavia Depot Museum is to collect, preserve, study, interpret, and exhibit materials which explain and document the history of Batavia and its relationship to state and local history. All items collected should relate to the purpose of increasing and enriching public knowledge and provide leisure and educational opportunities for the community



The name Gustafson Research Center was chosen to honor John Gustafson and his brothers and sisters who were the first to see the vision of a viable historical society and who began gathering artifacts and cataloging them to preserve Batavia's heritage.

For a complete listing of Collections at the Gustafson Research Center, please go to our website and click on the Collections tab at the top of this page, or the link at the bottom of this page.

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: No


Wheelchair Accessible




We have many special gift items to choose from. See our website for an order form to print from your home printer.

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