Street Address
360 Park St.
Elgin, IL 60120
Mailing Address
360 Park St.
Elgin, IL 60120
phone: 847-742-4248
Wednesday through Saturday, 12-4 p.m., March through December. Closed January and February.
$3 adults, $1 students, under 6 free
Museum Type(s)
Elizabeth Marston, Museum Director


Pack James Gifford's wagon and visit his log cabin in early Elgin. Hear the watch ticking at the Elgin National Watch factory, sit in an Elgin Road Race car, and feel the beat of the Hiawatha Pageant.

Old Main is alive with two floors of exhibits reflecting Elgin's rich past.


Founded in 1961, the Elgin Area Historical Society rehabbed Old Main to create the Elgin Area Historical Museum. Old Main was the original building for Elgin Academy, a private, independent prep school. The school donated the building to the City of Elgin who partnered with the Historical Society to fix up the building in the 1980s. The pitched roof was put back along with a new lighted cupola. The paint was removed from the brick and the windows replaced. The interior was kept close to the orignial, but with many of the classrooms eliminated in order to have more sizable gallery space. The building was opened as a museum in 1987.

Artifacts Collections

Elgin National Watch Company, Courier News negatives, Elgin, IL industry and business, Hiawatha Pageant, local Elgin history.


Non-profit membership organization


Access: General Public, Students, Scholars

Appointment required: Yes


Quarterly newsletter


Wheelchair Accessible