Learning opportunities emerge at the Jacksonville Area Museum


Kate Alexander, Staff Writer

Jacksonville is a town filled with history. Believe it or not this small town was once swarming with people and businesses. There are so many stories that have been uncovered over the years, and the Jacksonville Area Museum is a great place to learn about them.

 The museum is located at 301 East State Street in Downtown Jacksonville and is open from 10am-4pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday. There are currently eight exhibits including Jacksonville Industries, Retail Businesses, Abraham Lincoln Connections, Area Industry, Medicine, MacMurray College History, and Illinois Archaeology. Each exhibit holds tons of information about Jacksonville’s past and how it relates to present day Jacksonville. It shows how Jacksonville has changed over time and what has stayed the same. 

Immediately after entering the museum, there is the Jacksonville Industry exhibit. The exhibit is filled with information on how Jacksonville industrialized. There are details about one of the first businesses that came to Jacksonville, J. Capps & Sons Ltd. and how the business attracted people to the area. It also covers other major businesses of Jacksonville’s past, including Eli Bridge Company, Mrs. Trucker’s Food, and Bound to Stay Bound Books which is still in business today. 










Directly across from the Jacksonville Industry Exhibit has history on the opening of the Illinois Institution  for the Education of the Blind, now ISVI, the Illinois Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb, now ISD, the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane, Illinois College, and some of the first churches of Jacksonville. 













The next exhibit is the Medicine Exhibit. The Medicine Exhibit contains information on some of the doctors that had careers in Jacksonville. Dr. Greene Vardiman Black is known as “The Father of Modern Dentistry” and wrote many dental textbooks in Jacksonville. The museum contains dental equipment from the time of Dr. Black’s career. The other parts of the exhibit feature other doctors as well and give a summary of their achievements and careers. 













The next exhibit is the MacMurray Hall. The exhibit teaches about the evolution of the college. Including how it started as a women’s only college in 1893 to how when the college welcomed men in 1955, and lastly how the college operated before its closing. There are plenty of pictures and artifacts throughout this part of the museum that make the information come to life. 













There are lots of exhibits that one can explore at the Jacksonville Area Museum and the museum is hoping to have even more coming soon! There are a lot of important details about how Jacksonville came to be and many can be revealed at the Jacksonville Area Museum!