Midwest Museum of Natural History

category : Museums
Midwest Museum of Natural History The MMNH Mission is to inspire an appreciation for the great diversity of the natural environment & human culture through education and recreation, and it's vision is to be a world class destination for guests and the ultimate environmental and cultural resource for educators and the community.

HISTORY OF THE MUSEUM - The renovated home of the Midwest Museum of Natural History has been known by long-time area residents as the Sycamore Community Center. This grand building has a much longer history, predating the days of the Community Center when the building was used for an entirely different purpose.

In 1875 the structure was built as the home of the Universalist Church in Sycamore. The appearance was quite different from what we know today, but the sharp pitch of the center roof and the castles crenellation where the steeple used to be are still recognizable.

By 1927, the church congregation had outgrown the space and built what is now the Federated Church building just down the street. The City of Sycamore purchased the old church and provided the first of several renovations to create the Sycamore Community Center. The $100,000 renovation, in addition to the new front, included a bowling alley and a swimming pool in the basement.

The next renovation took place in the early 1950s when the pool was filled in and a Memorial Room was created to meet the needs of many service organizations. This is the state most Sycamore residents recall when they think of the Community Center, which served many functions over the next 50 years.

At the turn of the new millennium, the Community Center found itself in dire need of a face lift with much of the building falling into disarray. Sycamore residents banded together to find a way to save the historic building, which led to the opportunity to create the Midwest Museum of Natural History.

In February 2004, this 128-year-old building was overhauled once again with a top to bottom 1.2 million dollar renovation. This included the creation of the main exhibit hall, a meeting/activity room, the Discovery Den, classrooms, offices, collection storage, and a new roof and climate controls, to help preserve the museum specimens.

Admission: Adults: $6 Children (2-12): $5 Seniors (62+): $5 Wednesdays: FREE
Hours: Tues - Sat: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Address: 425 W State Street Sycamore, IL 60178
Phone: 815-895-9777
Our Email:

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