Want to know about Downers Grove history or genealogy? The first thing you should do is visit the Downers Grove Park District Museum.

The museum and research center are inside the old Blodgett home. The home sits on a wide green space filled with old trees, flowers, brick walks and some picnic benches in the back corner of the yard. Visitors can enjoy the quiet surroundings and beautiful scenery while enjoying lunch.

When I visited on Thursday I had the opportunity to sit next to a museum volunteer who was working on various projects. We had a very nice conversation about Downers Grove research and I learned a lot about many of the indexing projects happening all over the township. Cemeteries are being indexed and plot maps created so they can be viewed online; Downers Grove Reporter obituaries have been indexed; a huge collection of old newspaper photos are being viewed, sorted and the individuals identified where possible. So many things. I also learned about resources available around the township for genealogy and house history research.

Thursday is also a day when a group of volunteers gathers in the basement of the Blodgett home to go through all those newspaper photos to try to identify the individuals. Around 10:30 they break and gather for coffee upstairs before getting back to work.

The research available in the museum ranges from township history to individual genealogies, Centennial House histories, and many topics between A and Z. The research room has two large bookshelves filled with DuPage County and Downers Grove books and periodicals. There are also photo collections of the township from years ago.

The museum staff is very helpful and available. If you have not explored this amazing and possibly overlooked resource I encourage you to check them out.

The museum is located in Wandschneider Park, 831 Maple Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515. Research hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Museum tours are given Sunday – Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Group tours are available by appointment only. For more information contact the museum at (630) 963-1309.

 

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