Brief History of the Tiskilwa Historical Society
We are a small group with big ideas, and we hope to continue to grow in accomplishments as well as membership. By preserving the past and honoring the present, we want to contribute to the future of our little village in the valley, Tiskilwa, a gem with many sparkling facets.
Since January 2006, we’ve grown from a small gathering of eight people sitting around a kitchen table to discuss start-up ideas into a thriving organization with more than 300 members. About half of our members live nearby; the rest are long-distance but supportive friends, whom we affectionately call “Tiskilwannabes.”
By August 2006, we already owned our museum building on Main Street, a gift from the Board of Trustees of Arispie Township. With that stroke of good fortune, our Museum on Main began. By early 2007, we’d begun offering monthly programs to help tell the story of own local history as well as our citizens’ contributions and experiences in the larger world.
One of our first activities was to design a logo that emphasizes our unique connection to the local Native American heritage, as well as hills that distinguish our area and corn crops so important to the past, present, and future of our community.
When our Museum on Main first opened its doors in August 2006 during our village’s celebration of Pow Wow Days, more than 200 visitors flooded our tiny building on that weekend alone! And that museum was open every single Saturday – rain, shine, snow, heat, cold – from August 5, 2006 until February 1, 2009.
At that time, we closed the old doors for six weeks in order to pack and move to our new facility, the former United Methodist Church, also on Main Street, and also a gift – this time from the United Methodist Conference of Peoria. Our Grand Opening was on March 21, 2010, when Mother Nature greeted us on that first day of spring with a snowstorm!
Throughout our existence, we’ve continued to welcome a few visitors each Saturday and scores more during town festivals and special museum events. Our turnout for monthly programs ranges from 40 to as high as 120 guests. Since we have dozens of visitors during other town-wide festivals, our yearly guest-list averages 1,400 visitors! Come on over to Tiskilwa and see what all the fuss is about!
Once a month, we continue to add donated items to our permanent displays, both upstairs and down. In the Timeline Gallery, we offer a Special Exhibit which changes three times a year. The diverse showcases there have included local Native American artifacts, an overview of Tiskilwa’s commercial memorabilia 1880-1960, and an exhibition of watercolors of local scenes
A warm and welcoming atmosphere is evident the minute you step in the door. Parents need not nag their children with a constant barrage of “Don’t touch!” warnings because everything that is not under glass is intended to be picked up and played with or examined. We hope that you’ll come to visit soon and experience it for yourself.