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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 The Gem of the Valley (the meaning of "Tiskilwa" in the poetic language of the Potawatomi) 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 370  members. Fewer than half of our members live nearby; the rest are long-distance but supportive friends whom we affectionately call “Tiskilwannabes.”

One of our first activities was to design a logo that emphasizes our unique connection to the local heritage of native peoples as well as the hills that distinguish our area and corn crops so important to the past, present, and future of our community. 

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.


In early 2010, we closed our first museum's 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 35 to as high as 120 guests. Since we have dozens of visitors during other town-wide festivals, our yearly guest-list averages 1,000 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 in both museums. In the Timeline Gallery at Museum on Main, we offer a Special Exhibit which changes three times a year. The diverse showcases there have included work by local photographers, indigenous artifacts, an overview of business memorabilia 1880-1960, and an exhibition of watercolors of local scenes by local artists. 

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 you’ll come to visit soon and experience our museums for yourself.  

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