Lake County Discovery Museum

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Lake County Discovery Museum
Lake County Discovery Museum is located in Illinois
Lake County Discovery Museum
Location within Illinois
Established 1976
Location 27277 Forest Preserve Road, Wauconda, Illinois, 60084
Coordinates 42°15′36″N 88°06′27″W / 42.26007°N 88.10737°W / 42.26007; -88.10737
Type History Museum
Visitors 45,000 per year[1]
Nearest car park On site (no charge)

Lake County Discovery Museum is an interactive museum of history, art, and popular culture located in Wauconda, Illinois. The museum, established in 1976 and sited in Lakewood Forest Preserve as part of the larger Lake County Forest Preserve District, is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and presenting the history and culture of Lake County, Illinois.[2] The museum houses among its collections the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, the largest public collection of postcards in the United States.[3]


Originally a group of pre-American Civil War farm properties, the land and buildings which surround the museum were part of the Lakewood Farms, an estate created after 1937 by Chicago contractor Malcolm Boyle. Boyle acquired area plots over time, gradually erecting seventeen structures which briefly served as a working dairy farm, but now serve as offices, libraries, storage, exhibit and gallery spaces for the museum and its collections.[4]

Friends of the Lake County Discovery Museum began gathering support in 1971[5] and after the Farms complex was acquired, the museum was launched in 1976.[6] Six years later the donation of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives brought five semi-truck trailers of postcards and related files to the museum.[7] As the museum's collections and archives continue to grow, the museum plans a move to newer, larger facilities which it will share with Preserve District offices in Libertyville.[1]


Lake County History Archive[edit]

The museum hosts Lake County History Archives (including archives of other conservation areas like Ryerson Woods[8]), a collection on nearby Fort Sheridan (a former U.S. Army base nearby) and records of a Lake County-based American Civil War regiment of Illinois troops, the 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The archives also holds the Amet/Essany Studios Collection, covering the career and works of Waukegan native Edward Amet, a pioneer in 35mm motion picture projection. In addition to a compilation of Lake County one-room school narratives, the museum also preserves a selection of materials relating to Zion, Illinois social and civic organization for minorities, the Booker T. Washington Club.[9]

Curt Teich Postcard Archives[edit]

As part of its permanent collection, the museum hosts the largest public collection of postcards in the U.S, the Curt Teich Postcard Archives.[2] Curt Teich and Company was a Chicago-based printer of postcards, posters, stationery, and maps from its establishment in 1898 until its sale in 1978. The company produced millions of images in the postcard form, and kept reference copies of each image, along with original production notes and materials. During World War II, Curt Teich and Company produced over three million maps for the U.S Army map service, including 100% of all invasion maps produced. After the business was sold, son Ralph Teich donated the entire Teich collection, contained in five semi-truck trailers to the new Discovery Museum.[7]


In addition to permanent collections, the museum often hosts special exhibitions with relevance to the Lake County culture and past. Recent exhibitions have included a gallery of Ansel Adams photography[10][11] and the Blues musical form.[12]


  1. ^ a b Alderman, Amy (June 1, 2011). "Lake County Discovery Museum starts plans for Libertyville move". TribLocal Libertyville. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b McGiver, Ian (2005). "Lake County Discovery Museum". The Electronic Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Abderholden, Frank (April 27, 2012). "Collector donates 35,500 postcards to the Discovery Museum". Lake County News-Sun. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Your Forest Preserves: Lakewood". Lake County Forest Preserve. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Mehrer, Jim (2006). "Curt Teich Postcard Archives". Jim Mehrer's Postal History. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Lake County Discovery Museum". Lake County Forest Preserve District. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Heather (March–April 2012). "The Postcard Factory: Curt Teich and the Golden Age of Postcards". Image File. Libertyville, IL: Lake County Forest Preserve District. 18 (3/4): 4–9. 
  8. ^ "About Ryerson Woods". Friends of Ryerson Woods. 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  9. ^ Lake County History Archive (brochure). Lake County Forest Preserve District. 2012. pp. 1–6. 
  10. ^ "Lake County Discovery Museum Exhibits Ansel Adams' Works". Libertyville Patch. September 14, 2011. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  11. ^ Liebenson, Donald (December 1, 2011). "Lake County a natural fit with Ansel Adams". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  12. ^ J.T., Morand (February 29, 2012). "Lake County Discovery Museum gets ‘The Blues’ from local collector". Chicago Sun-Times. Sun-Times Media. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 

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