Midwest Museum of Natural History

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Midwest Museum of Natural History
Established 2004 (2004)
Location 425 West State Street (Rt 64)
Sycamore, Illinois
Coordinates 41°59′21″N 88°41′22″E / 41.989167°N 88.68944°E / 41.989167; 88.68944
Type Local history
Website www.mmnh.org

The Midwest Museum of Natural History is a 501c3 organization located in Sycamore, Illinois. In 1875, the structure was built as the home of the Universalist Church in Sycamore. In the 1920s the building underwent dramatic changes, becoming the Sycamore Community Center, complete with basketball courts, a swimming pool, and hip hangout, Teen Town. 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 exhibit halls, classrooms, offices, collection storage, and a new roof and climate controls to help preserve Museum specimens.


The Museum's primary exhibits consist of dioramas depicting the natural biomes of North America and Africa. Dioramas feature over 100 mounted animals, including one of the few—and one of the largest -- elephants on display in the country. The Museum also houses a geology collection, interactive children's area, and temporary exhibits in the Rotary Exhibit Gallery and Oasis Room. Additionally, the Museum is home to a wide range of live reptiles, amphibians, fish, and arthropods.

A majority of the Museum's world-class collection of mounted specimens was donated by Dr. Russell Schelkopf, a local veterinarian, entrepreneur, community leader, conservationist, and hunter.


The Museum offers school fieldtrips, scout and homeschool programs, and group tours. It also provides year-round public programming for all ages, including nature-based preschool classes, adult lectures, dissection workshops, geology programs, live animal presentations, and more. Museum staff frequently conduct programs off-site for local schools and libraries. Annual fundraisers include Rockin' for the Reptiles in June and the Groundhog Gala in January.