Rockford's History Museum
Midway Village Museum, the best institution for collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the Rockford region, is committed to educating and enriching our community by providing state-of-the-art exhibits, programs and events.
Midway Village Museum will be the primary institution where Rockford’s diverse citizens gather to understand their community’s past and to discuss the challenges of the future.
Midway Village Museum was organized in 1968 by the Swedish, Harlem and Rockford Historical Societies for the purpose of collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of the Rockford area. It began with a donation of land by the Severin Family and has grown dramatically since.
In 1972, the original museum site was located on eleven acres donated by the Severin Family; today the site is 137 acres. The original 10,000 sq. ft. Museum Center facility opened in 1974. The Industrial Gallery opened in 1976. In 1986 the Exhibition Hall was built to link the previous two buildings together. In 1988, more galleries were opened, including the Aviation Gallery and the Carlson Education Gallery. Across the parking lot, the Old Dolls’ House Museum was opened that same year. Today, the 52,700 sq. ft Museum Center houses seven exhibition galleries, collections storage, classrooms, workrooms, administrative offices, library, audio-visual room, and the Museum Store. The 2000 renovation of the History Building made the facility handicap accessible and made the Museum Center more visitor friendly. The collections have grown to over 110,000 objects, including three-dimensional pieces, structures, textiles, and archival material.
The development of Midway Village began in 1974. The Village is representative of a typical rural town in Northern Illinois at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Midway Village features 26 historical structures, including a general store, hardware store, print shop, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, town hall, police station, plumbing shop, bank, hotel, hospital, fire station, church, barber shop, law office, two barns, and four farm houses.