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Thirty-five years ago, on Memorial Day 1976, a new project was started that has grown far beyond anyone’s belief. There was so much excitement of assembling articles that would tell the history of our county. In one month’s time the county had gathered enough of the heirlooms of their families to fill about four rooms of the grade school in Raritan. About a thousand people visited the Museum building to see what had been collected.

Since that time we have collected over 2,000 items. Using some of the artifacts that had been given, the Southern F.F.A. built displays of the first blacksmith shop in Raritan and an early post office. Their efforts earned them Community Service awards from the state. The JTPA offered the Museum assistance several summers with bookkeeping and making new displays.

The County has responded to all the needs of the Museum, be it painting, roofing, or any big project. The Museum has help-ed in the production of stage plays, furnishing artifacts for parades, and other special celebrations. Many of our artifacts have provided information for genealogy studies.

One of the most wonderful things about the Museum is the cooperation of the County. This past year, two of our buildings needed roof repairs and through the generosity of friends, neighbors, and local government, the needs have been filled.

On Saturday, July 2nd, starting at 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM a guided tour of the Museum complex, and open house of the log cabin of Lawrence & Alta May Brokaw. In the afternoon the Museum and the Brokaw home will be having an ope house (without guides). The Museum will be open Sunday 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM, and on the 4th of July it will be open 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Door prizes will be given on Saturday. A free will offering will be taken for our repair fund.

It has been an exciting 35 years and we want to thank all of those who have contributed in any way to the success of the Museum!


This will also appear in The Quill.



The new roof is almost complete on the brick Raritan School House.All that remains is the trim and gutter work, and the installation of the new ceiling tiles.

Thanks to multiple generous donations, almost $10,000 has been raised. This will help greatly help pay for the much-needed new roof.

Be sure to mark your calendar for July 2nd and attend the Museum’s special Event. The displays are always changing and new items are being added all the time.

Donations for the Henderson County Museum can be sent to:

Raritan State Bank
Attention: Art Kane
Box 8, 106 E. Main
Raritan, IL 61471

There is always a need for the following supplies: paper towels, toilet paper, lemon oil, glass cleaner, Murphy’s oil soap, white paint, black spray paint, old towels, scrap lumber, nails, and garbage bags. You can call James Cook at 309-746-6103 to set up a delivery time for these donations.


Demolition began on the flat roof May 31st.  The construction is coming along rapidly, in spite of rain and excessive heat.  The trusses arrived June 8th and all that remains is the new sloped roof.

The work is progressing nicely, but the coffers of the Henderson County Historical Society have been depleted.  There are some fund raisers coming up, but donations would be appreciated.  Let’s keep our county’s history and treasures protected and displayed for all to see!

The chalk line shows where the pitch roof will join the main museum building on the south side.

The trusses arrived June 8th and they will be installed soon.

museum1 Henderson County Museum update June 8, 2011


The trusses have been unloaded and are being lifted up to the flat roof to be installed.

museum2 Henderson County Museum update June 8, 2011


This is the east side which is done. The west is also finished. They are currently working on the front of the building.

Stop by and see the progress.

museum3 Henderson County Museum update June 8, 2011


This is the museum roof. The left is new roof and is facing to the west. To the right is old roof facing to the south. Progress is being made.

museum4 Henderson County Museum update June 8, 2011