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Lake County Discovery Museum

Lake County Discovery Museum




Related Sites

Curt Teich Postcard Archives
Lake County History Archives

Other Information

Teachers and Youth Leaders
Volunteer at the Discovery Museum
Illuminating Lake County History Blog
The Curt Teich Postcard Blog
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The Archives Building is temporarily closed. For research assistance, please call the Archives staff at 847-968-3381 or explore the postcard exhibits at the Lake County Discovery Museum.

Re-envisioning the Museum

The Museum holds a treasure trove of our region's history that must be preserved and enriched for generations to come. Private donations are being raised through a public-private partnership with the Preservation Foundation to re-envision and relocate the Museum to a central location within the county that offers additional gallery space for exhibitions and a more controlled environment to store collections, better preserving Lake County history.

It's part of a larger strategic effort to rethink the Museum and align it with our 100-year Vision for Lake County. Taking a forward-thinking view, the new Museum will blend Lake County’s natural and cultural history and aim to significantly grow the number of people served each year. As part of the process, our staff will engage the broader community to consider new and innovative ways to continue to communicate the importance of preserving Lake County’s past, while inspiring future generations to care for the collections for the long-term.

Lakewood will continue to host popular annual outdoor events such as Civil War Days in July and the Farm Heritage Festival in September.

Whether you're a regular museum visitor or new to the area, we invite you to share your thoughts and ideas with us as we re-envision the Museum. Please contact Katherine Hamilton Smith, Director of Cultural Resources, at 847-968-3380.

About the Museum

The Museum provides a fun, well-rounded experience close to home. Hands-on interactive exhibits introduce the history of Lake County in a fun learning environment. The Museum also displays the nation’s largest permanent exhibition on the history and significance of postcards. Changing exhibits in our special exhibition galleries take inspiration from art, history and popular culture.

The Lake County Discovery Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The Friends of the Lake County Discovery Museum commissioned a fun congratulatory video.

Current and Upcoming Special Exhibitions

Sponsored by The Daily Herald

  • Real Photo PostcardsFebruary 15 – August 24. Millions of real photo postcards were sent in the early part of the 20th century. These fascinating snapshot messages were the equivalent of today's Facebook wall, Instagram, Tumblr posts and tweets. Learn about these sometimes wacky, always curious images of everyday life one hundred years ago, from the collection of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives
  • The Farm: Images from the HeartlandAugust 23–November 9. Winners from the biennial, juried art competition featuring artists from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. The competition is coordianted by the Lake County Heritage Farm Foundation. 
  • The President's Photographer: 50 Years Inside the Oval Office –September 13–January 11, 2015. View presidential history from the first official presidential photographer in 1963 to today's coverage of Barack Obama. This exhibition includes iconic and rarely seen photos of presidents, with insights from the photographers who chronicled them. On loan from National Geographic. 
  • Illustrating Integration: The Deerfield Housing ProjectOpens November 22. Beginning in 1959 and continuing througout the 1960s, Deerfield, Illinois, was a northern focal point in the struggle to develop non-discriminatory housing. View orginal artwork of the meetings held in Deerfield in 1959 and in the early 1960s drawn by artist reporter Franklin McMahon (1921–2009), learn about the Deerfield integrated homes project and Lake County activist Ethel Untermyer (1925–2009). 

Hours and Admission.

Regular gallery hours are Monday–Saturday, 10 am–4:30 pm and Sunday, 1 pm–4:30 pm.

  • Admission is $6 for adults, $2.50 for youth ages 4–17, $3 for students ages 18–25 and seniors ages 62 and up, and free for children three years and under.
  • Discount Tuesdays: adults $3, ages 4–17 (up to five children per adult) FREE, $1.25 per child for groups with five to 10 children per adult.
  • Museum members enjoy free daily admission.
  • Download a coupon: Save $1 per person on admission.
  • Open daily except for New Year's, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Parking is free.  

Special Programs

The Museum offers a variety of public programs for families and adults.

Each July, the Museum hosts Civil War Days, the largest Civil War reenactment in Illinois.

At the Farm Heritage Festival each September, visitors are able to take a step back in time and explore Lake County’s rural roots.

Throughout the summer, museum educators provide fun and educational nature, history, and art day camps. The museum also makes a great place for a field trip or group tour.

Join us for special in-gallery talks Tuesdays from 11 am to 1 pm. These informal talks shed additional light on our exhibitions and are free with admission.

Museum Membership

Support the museum and receive great benefits by becoming a member of the Friends of the Lake County Discovery Museum.

Explore the benefits of membership.

Museum Shop

The shop features locally made goods, fair trade products, local history books and postcard gifts. In addition, it carries items related to our current special exhibitions.



The Lake County Discovery Museum is located in Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda. [View on Google Maps]

The entrance is located on Route 176 west of Fairfield Road. Follow signs to the Lake County Discovery Museum.



Since 1976, Lakewood Forest Preserve (formerly known as Lakewood Farm) has been home to the nationally accredited Lake County Discovery Museum. The former farm buildings have been adapted and expanded to accommodate the Museum galleries, administrative offices, the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, and the Lake County History Archives.


Contact Information

Lake County Discovery Museum
27277 N Forest Preserve Rd
Wauconda, IL 60084
847-968-3400 (phone)
847-968-3231 (fax)
© Jess Smith
Lake County Discovery Museum
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Celebrate Halloween With Us
The President's Photographer: 50 Years in the Oval Office
Preserve safety tips

Calendar of Events

Oct 22 Small Discoveries–A Happy Halloween
Nov 5 Small Discoveries–Potawatomi Play
  12 Homeschool Companion - The President''s Photographer
  19 Small Discoveries–Turkey Tales
  22 Illustrating Integration: The Deerfield Housing Project

Exhibits and Activities

The Farm: Images from the Heartland
The President's Photographer: 50 Years Inside the Oval Office
Illustrating Integration: The Deerfield Housing Project