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The Curt Teich Postcard Archives


The Archives Building is Closed

For research assistance, please call the Archives staff at 847-968-3381 or explore the postcard exhibits at the Lake County Discovery Museum.

Staff Services Unavailable During Audit | January 26–February 6

All staff services will be temporarily unavailable Jan 26–Feb 6 to conduct an audit in preparation for moving the Archives to its new facility in Libertyville. Learn more »

In June 2014, the Lake County Discovery Museum was awarded a $750,000 Illinois Department of Natural Resources Public Museums Capital Grant, the highest award amount possible for an individual institution. The grant supports design and construction of a storage facility for the Museum’s two archival collections, the Lake County History Archives and the Curt Teich Postcard Archives. The new storage facility will be located at the General Offices of the Museum’s parent organization, the Lake County Forest Preserves. The lower level of the General Offices building will be renovated to create a controlled environment with the ability to manage light, temperature, and humidity levels required to carefully protect and preserve the historic collections. Total estimated project cost of the renovation is $1.24 million. Construction begins in spring of 2015, and the Archives move will be completed within the two-year grant period, ending in June 2016. A reading room on the main floor will allow the collection to be accessible to researchers and the public in June 2016.

The Curt Teich Postcard Archives, part of the Lake County Discovery Museum, is recognized throughout the world as the largest public collection of postcards and related materials.

The Teich Archives include:

  • Over 400,000 postcards of more than 10,000 towns and cities in North America and many foreign countries
  • One of the nation’s largest collections of Route 66, Lincoln Highway and other travel-related images
  • Over 100,000 job files for the postcards produced by the Teich Company


Postcard Dating

Curt Teich postcards are easy to date using the company production number printed on the postcard. A guide to this dating system is available (see also: Teich Archives FAQ).

Museum Exhibit

Located in the Lake County Discovery Museum is the exhibit, Bringing the World Home, a fun and entertaining look at life in the past two centuries through postcards. Learn about the history of the postcard and their importance as research documents.

Online Images

Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) is a repository for the digital collections of libraries, museums, historical societies and other cultural institutions in Illinois.

Objects and archival materials from the Lake County Discovery Museum’s collections are available online through IDA. Access more than 30,000 postcard views of towns, cities, lakes, rivers, and parks in Illinois, across the country and around the world from the Teich Archives collections. Lake County collections include objects and photographs from Fort Sheridan, Civil War diaries, letters, and photographs, and one-room school histories written in 1918.

IDA Postcards Online

View images of more than 180 different subject areas from the Teich Archives.

Browse images from the Teich Archives by category.

Postcard Art Competition & Exhibiton (PACE)

This biennial juried exhibition, presented in conjunction with the Curt Teich Postcard Archives celebrates the postcard as art and as visual document. The exhibition showcases 36 finalists at the Lake County Discovery Museum. The top 12 award winners each receive a cash award and printed copies of the postcard made from their design. Twenty-four merit award winners are also included in the exhibition.

Learn more »

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