Elgin History Museum





Elgin Area Historical Society

According to Elgin Historian, E. C. Alft in his book A History of Elgin History the Elgin Area Historical Society held its first official meeting at Larsen Junior High School on January 18, 1961. In February, the Society passed a constitution, by-laws and elected officers. The Founder of the Elgin Area Historical Society was local author and historian Madeline Sadler Waggoner. Mrs. Waggoner was a well respected author and historian. In the early years, the society installed a plaque to the “Old Cem” at Channing Street school, displayed artifacts at Gail Borden Library, published The Story of Elgin’s First Twenty-Five Years and also collected objects important to Elgin history.

In January of 1981, Elgin City Council agreed to lease the building known as Old Main to the Elgin Area Historical Society for a token rental of $1 per year. The building itself was in need of much repair due to neglect and a damaging fire in 1978. The Society was able to raise $312,000 in three years to pay for some restoration costs. The total renovation cost came to $1,000,000. Many contributors were critical to the restoration of the building including many volunteers, the City of Elgin, Gifford Park Association, Society members, the Golden K Kiwanis Club and various state and federal grants. Watch a video on the history of Old Main.

The maintenance of the building is done by the City of Elgin while the artifact collection and museum exhibits are cared for by the museum staff and society members.

Elgin Area Historical Society Policies and Statements

Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion statement
Elgin history is inclusive and ongoing, because everyone has a story. Past, present, and future people and places comprise the history of this city. Through staffing, training, collecting, programming, and marketing, the Society and Museum reflect this diverse community. The organization will avoid bias in historical documentation, collections, preservation, and interpretation.

Conflict of Interest Statement
Elgin History Museum (EHM) is obligated and committed to the highest ethical standards of conduct and to the best interests of the Museum. Conduct that creates, threatens to create, or appears to create, a conflict with the interests of the Museum are not permitted.
Examples include: the supply of goods and services, leasing of equipment, purchase or sale of real estate, investments or other property, consulting fees, honoraria or royalties generated through association with EHM, use of EHM resources, and matters involving employment, evaluation, or advancement of family members. They also include any business or financial activity that might influence or appear to have the capacity to influence official decisions or actions on behalf of EHM.
In general, EHM Board, employees and volunteers should disclose any potential conflict of interest in writing to the Board on an annual basis.