Museum Collections

Museum Collections

The Museum’s collection of over 40,000 artifacts and documents is a vast source for the study of the history of Elgin and the people who call Elgin home. All items relate to Elgin’s history from 1835 to the present. In the collection you will find Elgin watches, Elgin American compacts, various dairy bottles, numerous photos, and much more! Search for something specific or use the ‘random image’ search for a taste of what the collection holds. Please note that not every item in our collection is included in the online database. Contact us if you cannot find what you are looking for online.

Take me to the Museum’s online database of photos, artifacts and objects.

Unwatermarked reproductions (printed copies or digital copies) are available for a fee depending on the usage. Please contact us with your needs and we can provide a quote.

How to Donate

If you are interested in donating items to the Museum’s collections please email or call the museum staff first before dropping off or sending items in the mail. The size of all donations must be taken into consideration because of space limitations. The Museum’s collections of objects emphasizes 4 areas in scope.
Living in Elgin: Family life, neighborhoods, religious life, recreation, military and education.
Governing Elgin: City government, community organizations, and township maps.
Working and Made in Elgin: Items made in Elgin such as Toastmaster, Elgin Sweeper, Leewards crafts, and the people who worked in Elgin.
Building Elgin: Architecture of Elgin including blueprints, architectural remnants, and photographs of buildings.

Elmer Gylleck creating diorama
Museum Collections on Illinois Digital Archives

Illinois Digital Archives website is a digital collection of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois. The Museum has two collections available:

Elmer Gylleck Photo Collection

Elgin American Collection

If you would like unwatermarked reproductions of any of these photos – hard copies or digital copies – please contact us for the fee and usage requirements.