Blacksmithing at the Macon County History Museum

Local blacksmith Steve Knowles will show adults and children alike how to do basic blacksmithing in the museum’s Prairie Village blacksmith shop. He will make items in the blacksmith shop forge and illuminate visitors on the skill of blacksmithing and its importance to our history. We restored the shop last fall and early this spring so it will be in use for the last time this year with various events to be scheduled next year.


Date:     November 19

Time:    1:00 – 3:00 pm


Place:  Macon County History Museum

                 5580 North Fork Road

                 Decatur, IL62521


Cost:  $2 admission fee

How “Bumpology” Shaped 19th Century America. Presented by Lee Slider.

Phrenology in the 19th Century was the belief that a person’s abilities could be determined by the shape of one’s skull and the size of the “bumps” thereon.  Thoroughly discounted by science today, phrenology was proscribed to be a true science by most intellectuals of the time.  It is estimated that over 2,000 “Practical Phrenologists” had set out across America to read the heads –“having their heads examined,” of a population eager to better themselves.  Prof. Phineas Fairhead P.P. a.k.a. Lee Slider will provide an entertaining lecture on this little known aspect of 19th Century popular culture.  

Date:     Saturday, August 20

Time:    1:30 PM


Macon County History Museum


5580 North Fork Road. Decatur, IL62521


Cost:  $2 admission fee

A Look at Civil War Camps: Illinois Prison Camps

Saturday, July 18th at 1:30pm

The Macon County History Museum will feature guest speaker Don Chamberlain. Mr. Chamberlain's lecture is titled “A Look at Civil War Camps: Illinois Prison Camps.” With a small section of a prison wall in Alton, IL being the only remnants of any prison structures in the state, Mr. Chamberlain will discuss stories and artifacts from the prisons which will help us to understand prison camp life from the Civil War.

Cost: $2.00

Join us for our Grand Reopening! Saturday 6/20 @ 2pm

The Macon County History Museum will be hosting our Grand Reopening this coming Saturday from noon until four, after nearly three months of renovations to the museum. Live entertainment begins at 2, when Tom Taylor will play his homemade cigar box guitars and speak about how he designs and makes them. Cookies and refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!


We have extended our renovation project at the museum to include painting more areas and tearing up old carpet to refinish hardwood flooring. We now have more usable wall space because of the new Homasote panels that have been installed, and will be able to display more photos/items from our archive room. This process will take time, and in order to accommodate the further renovations we will remain closed through the month of March. If you have any questions feel free to contact the museum at 217-422-4919, or by email at I am not in my office often during this process, but leave a message and I will return your call. Thank you for your patience, we look forward to seeing you when the museum reopens.