Share your COVID experiences with MCHS


Note on COVID-19The museum and offices of the McHenry County Historical Society remain closed, as we adhere to the governor's stay-at-home order. The latest extension of that order means that the museum opening (May 1), the Ghost Town bus tour (May 23) and the Perkins Players' historical re-enactment (June 10) have been canceled. Additional program cancellations likely are in the offing, as this medical emergency drags on. We will continue to check emails and periodically check on voice messages. Even though our office is temporarily closed to the public and scheduled programming has been disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak, we are working hard to ready ourselves when this health emergency ends. And it will end. History underscores the fact that Americans are a resilient lot. In the meantime, we invite you to continue your historical education online at or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for most up to date museum information. Be well.

McHenry County Historical Society

Educating and Preserving History since 1963.

Since the mid-1960s, the McHenry County Historical Society has provided the methods and means of presenting McHenry County History to enrich life. Please join us in celebrating over 50 years!

Besides operating the museum, the Society plaques historic sites and structures, holds adult workshops and classes, makes available traveling exhibits and arranges a wide variety of school and other group programs.

Funding for the Society comes from membership dues, admission fees, donations and a trust fund. For many years, we have published a comprehensive quarterly newsletter, The Tracer. To receive this valuable resource, join our organization.  For more information visit The Museum. We very much appreciate your interest and invite you to participate.

Museum is Open May - December in Union IL.

On July 4, 1976, the Society's museum in Union, Ill. officially opened to the public. The Museum is open May through December, Tuesday through Friday, and each third Saturday, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. The museum is closed for major holidays. Please call or check our calendar if you are unsure. Admission charge for nonmembers. Adults - $5, Seniors (60+) and Students - $3, and Family (Includes 2 family member adults and 2 or more children) - $12. The museum is occasionally open during special programs in the evenings or weekends.

Our comprehensive collection includes several preserved buildings: The 1843 Gannon Log Cabin, an 1885 town hall, now known as Perkins Hall; a 20th century modern tourist cabin, restored and housed inside the Museum. In 1982, a local history research library was added to the museum. In 1988, we acquired the West Harmony School, an 1895 one-room schoolhouse now used for circa.1900 school programs at our Museum location in Union. In 2009, we acquired the 1898 Riley Methodist Church.

Call 815-923-2267 for Library Appointment

The McHenry County Historical Society also collects local history. Our Research Library has as its purpose the acquisition, cataloguing and preservation of documentary materials that relate to the history of McHenry County and its people. When consistent with the mission of the Society, these materials may be made available to the public for research, study and promotional purposes.

The library hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year round. There is a fee for use by non-members.The Research Library is accessible by appointment only. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated no matter what the circumstances or the distance traveled since supervision is required. Materials must be retrieved by staff for security and archival reasons. Also, please understand that we are a nonprofit organization with a small staff trying to do many things, often simultaneously. Call our office at 815-923-2267 to make your library appointment.

Upcoming Events

The Heritage Quilters meet at 9:30 a.m. each Wednesday at the museum.

Recent News

What is Going On at MCHS? Make your way to our News & Event Section

COVID-19 questionnaire

How is McHenry County responding?

2020 Fike Scholarship


Senior Network shares handsewn bounty

Masking up to stay healthy

Museums Making History: Rapid Response Collecting

Chronicle history while you have time

Pioneer Activity Kits available

Free pioneer crafts for kids

At war with a virus... and our response to it

Manufacturerers have retooled production before

2020 Event Schedule

Museum opening canceled

Arlyn Booth: Everyday Hero

Local historian among those honored March 12

Exhibit chronicles our pioneering past

"Ghost" communities featured

Digital Newspaper Collections of McHenry County
Newspaper Collections

McHenry County

What The Society Does for McHenry County

Journey with us as we discover our history in McHenry County, Illinois


We focus on local culture, organizational and family history. We collect and care for notable local artifacts.  Learn More


Individuals who are aware of their environment make better citizens. Better citizens vote, participate in community life & teach their children by example.


Preserving one’s community provides its citizenry with a visual collective memory. We encourage the appreciation of our environment both natural and built.



We provide a family-oriented entertainment and educational destination spot that uniquely and interactively helps tell the story of this county and its people.


We are a destination for family-oriented entertainment and education. Visit our Museum events in Union to experience learning more about local history.


We create learning experiences and events. We focus on local culture, organizational and family history. We collect and care for notable artifacts.





The McHenry County Historical Society has a wide array of volunteer opportunities available for those who are interested.

  Museum Store

The McHenry County Historical Society has a number of unique local history items available online and at our museum in Union, Illinois. Museum Store

  How to Support

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Your donations are appreciated. We are NOT supported by tax dollars. How to Support Us