Learn About Local History At The Staley Museum

Serious teenage girl is looking museum exhibition with interest

If you’re looking for a fun way to get to know Decatur a little better, you’ll enjoy a visit to the Staley Museum. The museum explores the story and accomplishments of one of Decatur’s founding fathers, A.E. Staley. Read on to learn more about the museum and its importance to our community.

Who is A.E. Staley?

Settlers founded our beautiful and bustling city in 1829, and although he didn’t arrive until nearly a century later, we consider A.E. Staley one of our founding fathers. Why? His contributions to the growth and development of the city outstripped many others. When Staley joined the Decatur community in the 1920s, he had a lot of big dreams for the city. He invested in the cultivation and processing of soybeans in the area. Our city has been dubbed the soybean capital of the world because of Staley’s early investments. Some of Staley’s other contributions include participation in the creation of Lake Decatur and the Staley viaduct. Perhaps one of his most popularly known achievements is the creation of the Decatur Staley’s Football Club which became the Chicago Bears.

What’s Inside the Staley Museum?

In 2015, Staley Museum opened in the original Staley home. So, you can walk through the halls that the Staley family once tread. Thanks to the dedicated work of The Staley Foundation, you’ll find a wealth of information and memorabilia about A.E. Staley inside the mansion. The home has been in the Staley Museum Foundation’s possession since 2013. Since then, they have made several renovations to restore it to the original floorplan. So you can view the home in a semblance of its original state.

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Ways to Explore the Staley Museum

If you’re interested in exploring the Staley family more, there are two ways you can learn more about them. The first is to visit the Staley Museum in person. The museum is located at 361 N. College. They’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  You can also explore the museum online. The foundation has created an online Staley library that allows you to browse some of the digitized documents and records found in the museum. So, have fun exploring the history of A.E. Staley and his family.

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