Visitors Guide to the
Wood River Museum & Visitors Center
40 W. Ferguson Avenue
Wood River, Illinois

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Interpretive Exhibits Accessible Restrooms

Established in 1997 by the Wood River Heritage Council, the Wood River Museum & Visitor’s Center allows visitors to explore the town’s varied past. A Memorial Garden and Courtyard is adjacent to the museum and features plants native to Illinois and a gazebo dedicated to Lewis and Clark. Exhibits in the museum highlight the early days of the town including the impact of Standard Oil on the community, the wild days of Benbow City, and life during the various eras of the town. Significant events in Wood River’s history such as the Flood of 1915 and the opening of the world’s largest swimming pool in 1926 are covered. Lewis and Clark are featured and visitors can view a video of their journey and see a model of Camp DuBois.

An early 20th century kitchen Early Wood River history

After the arrival of the Standard Oil, Wood River began to grow rapidly. Standard Oil employed about 90% of Wood River’s population in the 1920's and housing the workers became a problem. The solution came from the Sears and Roebuck catalog in the form of their housing kits. Sears sold these kits, which included everything needed to build a house down to the nails and electrical outlets from 1910 to 1935. At one point Standard Oil bought $1,000,000 worth of these kits to build area housing. While not all of these houses were built in Wood River, the town has one of the largest concentrations of Sears houses in the country, particularly along the east side of the 100 and 200 blocks of 9th Street. If you are interested in learning how these houses were constructed and how to identify them, call the museum for a tour. There is no minimum number needed and the tours are free, but donations are suggested.

The museum operates a gift shop containing a wide selection of historical and children’s books, Native American jewelry, fun gifts for kids and specialty items. The Wood River Heritage Council also operates Camp Dubois, a reconstruction of Lewis and Clark's winter of 1803-04 encampment.

Visiting the Wood River Museum & Visitor's Center
     Thursday - Saturday: 1 pm - 4 pm
For group bookings, call: 618-254-7442
There is no charge to visit the Wood River Museum & Visitor's Center, although donations are appreciated.

Directions: The Wood River Museum & Visitor's Center is located at 40 W. Ferguson Avenue, one block north of IL-143 and approximately ten blocks west of IL-111.

Learn more about the Wood River area. The official site of the Wood River Heritage Council which operates Camp Dubois as well as the Wood River Museum and Visitors Center, the Wood River Historic Chapel, and is involved with the upkeep of the historic Vaughn Cemetery.

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