Plan Your Visit
Located in the heart of downtown on Third Street, the Geneva History Museum (GHM) earned the 2020 Daily Herald's Readers' Choice for Best Museum of the Suburbs. GHM offers a Main Gallery, “Geneva’s Story,” a feature gallery that changes throughout the year, research facilities, climate controlled storage for collections and artifacts and a Gift Shop with unique Geneva items and souvenirs.
Plan a visit to attend one of our educational programs and events or just stop in to see whats new. There is always something going on at the Geneva History Museum.
Come see all the updates to the Main Gallery and ask about a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archives and Collections Storage areas.
CLOSED IN JANUARY (Museum will reopen February 5)
Museum Hours: 11 AM - 4 PM, Tuesdays thru Saturdays
Coming February 2022 - "100 Years of The Little Traveler"
Kate Howard grew up with a love of travel and adventure through her experience with her father’s Howard Shipyards. Kate and Edmond Raftery came to Geneva in 1915 and later purchased 404 South Third Street. Kate had several connections with counts and ambassadors who brought her rare and unique items from all over the world. She displayed these items on her grand piano and invited friends over to purchase them. On September 29, 1922, it was announced in The Geneva Republican newspaper that “The Raftery cottage will hereafter be the home of the Geneva Gift Shop, under the supervision of Mrs. Edmond Raftery.”
At the age of 52 and with no previous business experience, Kate Howard Raftery started Geneva’s Little Traveler. The Little Traveler was the first residence turned business on South Third Street and Kate encouraged others to start their own businesses, including the famous Mill Race Inn, Robin’s Book Shop and Marian Michael’s Children’s Clothing Shop.
Come explore the story of this 100-year-old business that put Geneva on the map as a high fashion, antique mecca and artsy town. View Kate’s going-away wedding coat, puppets used to entertain children, and hand-painted dressing room doors by world-renown artist, William Moulis.
This exhibition will be on display through December 23, 2022.
Geneva’s story is all around us. It is shaped by the river, connected by the railroad, advanced by development, and enhanced by people who visit or call it home. Chapter by chapter, discover our evolving community. We invite you to hear stories, explore objects, and share memories. Explore oral histories, videos and more images on four iPad stations or sit and relax in the Fargo Theater to discover more of Geneva’s rich history.
12 PM the second Tuesday of each month, September – May
Join us virtually or in-person during the lunch hour for a 45-minute program on a different topic each month. Registration is recommended and admission is $5 for adults, FREE for Museum Members.
Museum staff offers guided walking tours with stories of the people and places of Geneva. 50% non-refundable downpayment required at time of booking. Minimum 5 people, $10/person, includes admission to the Museum, and a Goodie Bag full of Geneva Shopping and Dining Offers. Choose your route: Architecture, Cemetery, or Downtown Historic District. Call 630-232-4951 to schedule.
Museum staff offers guided bike tours with stories of the people and places of Geneva. 50% non-refundable downpayment required at time of booking. Minimum 5 people, $25/person with bike rental, $15/person with own bike, includes admission to the Museum, and a Goodie Bag full of Geneva Shopping and Dining Offers.
(Download our Group Program & Tour Brochure.) Have the Museum come to you! The following 45-minute programs include a photographic display and stories from the archives presented by Museum staff. Programs can also be given at the Museum. $10/person, flat rate of $100 for groups of 10 or more. *Can be adapted for ages 8 and up, followed by a child-friendly activity. Call 630-232-4951 to book your Group Program.
About the Geneva History Museum
Learn about our services, programs, upcoming exhibitions and events.
Highlighting Geneva’s beautiful architecture.
View many of the Geneva homes ordered and built from kits.
Famous people that have visited and residents who became famous.
Geneva Crimes & Criminals
The darker side of Geneva’s history from the 1800s to the present.
Hats Off to Geneva!*
The history of hats and Geneva’s millinery greats.
Geneva women are responsible for many achievements.
How and why many homes have been moved.
Stories of buildings, homes, and people that make Geneva special – Downtown Historic District, East & North of the River, and Northern Historic District.
Explore the early history of Geneva from Native Americans to the early settlers.
Murals, statues and sculptures, the artists who created them and why.
Explore Geneva in comfort and hear stories of people and places told by a personal guide of the Geneva History Museum. Choose your transportation: Museum staff can Hop On your tour bus, we can rent a 10-13 person High-Top Van or a 30-person Trolley and guide a 45-minute route of your choice.