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Website: www.lcfpd.org/discovery_museum

Lake County Discovery Museum

The Lake County Discovery Museum is one of the ten most popular destination spots in Lake County. The Museum provides the fun, well-rounded museum experience you expect from a big-city museum without the traffic hassles.

Hands-on interactive exhibits introduce the history of Lake County in a fun learning environment. The Museum also displays the nation’s largest permanent exhibition on the history and significance of postcards. Changing exhibits in our special exhibition gallery are designed to delight visitors of all ages and interests. A local artist gallery displays fine works of art from talented Chicagoland artists. And a variety of programs and events for adults, families and school groups educate and entertain.

Permanent Collection

Our roots reach back to 1957 and a three-year-old boy who wanted to go exploring in the woods. When Ethel Untermyer's son, Frank, made his request, she asked a friend where the nearest Forest Preserve was. Like many families, the Untermyers had just moved to Lake County from nearby Chicago and were unfamiliar with the area.

She was stunned to hear Lake County had no Forest Preserves. So the next day, she did what few other 33-year-old homemakers would do. She organized a countywide referendum to create the Lake County Forest Preserve District.

In those days, Lake County's population hadn't even reached 300,000. But people were already shaking their heads about the loss of open space. Unique to Illinois, forest preserve districts were designed to protect large natural areas. Education and recreation would be important offerings, but primarily within that natural context.

Just four people came to Ethel's first meeting. She started driving her Studebaker throughout the county, frequently on dirt roads. She spoke with groups, sought out local leaders and got a quick education in politics. By election day in fall 1958, a groundswell of public support had emerged. The referendum passed with an overwhelming 60 percent of votes. Twenty days later, the Lake County Forest Preserve District was legally established in circuit court. A citizens' advisory committee was created, and Ethel Untermyer was named its chair.

And in 1961, four years after Frank Untermyer asked for a place to explore, the first Lake County Forest Preserve was created: Van Patten Woods near Wadsworth. On that day, Ethel reflected on her efforts and said, "This is the secret, the magic everyone is loo...+ [ Read all ]


ohn High Collection
This unique collection consists of pre-World War I postcards, including more than 5,000 woven silks and "Stevengraphs". It also includes categories other than silks-Dickens, Shakespeare, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, jigsaw puzzle cards, "hold-to-lights" and copper windows, the four seasons, twelve months of the year and crosswords, to name a few. Generously donated to the Museum by collector John High.


Admission is $6 for adults and $2.50 for youth ages four to 17, and free for children three years and under. Admission is $2.50 for seniors after 2 p.m.

On Discount Tuesdays, admission is $3 for adults, free for ages 17 and under. Museum members are free on all days.

Opening hours

Monday - Saturday
11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Museum internal and external photos (1)

Click on the images to enlarge


Environmental Education

Enhance indoor learning with outdoor experiences. The Lake County Forest Preserves' environmental education programs emphasize fun and adventure while encouraging participants to take a hands-on approach to nature.

Through activities, nature walks and discussion, children learn more about the world around them. Our programs reach all corners of the county, showcasing diverse ecosystems and wildlife habitats throughout our area.

All programs stress the interconnection between humans and the environment. Any program you choose addresses Illinois State Learning Standards while helping you add a new dimension to your existing curriculum.

Museum Education

Today's children are making tomorrow's history. At the Lake County Discovery Museum, our hands-on exhibits and education programs unlock the door to past worlds and people. Explore our regional heritage, the cultures of the different peoples who have lived in Lake County, our relationship to our environment and much more.

Located at the county's largest Forest Preserve, Lakewood, the Lake County Discovery Museum provides the perfect setting for a field trip. Learning opportunities take place both inside the Museum and outside on the grounds.

All history education programs provide a chance for students to work with trained educators as well as time to explore the galleries.

Broaden your horizons with teacher training. Teacher workshops, program previews, in-service training and other adult education opportunities are available for a variety of subjects. These unique learning opportunities address both Illinois State Learning Standards and Teacher Performance Standards. The Lake...+ [ Read all ]