Peoria Museums: Your Ultimate Guide

Peoria Museums

Peoria Riverfront Musem

Exploring Peoria’s museums is an excellent way to spend a day. Educational and entertaining, Peoria offers something for everyone when it comes to arts, history, science, and technology. In this guide we’ll take you through some of the best attractions in Peoria and give you all the info you need for planning the perfect outing. Get ready to discover Peoria’s vibrant cultural heritage while diving deep into art history and science with our comprehensive guide of Peoria museums!


The history of Peoria’s museums

Peoria, Illinois is a city full of culture and history. It boasts some of the Midwest’s most captivating museums for all to enjoy – whether you’re into art history, culture or just looking for an educational outing with friends – Peoria’s museums truly have something for everyone!

Peoria’s museum scene dates back to the early 20th century, when the Peoria Historical Society Museum opened in 1902. Since then, new museums have opened their doors and existing ones have expanded their collections and exhibits.

Today, Peoria boasts several world-class museums with each offering its own special collection and focus. The Peoria Riverfront Museum showcases the art, science, and history of Illinois River Valley; Wheels O’ Time Museum showcases vintage cars, tractors, and trains; these attractions give visitors an insight into the vibrant cultural heritage of the region.

Peoria’s museums are bustling with activity behind the scenes as curators work diligently to select and showcase artifacts that will engage and educate visitors. This process is fascinating, involving research, conservation efforts, as well as careful consideration of both museum mission and audience.

Peoria museums offer plenty of must-see exhibits. The Caterpillar Visitors Center, for instance, gives an intriguing insight into the history and innovation of this legendary heavy equipment company. Meanwhile, Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum provides engaging exhibits and activities ideal for families with young children.

Families will also enjoy Peoria’s museums, which offer a range of family-friendly activities including hands-on exhibits to special events like school field trips and maker workshops. A project spearheaded by the Junior League of Peoria, The Peoria Playhouse opened its doors in 2015 at Glen Oak Park near Peoria Zoo & Luthy Botanical Garden; for more information


Discover the best museums to visit in Peoria

Peoria, Illinois is a city full of history and culture that’s evident through its museums. Whether you’re an expert or just want a fun activity for the family to do together, Peoria has something special for everyone. Here is a must-see museum when visiting Peoria.

Peoria Riverfront Museum - Dome PlanetariumThe Peoria Riverfront Museum is the largest and best-known museum in town. Here, visitors can explore an array of exhibits from fine art to science and technology. Visitors to the Dome Planetarium can explore the universe with its cutting-edge Evans & Sutherland 6.5K Digistar 7 system. Visit the Peoria Holocaust Memorial (located outside of the Museum). Eleven million buttons were collected by school children to create this memorial, a project of the Jewish Federation of Peoria; each button represents a life lost during WWII. The Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Giant Screen Theatre, boasting a 52 feet high and 70 feet wide screen, provides visitors with various types of movies to enjoy. With so much to see and do, the museum should not be missed by anyone interested in history, science or the arts. For more information about current exhibits, planetarium shows and movies at


Experience unique exhibitions and events at Peoria museums

Wheels of Time - Locomotive

The Wheels O’ Time Museum is a train and car enthusiast’s paradise, boasting over 20,000 square feet of train cars, classic cars, motorcycles and other vintage vehicles from early 1900s steam-powered to modern muscle cars. Plus they have exhibits on Peoria’s transportation history including an exact replica of 1950s gas station! For anyone with an interest in trains or cars – or anyone curious about transportation history – then visiting this must-see attraction is a must! Open early May through late October you can learn more about them at

Caterpillar Visitors Center Peoria ILIf you’re a fan of construction equipment, the Caterpillar Visitors Center is the perfect destination. This museum honors the company’s rich history and showcases its contemporary innovations. The Cat Visitors Center & Museum provides an engaging glimpse into the history and innovation of Caterpillar, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of construction and mining equipment. Visitors to Caterpillar Visitors Center & Museum can explore interactive exhibits and learn about its history, as well as get a behind-the-scenes look at how products are made and even operate a simulated excavator. This museum is ideal for anyone interested in engineering, manufacturing or American industry; visit for more details.

Pettingill Morron House MuseumDiscover Peoria’s vibrant past at the Pettengill-Morron House Museum, the 1868 mansion constructed in the Second Empire architectural style was built for prominent businessman Moses Pettengill (1802-1883). This Victorian-era mansion provides an intriguing insight into life in Peoria during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The house was listed on the U. S. National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Finally, the John C. Flanagan House Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in viewing the area’s oldest home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Flanagan House was continuously inhabited from 1837 until 1962 when it became part of the Peoria Historical Society.  See collections of antique glass, china, furniture, toys, quilts and vintage clothing during guided tours which are available first and third Sundays of each month from 1 – 4 pm.  Learn more about both museums by visiting


Support Peoria museums

Are you an admirer of history, science or art? Peoria has plenty of museums for everyone to explore – with something new to discover every day. But did you know that as part of supporting these institutions and ensuring they remain vibrant for years to come, you can play an essential role?

Supporting Peoria museums is easy; just get involved with their events and activities. Many museums offer workshops, lectures, and other educational experiences so visitors can learn more about the exhibits on display. By attending these events, not only are you contributing financially to the museum, but you’re also contributing towards their mission of inspiring education and inspiration for visitors.

One way to support Peoria museums is through donations. Your financial contributions help preserve artifacts and artwork on display, as well as fund new exhibitions and programs at the facility. Every dollar counts, so your support can have a significant effect on its success.

In addition to financial support, spreading awareness of Peoria museums is essential in helping them gain recognition and appreciation from the local community. Share your experiences on social media platforms, write reviews, and encourage others to visit – you’re helping make these attractions a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike.

Finally, consider volunteering your time and expertise to support museum programs and initiatives. Whether it’s helping with educational programming, organizing fundraising events, or offering professional skillsets – your efforts can make a significant contribution towards the museum’s success.

In conclusion, Peoria museums are an integral part of our community and need your support to remain successful. By becoming involved in events and activities, donating, spreading awareness, and volunteering your time, you can help preserve Peoria’s rich cultural heritage while guaranteeing these institutions remain important components for generations to come.

In conclusion, Peoria museums provide a wealth of knowledge and entertainment for visitors of all ages. From art and history to science and technology, there’s something special for everyone to explore and enjoy. Whether you live locally or are just passing through, taking time out of your schedule to visit these attractions should definitely be on your bucket list! So why not plan your next trip now and explore all that these amazing museums have to offer? You won’t be disappointed!

Looking for events in in the area?  Check out our Calendar of Events!