After the Museum's establishment, the Board of Trustees sought the help of museum professionals to create a constitution, by-laws, and collections policy along with applying for tax-exempt status. Concurrently, the search began for a building to house the museum. Several sites were assessed and rejected before the Board of Trustees decided on the Ferchow building. Initial funding for the building came from a Cabot Foundation grant of $20,000. The grant also awarded an additional $50,000 on a matching funds basis. the Museum Association was then awarded a $5,000 grant from the Union Pacific foundation along with numerous individual donations from the community. volunteers gutted, cleaned, rewired, insulated, and constructed walls to completely remodel the building. Work was able to continue because of monies from the Illinois Department of Congress and Community Affairs tourism grant. That grant was matched by a TIF grant from the city of Tuscola so we could purchase two computers and two printers. Our membership expanded from three founders in 1984 to over 500 members in 1992. A fundraising campaign in the fall of 1992 allowed us to pay off the last $10,000 of the mortgage.
In 1993, the Douglas County Museum was named the American Association for State and Local History's Albert Corey Award for preserving and interpreting Douglas County's history. The Douglas County Museum was the 18th recipient of the coveted national award.
In 2017, the association worked to pass by county wide vote, the formation of the Douglas County Historical Museum District. The district, through a county wide tax, provides a sustainable source of funding for the museum's building, grounds, collections and a full-time Director.
The Association Board of Trustees and membership continue to support the museum and raise funds for events, programs, exhibits, museum improvements, artifact care and storage and more. Through the generosity of individuals and businesses, we continue to operate to serve the people of and visitors to Douglas County.
The Douglas County Museum runs on donations from individuals and businesses alone. Our doors continue to remain open to the public because of the generosity of caring people.
Click on this link if you would like to view the grants we've been awarded:
Click this link if you would like to become a member: