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The Staley Museum in Decatur, Illinois

The Staley Museum opened its doors to the public during the summer of 2015. We are excited be a full-fledged member of our community. Here you will find updates and news about the museum and exciting events going on.

The Staley Museum and this web site are both works in progress. We encourage visitors to continue to check back with us and see how we are progressing. We would also like to encourage visitors to the site to share any stories or information they may have regarding Staley history.

Photos, documents, articles and memorabilia are all welcome and appreciated.  Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Staley museum may contact us through via the Artifact Donation Form found on this site. Also, for anyone in our area who wishes to be a Volunteer at the museum and offer their time and/or expertise, please go to the Volunteer Form and fill out your information so that we may contact you personally. We invite you to Contact Us.

News & Happenings

Visit the Staley Museum

The Staley Museum is open year-round
Tuesday – Saturday: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Last Sunday of the month (March – November): 1:00 – 4:00 pm.

Admission
Adults: $3
17 & under: $1

Location
361 N. College Street
Decatur, IL

The Staley Story

A.E. Staley was a big man with big dreams and had the determination to make those dreams a reality.  Although he did not arrive on the scene until the 1900’s, his impact of Decatur was such that he is counted as one of the founding fathers.  The largeness of his dreams and of his civic minded generosity has contributed in major ways to the city we know today.

It was A.E.’s pioneering vision in the area of soy beans, both the cultivation and processing, that gave Decatur the name “Soy Bean Capitol of the World.”

In the period of one decade, 1920-1930, A.E. Staley made significant contributions to the community of Decatur, being the driving force behind the creation of Lake Decatur, the Staley viaduct, the Staley Office Building, and the formation of the Decatur Staleys football club, later to become the Chicago Bears.

The story of A.E. Staley is one in which the city of Decatur has the right to feel great pride. It is a story which forms a major part in the industrial and agricultural history of central Illinois. We look forward to sharing that pride and history as we work toward the opening of the Staley Museum.

The Staley Office Building: Inaugurated in April, 1930
Also known as “The Castle in the Cornfields”
Photo courtesy of the Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Staley office building

The Staley Office Building: Inaugurated in April, 1930
Also known as “The Castle in the Cornfields”
Photo courtesy of the Hieronymus Mueller Museum

Staley Museum Latest News

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Friday April 9th

Verses by Emma Staley was published privately in 1938 and includes 43 original poems. Only one hundred copies were printed by The Lakeside Press R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company of Chicago. This book showcases only a small selection of Emma’s poetry. ... See MoreSee Less

Thursday February 25th

Happy Birthday Mr. Staley!
Born on February 25, 1867, this is Mr. Staley’s 154 birthday!
(2/25/1867 - 12/26/1940)

Photos taken in Miami, FL at the Staley family’s estate in 1939. Photographer unknown.
... See MoreSee Less

Happy Birthday Mr. Staley! 
Born on February 25, 1867, this is Mr. Staley’s 154 birthday!
(2/25/1867 - 12/26/1940)

Photos taken in Miami, FL at the Staley family’s estate in 1939. Photographer unknown.Image attachment

Comment on Facebook

Happy Heavenly Birthday! ❤️☮️🎉

He looks like he was a good guy.

Yep get to get to the MUSEUM !!!!

Friday February 19th

Signatures in a Decatur Country Club visitor register, dating back to October 5, 1900.

Note Ruth Staley’s signature in the first image. Ruth’s signature was the first Staley family member to sign in this register, visiting the club on August 2nd, 1921.
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

Is the 5th signature US President Warren G Harding?

I bet I have a lot of relatives listed in there.

Thursday February 4th

Beautiful! Great photograph by Suzi in the Decatur!

Photograph of the bronze bust of A.E. Staley Sr. inside the office building, featuring the ornate ceiling.
... See MoreSee Less

Beautiful! Great photograph by Suzi Brown in the Decatur Magazine! 

Photograph of the bronze bust of A.E. Staley Sr. inside the office building, featuring the ornate ceiling.

Comment on Facebook

Love your perspective, Suzi Brown. Keep looking up!

Thank you so much!😊

Tuesday January 26th

Exciting News!

We are now open to visitors by appointment only, following social distancing guidelines.

Visiting groups may not exceed 10 people, and visitors are required to wear face coverings at all times. To schedule your appointment, call or email us today.

217-422-1212
info@staleymuseum.com
... See MoreSee Less

Exciting News! 

We are now open to visitors by appointment only, following social distancing guidelines. 

Visiting groups may not exceed 10 people, and visitors are required to wear face coverings at all times. To schedule your appointment, call or email us today.

217-422-1212
info@staleymuseum.com
Friday January 1st

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

Artwork by Laine Henson
... See MoreSee Less

Wishing you all a happy and prosperous New Year! 

Artwork by Laine Henson

Comment on Facebook

Beautiful artwork!

Sad, but beautiful, super memories

Beautiful artwork but what a horrible loss by Staleys and Decatur lack of historical preservation society.

Beautiful...

Saturday December 26th

Photos from Spencer Films's post ... See MoreSee Less

Friday December 25th

Merry Christmas! 🎄🎁

We wish you all a healthy, happy, and safe holiday!
... See MoreSee Less

Comment on Facebook

One day I have got to get my BUTT THERE !!!!!

Friday December 25th

Merry Christmas Eve!
Don’t forget to leave out some milk and cookies for Santa Claus tonight! But just in case you’ve run out, it looks like he enjoys pancakes with some Staley syrup too!
🎄
First image features Clif Finley, Staley tinner posing as Santa Claus eating a breakfast of pancakes with Staley Sweetose waffle syrup, on the cover of the December 1952 Staley Journal.

Second Image caption reads: Ever stop to think how Santa can survive that Big Trip Christmas Eve? Here’s the reason-cakes and SWEETOSE for breakfast! It was so close to Christmas when we asked for the picture he couldn’t come, but suggested Clif Finley, Staley tinner, pose for him. “He’s just the right size,” Santa said. #meerychristmas #aestaley #staleymuseum #staley #decatur #illinois #staleysyrup
... See MoreSee Less

Merry Christmas Eve! 
Don’t forget to leave out some milk and cookies for Santa Claus tonight! But just in case you’ve run out, it looks like he enjoys pancakes with some Staley  syrup too!
🎄
First image features Clif Finley, Staley tinner posing as Santa Claus eating a breakfast of pancakes with Staley Sweetose waffle syrup, on the cover of the December 1952 Staley Journal.

Second Image caption reads: Ever stop to think how Santa can survive that Big Trip Christmas Eve? Here’s the reason-cakes and SWEETOSE for breakfast! It was so close to Christmas when we asked for the picture he couldn’t come, but suggested Clif Finley, Staley tinner, pose for him. “He’s just the right size,” Santa said. #meerychristmas #aestaley #staleymuseum #staley #decatur #illinois #staleysyrupImage attachment
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