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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.

Staley Topics

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

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Our soybeans are growing strong! 🌱Make sure you take a peek at them before coming inside! Thanks go to our Master Gardeners for taking such good care of them and making the museum look wonderful for the summer! ... See MoreSee Less

June 24th, 7:00 pm
Our soybeans are growing strong! 🌱Make sure you take a peek at them before coming inside! Thanks go to our Master Gardeners for taking such good care of them and making the museum look wonderful for the summer!Image attachmentImage attachment

Comment on Facebook

Beautiful!

Amazing, this is so fitting to have a soybean plant outside of the Godfather of soybeans Mr. A.E.Staley Sr's former 🏡 home. My hats off to who ever came up with this one. So apropos!

So cool!

Mark your calendars! We're so excited that Taste of History is back! 🥂

Make sure to follow us on our Facebook page for ticket sales and more info!

Taste of History Decatur
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June 23rd, 10:41 am
Mark your calendars! Were so excited that Taste of History is back! 🥂

Make sure to follow us on our Facebook page for ticket sales and more info!

https://www.facebook.com/tasteofhistorydecatur

So very excited to show our Dorothy Perkins Roses are in bloom! This is an heirloom variety of rose first bred in 1901. This was the variety chosen by A.E. Stsley Sr. for the beautiful rose arch he planted and personally tended, at the entrance to the family home on college Street, now the Staley Museum. If you are interested in roses, you may want to drive by the museum soon, as my understanding is they only bloom for a few weeks in late spring/early summer.
🌹♥️
... See MoreSee Less

June 9th, 11:44 am
So very excited to show our Dorothy Perkins Roses are in bloom!  This is an heirloom variety of rose first bred in 1901.  This was the variety chosen by A.E. Stsley Sr. for the beautiful rose arch he planted and personally tended, at the entrance to the family home on college Street, now the Staley Museum. If you are interested in roses, you may want to drive by the museum soon, as my understanding is they only bloom for a few weeks in late spring/early summer. 
🌹♥️Image attachmentImage attachment

This Memorial Day we honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We wish everyone peace and fond memories as we remember the loved ones we have lost. ❤️🤍💙 ... See MoreSee Less

May 30th, 11:37 am
This Memorial Day we honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. We wish everyone peace and fond memories as we remember the loved ones we have lost. ❤️🤍💙Image attachmentImage attachment

Taking a moment today to thank & celebrate our team of Master Gardeners here at the museum.
Only a few of the team members are shown here today but the whole team has been with the museum since we opened in 2016. Because they are a part of the University of Illinois Extension Service, a big part of what they do is meant to be educational. In these photos you can see two very special projects:
1. Is the beginnings of a re-creation of Mr. Staley’s Dorothy Perkins Rose Arch at the entrance to the property. Gardening is a project that requires patience… we hope to see some of our first blooms in the weeks to come.
2. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Staley beginning his pioneering work with Soy Beans. The Garden team has planted a 100 year old variety of Soy beans along the entrance path to the museum. We will be crossing our fingers and hoping the seeds take root & flourish in the weeks to come.
Keep your eyes out here… we will post progress reports. And join us in crossing fingers for a successful mini bean crop ♥️
Many thanks to todays gardeners for posing while they worked.
Betty Moser, Barbara Hannon, Debbie Mills.
Also Paula Luckenbill, not captured in photos. 😊
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May 26th, 12:15 pm

Comment on Facebook

It is so nice to see all the progress in the gardens. Looking forward to the soybeans!

So excited about the vintage roses!

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