Home2022-04-26T12:06:07-05:00
Loading...

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.

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

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

We will be closed tomorrow due to filming inside of the museum.
We will reopen for our Open House on Saturday!
See you then!
... See MoreSee Less

May 19th, 1:27 pm

Join us this Saturday to celebrate Historic Preservation Week! ... See MoreSee Less

May 18th, 3:45 pm
Join us this Saturday to celebrate Historic Preservation Week!

Football fans, you won’t want to miss this episode of THE SEED! 🏈🏈🏈 ... See MoreSee Less

April 19th, 2:04 pm
Video image

Comment on Facebook

Well done!🏈

Staley's Extra Board

The Extra Board kept track of all temporary job vacancies at Staley’s. Vacancies may have arisen for many reasons like injury, illness, deployment, etc. Extra Board work changed daily depending on the needs of the company. Individuals seeking work at Staley’s most often started at the Extra Board office. Hopeful employees would fill out an application, take testing for placement and aptitude, get a physical examination, and an interview before moving on to the waiting room. At shift change, a select number of people would be chosen for the work needed that shift. Those left behind would return at the start of the next shift change in hopes of being selected. In the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Extra Board offered hope of work and wages and a foot in the door for a stable job.

Many long time employees, including a few of our museum volunteers, got their start at Staley’s on the Extra Board. The Extra Board introduced workers to Staley’s and gave them a chance to experience the full range of the work done at the company. When a worker had proven themselves hardworking and reliable, they could be offered full positions doing the work that suited them best. Employees of the Extra Board often received the same insurance and savings benefits, as well as plant-wide seniority rights, as other employees.

Photos from the September 1957 Staley Journal
... See MoreSee Less

April 5th, 3:30 pm
Staleys Extra Board

The Extra Board kept track of all temporary job vacancies at Staley’s. Vacancies may have arisen for many reasons like injury, illness, deployment, etc. Extra Board work changed daily depending on the needs of the company. Individuals seeking work at Staley’s most often started at the Extra Board office. Hopeful employees would fill out an application, take testing for placement and aptitude, get a physical examination, and an interview before moving on to the waiting room. At shift change, a select number of people would be chosen for the work needed that shift. Those left behind would return at the start of the next shift change in hopes of being selected. In the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, the Extra Board offered hope of work and wages and a foot in the door for a stable job. 

Many long time employees, including a few of our museum volunteers, got their start at Staley’s on the Extra Board. The Extra Board introduced workers to Staley’s and gave them a chance to experience the full range of the work done at the company. When a worker had proven themselves hardworking and reliable, they could be offered full positions doing the work that suited them best. Employees of the Extra Board often received the same insurance and savings benefits, as well as plant-wide seniority rights, as other employees. 

Photos from the September 1957 Staley JournalImage attachmentImage attachment

Comment on Facebook

Local ownership provided these opportunities.

Wow, 13 years, I spent 1 year on the extra board and I thought that was a long time. You take chances hanging on that long, I got forced into 29 building for 6 months. Not my favorite place.

Load more
Go to Top