Small Town Museums, Why to visit

Lindsay + Tim Stockhecke

The General John A Logan Museum is smallish, quaintish, and easy to miss for those not inclined to visit historical museums. Small-town museums often don’t come with the bells and whistles of a metropolitan museum but they carry the same weight and significance. They help to make sense of our world today, as confusing as it can be, and anchor us in the reality that those that came before faced their own set of unique challenges, ones we might learn from.

We have taken our children to museums small and large since before they could walk, an activity we have found surprisingly enjoyable with them. Despite the occasional moaning and groaning initially, they enter with a curiosity and open mind, and while not all museums are created equal we have found time and time again they are storytelling at its finest.

Thought to be one of the most noteworthy 19th-century Americans, General John A Logan is a well-known figure in Southern Illinois and across the US, with eight dedicated sculptures throughout the nation. Having been born in Murphysboro, he was an American soldier and politician during the 1800s and is seen as the most influential figure to recognize Memorial Day.

Here are our top five reasons to visit small town museums

  1. Storytelling | For as long as humans have existed they have passed down lessons, stories, folklore, and beyond to preserve history and maintain a connection to the land and our ancestors. This tradition only remains valuable as long as the following generations receive and honor these stories. By visiting small-town museums we become a part of this valuable exchange of moments as currency.
  2. Fun + Fascinating | Despite the above-mentioned occasional resistance visiting small-town museums is fun! Seeing the ways in which the community has curated museum details, written about the past, and presented it in an effective way is interesting and captivating. The thought and detail poured into scouring archives and preserving artifacts is a true art form.
  3. Takes you back in time | Visiting any museum is an opportunity to slow down and reflect. To be reminded of our place in time and in the world can be humbling and comforting simultaneously. Realizing the impact a single person, young or old, can make allows you to envision the impact you yourself can have in the world.
  4. Community Pride | The stories that make us, make a place, are riddled with complexities. Lessons learned, and mistakes made but visiting small-town museums allows you to draw your own conclusions and witness the pride of a place, often despite those nuances. You can see and feel the pride woven throughout a communities tapestry when you step foot in their museum and see how they choose to tell their tale.
  5. Show of Support | Small-town museums are vehicles of history, vehicles that often run on small budgets and generous volunteers. Funds can be scarce and visiting sends the message that preserving our stories matter.

Visit the General John A Logan museum in Murphysboro, Il during regular business hours, Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 1pm-4pm.

General John A Logan sculptpure located at Murphysboro Junior High

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