Collections & Research


Artifacts & Manuscripts in Our Collection

The Elmhurst History Museum cares for more than 15,000 artifacts in its permanent collection including furniture, textiles, decorative arts, paintings and other items from the everyday life of Elmhurst residents or related to Elmhurst history. Additionally, the Elmhurst History Museum manuscript collection is comprised of photographs, correspondence, business files, maps, personal papers, and organizational records. The Museum’s research room provides many resources for genealogical, house, and family research.

Collections Policy

A museum's collections policy is the foundation of any collecting historical institution—it dictates the mission of the museum and the scope of its collection. The foundation for the EHM collection policy follows procedures from the most recent edition of Museum Registration Methods, published by the American Alliance of Museums. Download the Elmhurst History Museum's Collections Policy.

Search Our Photograph Archive

The Elmhurst History Museum has created a digital archive of photographs and manuscripts related to Elmhurst history that is available to patrons at any time. To access the Hub with our digital collection go to our CatalogIt Hub via this link: View the Photo Archive

Order Photos From Our Archives

High resolution photos from our Collection are available for use/reproduction by permission and upon payment of appropriate fees. Download our Photo Order Form here: Photo Ordering Information and Fees

The Elmhurst History Museum's Research Room and Library is dedicated to patrons who are interested in learning more about Elmhurst history. Whether you have questions about ancestors, the history of your house, or are curious about Elmhurst history in general -- the reference services staff is at your service by appointment. The Research Room's library of books, microfiche, and archives offer many resources to find the answers to these questions and more.


Patrons interested in researching their homes, family or business history, and local Elmhurst history come to us as a valued community resource. Some of the many tools available are:

  • Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
  • Biography files
  • Cemetery and funeral records
  • Census records
  • Vital Statistics records
  • Church records
  • Approximately 15,000 photographs
  • Manuscript collection
  • City of Elmhurst directories
  • Telephone books

Got a Question About Elmhurst history? Ask the Historian!

Are you curious about a monument in your neighborhood? Need to know more about an event that took place when you were a kid? Want to know more about the name of your street? Our Curator of Collections has a deep knowledge of local history, so go ahead and "Ask the Historian" by following this link: Ask the Historian.