Prairie Land Heritage Museum Honors Illinois’ Past

The story of how the prairie was tamed is closely connected to the equipment used to tame it. From lawn and garden tractors to massive steam engines, machinery was a backbone of development. This is the story that’s told at Prairie Land Heritage Museum in Jacksonville, Illinois.A photo of a wheat field against a blue sky with fluffy clouds.

The idea for the museum began with a group of people interested in preserving antique farming machinery and steam engines. In 1969, they established a farm machinery museum at the Morgan County Fairgrounds. The following year they hosted a Prairie Land Steam Show. The interest developed over the years, land was acquired, and little by little the vision of a Prairie Land Heritage Museum took hold.

If you’d like to see the Museum, plan to stay in downtown Jacksonville at the historic Blessing On State Bed and Breakfast—itself a classic from the 19th Century. A good time to visit the museum is during one of its special events, the biggest of which is occurring this fall.

The Annual Fall Festival & Steam Show, September 28-30, is a highlight at the museum and an excellent opportunity for visitors to experience thrashing, plowing, baling, log sawing, blacksmithing, sorghum making, rug weaving, and other old-time demonstrations and crafts that were critical to prairie life. Enjoy displays of gas engines, antique tractors, and other antique machinery. Check out the show’s flea market, the largest in downstate Illinois. There will also be live music throughout the three days, a tractor parade, and many activities especially for children. You can get a real taste of home cooking too, including ham and beans cooked by steam engines, corn bread, and pie.

Prairie Land Heritage Museum
1003 West Michigan, Jacksonville, IL

Annual Fall Festival & Steam Show
September 28-30, 2018
Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$8; children under 12 admitted free

A photo of the three-story inn, painted pale blue with white trim, on a nice summer day.Blessing on State Bed & Breakfast combines historic charm—a front porch with wicker furniture, for instance—with all the comforts guests relish today.
Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast
1109 West State Street, Jacksonville, IL

Blessings on State is a member of the Illinois Bed and Breakfast Association and offer a unique lodging experience!

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