Explore Vandalia, Illinois - The Fayette County Museum

Fayette County Museum

Fayette County Museum

In 1823, the General Assembly deeded the land and provided the funds for the first structure built on this site. The legislative act stated that the land and the funding was to be used to erect a "House of Divine Worship, free for all denominations to worship in...." The little House of Divine Worship was used by many denominations and also as a school and meeting room. As time passed the congregations grew and eventually built their own churches. In 1867, the old House of Divine Worship was moved to a new location and the Presbyterians built the church currently on the site. This building was erected at a cost of $15,000. The Early Gothic Revival styling is a rare, surviving example of ecclesiastical architectural design from the 1860's time period in this area.

Fayette County Museum Displays

In 1970 the Presbyterians built a new church. Historical Vandalia, Inc. purchased the old building with plans to open a museum on the first floor. On June 10th, 1979, the Fayette County Museum was opened to the public for the first time. Staffed by volunteers and operating on donations, the museum is one of Vandalia, Illinois' major tourist attractions. Each year thousands of school children and tourists have the opportunity to view artifacts dating back to the days when Vandalia was the Capitol of Illinois from 1819 to 1839. In 1982 the building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Fayette County Museum Highlights

Flax Wheel - 1820

Flax Wheel

Military Uniforms

Military Uniforms

Military Uniforms

School Room

Military Uniforms


Military Uniforms


Click On Photo To Enlarge

12' x 6' mural reproduced by local artist, Larraine White, depicting Vandalia as it appeared during the capitol days from 1819 to 1839. Boudoir with chiffarobe, fainting couch and many men's and women's clothing dating from the 19th and early 20th century.
The autobiography of Frederick Holmann, 1819 to 1828. Flax wheel that was brought from Hanover, Germany with the Ferdinand Ernst Colony in 1820.
Many very old and unique kitchen items including a cider press, wooden lemon squeezer, butter churn and much more. One of five existing pieces of furniture, a paper press, that was used in the Capitol.
Parlor area that includes a square grand piano, zither, kerosene lamp, and a wedding gown worn in 1893. Reed organ saved from a fire that destroyed the St. James Lutheran Church in 1893.
A school room with recitation bench from from a one room school, slates, brass hand bell, round tin lunch pail, text books and desks. Many items of early children's clothing trimmed with Battenburg Lace, tatting and crochet.
Very large collection of medical documents. Civil War items as well as uniforms and other artifacts from the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Tools and farm equipment including a froe, draw knives, planes, wheat cradle, seeders, broad axes and more. Early typewriters, office and business equipment.
China, crystal, porcelain, silver, pressed glass and much more. Special exhibits each month which may also feature Abraham Lincoln artifacts.

Fayette County Museum Location And Hours Of Operation

Fayette County Museum
301 W Main
Vandalia, Illinois 62471

For more information and to schedule tours
Phone - (618) 283-4866 or (618) 283-1534

Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4 pm
Sundays (April-December), from 1 pm to 4 pm
We are closed on Sundays from January to March
Museum is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day

There is no admission charge but donations are greatly appreciated