Oak Park and River Forest are filled with fascinating stories about the people who walked the streets before us.
Oak Park River Forest Museum brings this history to life through exhibits and programs at the corner of Lake Street and Lombard Avenue in a 125-year-old Oak Park Landmark that started its life in 1898 as a firehouse. We are proud to be the repository of so much community history and take seriously our mission as historians and storytellers.
That’s why in partnership with the high school community, this fall we created a new featured exhibit, “Ever Changing, Yet the Same: OPRF High School at 150,” which puts the spotlight on Oak Park and River Forest High School in its Sesquicentennial year. This story is told in colorful artifacts, evocative photos, profiles of alumni, and a timeline that traces the birth and expansion of a central community institution.
While we invite residents, students and tourists to visit OPRF Museum and our exhibits and research center, we also bring stories out to neighborhoods in both villages. Our guided walking tours bring history to life on sidewalks and streets. And our free Black History Bike Tour of Oak Park celebrates the unique contributions of African American residents over more than 100 years.
“There is a powerful connection with the past when you stand right where history happened,” said OPRF Museum Executive Director Frank Lipo. “Our job is to make history come alive for our community.”
Check out oprfmuseum.org to learn more.
Oak Park River Forest Museum
The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest is the community’s storyteller, making history relevant in tangible ways that positively impact today’s residents including walking tours, school field trips, traveling exhibits, and house research. We operate Oak Park River Forest Museum in an 1898 Oak Park Landmark at Lake and Lombard next to Stevenson Park. We invested $1 million in private funds to create a welcoming space in a former firehouse. Exhibits include our new “Ever-Changing, Yet the Same: OPRF High School at 150” and “Open House: The Legacy of Fair Housing.” We are not supported by tax dollars and a gift of any amount funds our 2024 activities, research center, and knowledgeable staff.
Learn more and donate at oprfmuseum.org or 708-848-6755.