What we're about


The mission of the Highland Park Historical Society is to preserve our community’s past, to inspire an appreciation of our history and culture and share with the community and scholars the rich history of Highland Park, Illinois.

The Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Society’s operations, exhibits and research collections are housed in the National Register-listed Jean Butz James house.


The Highland Park Historical Society maintains or preserves three historic structures: the Jean Butz James Museum, the Francis Stupey Cabin and the Robert G. Robinison Bandstand. Click on each image below for more information on each of our sites.

Exhibits and Education

Throughout the year, the Society hosts exhibits, lectures and educational events at our historic sites as well as throughout the community. Educational Field Trips are conducted throughout the year and Teacher Toolkits are available by appointment.

Research Center

The Highland Park Historical Society Archives and Research Center holds approximately 700 cubic feet of research materials. The repository’s collection documents the distinct, diverse community of Highland Park, Illinois and its citizens. The Museum houses a wide variety of items. Some collections of note:

Highland Park City Records; and local collections documenting business, progressive and vocational education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cultural life, and photography.
Architecture records of J. Marion Gutnayer and Robert Arnold
Jesse Lowe Smith Photographic Botany Collection
Highland Park Woman’s Club
Ravina Festival programs
Ravinia Artists
Photographs of Highland Park and environs
100 years of Highland Park High School Yearbooks
Oral Histories
Local Artifacts
In 2010 the Society became the recipient of an $86,000 Basic Processing and Preservation Planning Project matching grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the granting agency of the National Archives and Records Administration. This grant has allowed us to focus on organizing, preserving and making the Collections accessible to the public online.


Upcoming events (2)

The Pilgrim Kitchen & The Harvest Celebration of 1621: Plimoth Patuxet Museum

The Pilgrim Kitchen & The Harvest Celebration of 1621: Plimoth Patuxet Museum, Plymouth Massachusetts

As part of the research for his book, The Kitchen, John Ota travelled to Plymouth, Massachusetts where he cooked a meal over an open fire with Pilgrim Foodways historian Kathleen Wall. On the 400th anniversary of the Harvest Feast between the New England colonists and the Wampanoag people, John will share his experiences of the culinary history, architecture, cooking methods and the dishes from the first Thanksgiving of 1621. John’s presentation will include multiple images, 1621 recipes as well as truths and misconceptions about this favorite holiday occasion. Yes, there was turkey - but it was not the main event!

Biography: John Ota has been involved with architecture and design since 1978. He has worked in architecture offices in Toronto, New York and Vancouver and has degrees from the School of Architecture at Columbia University and the University of British Columbia. He has also written articles on architecture and design for major newspapers and magazines across Canada. He is an active member of the Culinary Historians of Canada.


80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack

Online event

Pearl Harbor - A Day of Infamy

Highland Park Historical Society will host “Pearl Harbor – A Day of Infamy” with Robert Mueller, a battlefield historian. at the Highland Park Library, 494 Laurel Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7th, 2021. *Check later because this might go to Zoom.

It was a day that our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would never forget. It was a day that would live in infamy forever more – December 7, 1941. That morning Japanese warplanes appeared over the Hawaiian Islands to launch a surprise aerial bombardment of American air and naval installations. It was the event that propelled the United States into the Second World War. Battlefield expert Robert Mueller reviews the why and how the Japanese almost wiped out the American Pacific Fleet in one fell swoop. Using individual stories the men who responded to the attack, Mr. Mueller presents the tactics and the consequences of the most treacherous assault ever launched upon American soil. The program ends with a review of the surviving relics and, appropriately, a visit to National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Robert Mueller caught the battlefield bug when, as a child, he visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Retirement brought him the opportunity to visit and study the battlefields of Europe. He has written four visitor guides to the battlefields of Northern Europe under the Fields of War imprint which have garnered eleven national book awards including being honored by the Military Writers Society of America. His descriptive format and engaging writing style bring the history, significance, and people of the battlefield to life. He performed his military service in the US Army Signal Corps during the Vietnam era.

For further information, please contact the Highland Park Historical Society:[masked] or [masked]. Admission is free


Past events (83)

This Land is Your Land: The Folksongs of Woody Guthrie

Stupey Log Cabin

Photos (51)