New Days. New Hours. The museum is now open Tu, Wed 1-4pm and Th 10am-1pm.
The Research Center is open by appointment only. See "Plan Your Visit" for details. 
Visit the museum online | Take a history walk down Lake Road

Research Online

Discover history at your fingertips! 

You can access hundreds of stories in our digital exhibits, browse thousands of photographs in our online catalog, or use databases for research.

Research Online

Archives and Articles

Online Exhibit

Discover Lake Forest/Lake Bluff history through the 300+ stories on our digital exhibits – and add a story or photograph yourself to help expand our archive and tell our community’s story.

Online Collections Catalog

Browse through over 6,000 photographs from our museum collection.

Timeline of Lake Forest History

Highlights chronological milestones in Lake Forest’s past. (Published in 2011 in honor of Lake Forest's sesquicentennial.)

Lake Forest City Charter

Text from Lake Forest’s City Charter, approved in 1861, amended in 1869

Boy Scouting in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Long-time Highland Park Scout John Ropiequet has written a comprehensive illustrated history of Scouting in our communities from its start in 1910 through 1944, based on over 1,000 items from The Lake Forester and other materials.

History of Epidemics

Presentation adapted from our 2019 panel discussion "Managing Epidemics Over Time"

History of Vaccines

An overview of the history of vaccination efforts put together by board member and medical microbiologist Tom Thomson

Online Tours of Lake Forest

Lake Road Walking Tour

Take a walk through architectural and community history along the Lake Forest shoreline. The tour will open in a simple PDF file that is formatted for phones and tablets. Tour is 1.25 miles and takes about 25 minutes to walk.


Online Databases

Telephone Directories, 1900-1968

Transcriptions of historic Lake Forest/Lake Bluff telephone books; very helpful for genealogy or house history

City of Lake Forest Official Database

Find all the Lake Forest alderman, city managers, treasurers, city marshals and mayors and their years of service

Lake Forest Lodge 1026, Petitions for Membership and Degrees

A database of genealogical information taken from petitions for membership and degrees for Lake Forest Masonic Lodge 1026. The database includes names, birthdates, professions, employers, and addresses for each of nearly 300 petitioners born before 1913. The original documents are largely from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and are available in our archives. (For petitioners born in 1913 or later – there are nearly 200 more – visit to access the complete database.)

The Lake Forester Online (1898-1944) - via the Lake Forest Library

The Lake Forest Library has a few historical newspaper databases available for research, including The Lake Forester (available to all) and The Chicago Tribune (library card required for login).

1877 List of Lake County Taxpayers (selections from LF/LB area)

Includes name, occupation, and occasionally biographical information. Transcribed from The Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois,  Chicago: Wm. Le Baron & Co, 1877.