The museum and research center are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please enjoy browsing our collection and the Twenty in the 20s exhibit online.

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

Archive and Articles

Studio 509 Online

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

Lake Forest City Charter

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


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.)