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Welcome to the Labor & Industry Museum

The Labor & Industry Museum is the only public institution devoted to the history of the labor and industry of Belleville and southwestern Illinois. Belleville was one of the most significant centers for the growth of Illinois industry, which ranked third in the nation in the late 19th century.

The Museum's mission is to chronicle and interpret the area's rich cultural heritage of labor and industry. 

Belleville contributed significantly to the industrial movement by establishing some of the earliest and largest manufacturing establishments in the burgeoning United States.

The Labor & Industry Museum, is based in the Conrad Bornman House on historic Church Street in Belleville. This 1837 building, rescued from the wrecking ball by the Belleville Historic Preservation Commission, was a witness to the enormous development of the 19th century industry. The building, which has undergone an extensive renovation, houses permanent and special exhibition galleries, as well as an educational center and archives.

The Museum's permanent collection includes:
  • Industrial Hall
    Permanent display chronicling the importance of Belleville's cast-iron stove industry and pattern-making.
  • Union Hall
    Collection library of documents and books chronicling the struggles of the working man and woman and the creation of the American middle class.
  • Historic Archives and Library
    Collection of 4,535 historic images and the U.S. Patents awarded to area residents since 1850.
  • Artifacts
    See industry exhibits ranging from casting and machining to glass-making, brewing, brick-making and stencil-making. The museum's collection includes 1,073 historical objects. Take a step back in time and see how southwestern Illinois was built.

Browse our site to learn more about Belleville's industrial past or find out how you can become involved in helping to preserve Belleville's history.

Check Out the Online Photo Collection

Knowledge about the struggles and determination of work has never been so important in today's world

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