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Galena / Jo Daviess County Historical Society and Museum
Ranked #3 of 50 things to do in Galena
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: It's worth the climb up the steep stairway to see what's inside this lovely Italianate home built in 1858: an actual lead mine, Civil War memorabilia, items honoring Ulysses S. Grant (including an original painting depicting Robert E. Lee's surrender to Grant), plus other historical articles from Galena and Jo Daviess County.
Reviewed April 8, 2014

Very friendly and very knowledgeable. They gave me the information They gave me other suggestions on what to see.

Thank Jennifer C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"mine shaft"
in 33 reviews
"civil war"
in 47 reviews
"lead mining"
in 12 reviews
"general grant"
in 16 reviews
"his wife"
in 13 reviews
"gift shop"
in 14 reviews
"interesting displays"
in 4 reviews
"worth the entrance fee"
in 4 reviews
"main street"
in 14 reviews
"self guided"
in 8 reviews
"president grant"
in 12 reviews
"tour begins"
in 3 reviews
"walking tour"
in 7 reviews
"second floor"
in 8 reviews
"love history"
in 5 reviews
"on display"
in 4 reviews
"history buff"
in 4 reviews
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199 - 203 of 270 reviews

Reviewed March 5, 2014

Some of my best childhood AND adult memories involve Galena. We went there all the time as kids, sloppily eating caramel apples on the sidewalk. I got engaged at a bed and breakfast there. I had the best day of my life in Galena.

I mean...Galena. Touristy? Sure. But charming nevertheless.

Thank clearing_boxer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2014


We loved this town, the sites, food, people, history. You name it Galena Il has it. If you love history, historic buildings,and National treasures Galenea is a must!!!!!!!

Thank Thomas M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2014

The house itself is very cool! They did a Hologram presentation with President Grant and his wife that was very entertaining. There is also a room you can go in to view an actual Lead mine shaft. Upstairs there are more artifacts from the War of 1812 and the Civil war and artifacts from the early times in Galena. A flag was on display brought back from a damaged ship in the War of 1812. Great place to visit especially for families and history buffs. Admission was very reasonable too!

3  Thank Maryann W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 16, 2014

One expects local "historical museums" to be quiet, dusty affairs, heavily populated with 1920s moth collections and long-departed mayors.The Galena/Jo Daviess Museum, though, shatters such stereotypes with a lively, informative and very unexpected celebration of history.

Galena has several sets of steep steps from Main Street upwards. The Museum is one level up (afterwards, walk to the top...what a view!) The $8 admission ticket is purchased in the gift shop to the right.

In the historic building's parlor room, you settle in to plush 19th century chairs to view a terrific hologram of the Grants welcoming you. Ulysses's voice is more high-pitched than I expected, but both he and Julia were convincing. The Galena history and Grant history is sort of mixed together in places on the first floor, but it's all good. Check out the lead mine shaft...I have new respect for the courage and strength of miners. Tough work.

The Grant artifacts are fun, including cigars and a single boot. The famous Thomas Nast painting of the Surrender is much larger than I envisioned and incorporates interactive screens which enable you to identify who's-who in the iconic painting. One display profiled the unusual number of Civil War generals with Galena roots.

The local history is well-explored, too. In addition to impressive exhibits about lead-mining, there are good displays about the "driftless zone", the Sac and Fox tribes, and steamboats. Check out the ancient telephone switchboard; a "party line" is like a "chatroom" I guess. A 3D topo map of the region really helped us get our bearings. A mural depicting early farming in Jo Daviess County had a vaguely Diego Rivera feel. And we learn who JoDaviess was, too!

The place was lively when we were there...A busload of senior citizens rolled in from Wisconsin. The volunteer staff were gracious and well-informed. The gift shop is full of great stuff. Be sure to get a chunk of Galena zinc and a U.S. Grant bobblehead!

1  Thank cdub333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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