Niles Historical Society (and The Historical & Cultural Center)

NHS Building front

The Niles Historical Society (NHS) was chartered in 1971 and the Niles Historical & Cultural Center it sponsors is open year-round with no cost for admission. We would appreciate a donation if possible after any tour.

​About the Historical Center

The Niles Historical and Cultural Center is located at 8790 N. Milwaukee Avenue, in Niles, Illinois 60714. It is one of the largest museums in the northeast area, staffed by the Niles Historical Society. We are part of N.E.IL.: Northeast Illinois Association of Museums.

The building was formerly the Cook County Sheriff's Building from 1923 until they closed their doors permanently in 1984. The building is one of the oldest municipal structures in Niles and is a local landmark.

Our History

On March 25, 1985 the existing showcases were moved from the hallway at the Trident Center, formerly located at 8060 Oakton Street, to the new Historical Society at 8970 Milwaukee Avenue. The Grand opening and dedication of the museum was on October 25, 1986: it featured a Chuck Wagon Festival. The event was sparked off with the presence of the village dignitaries, guests, and members of the Niles V.F.W. Memorial Post 7712. At the dedication, the museum was presented with its first flag. The new facility far exceeds the original location. The Historical Center has three floors for exhibiting artifacts, and an Auditorium for Programs, Guest Speakers, Art Exhibits. The space can be rented for any outside event for a fee.


Starting in January 15, 2008, a long anticipated renovation was started on the museum and ended December 28, 2009. During this time we had to vacate the building for quite awhile due to the wall-breaking, extreme dust, fluctuating temperatures and weather, and the noise during the construction. Day-to-day work was conducted outside of the museum.

We had many areas of the museum addressed:

  • Construction of a new elevator for access to all floors for those who need assistance and for moving of heavy artifacts.
  • Making the entrance-way to our facility easier for those who may need assistance by installing a new door, concrete ramp, and handrails.
  • Added ramps to replace steps in certain areas of the building to make them more handicapped accessible.
  • installing new carpeting on the first floor and refinishing the upper floors.
  • Rehabbing the first floor washroom to make it accessible for seniors, wheelchairs, and disabled individuals.
  • Adding a water purification system for drinking.
  • Major improvements to the general well-being of the building.

Our grand re-opening was on April 25, 2010.


On the fourth Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. Usually January through November, there will be programs hosted by the Niles Historical Society. Doors open at 1 p.m. for most programs unless noted.

We also host Saturday Events! We have an array of "Hands-On" events throughout the year, events that require a nominal fee. Those events are usually different events from

We are proud of our Center and wish to share it with you. The Society encourages our village organizations and businesses to participate in displaying their own history.We even have a display case for anyone ho wishes to display their "collections" on a mo9nthly basis!
Please join us in a tour of our three floors.


Our tours are held on the day we are open: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tours can last from one-half hour to One-and-a-half hours, depending on your time allotment. A Full Tour is comprises of all three floors. We give all guided tours. This way our Docents can give you interesting facts on our artifacts that you might miss if you tour yourself.

We love giving tours to individuals, families, small groups, school groups, businesses, and nursing homes. We've even given tours to people who are waiting while having their cars worked on right down the street!
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Historical Society Memberships

Here is a list of the types of membership and costs:

  • Business 2 - $400 (annual membership; includes advertising in Newsletter. Contact us)
  • Business 1 - $75 (annual membership; includes advertising in Newsletter. Contact us)
  • Benefactor - $1,000.00 (one time donation)
  • Individual Life Member - $200 (one time donation)
  • Patron - $60, annual membership
  • Institutional - $40, annual membership
  • Family - $25, annual membership
  • Contributor - $25, annual membership
  • Individual - $15, annual membership
  • Individual Senior Citizen - $10, annual membership for seniors aged 55 and older
  • Student - $5, annual membership

Contact: (847) 390-0160, ask for membership chairperson