The Staley Museum
The Staley Museum opened its doors to the public during the summer of 2015. We are excited be a full-fledged member of our community. Here you will find updates and news about the museum and exciting events going on.
The Staley Museum and this web site are both works in progress. We encourage visitors to continue to check back with us and see how we are progressing. We would also like to encourage visitors to the site to share any stories or information they may have regarding Staley history.
Photos, documents, articles and memorabilia are all welcome and appreciated. Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Staley museum may contact us through via the Artifact Donation Form found on this site. Also, for anyone in our area who wishes to be a Volunteer at the museum and offer their time and/or expertise, please go to the Volunteer Form and fill out your information so that we may contact you personally. We invite you to Contact Us.
The Staley Museum is open year round; Tuesday – Saturday from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, and on the last Sunday of the month (March – November) from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.
The Staley Story
A.E. Staley was a big man with big dreams and had the determination to make those dreams a reality. Although he did not arrive on the scene until the 1900’s, his impact of Decatur was such that he is counted as one of the founding fathers. The largeness of his dreams and of his civic minded generosity has contributed in major ways to the city we know today.
It was A.E.’s pioneering vision in the area of soy beans, both the cultivation and processing, that gave Decatur the name “Soy Bean Capitol of the World.”
In the period of one decade, 1920-1930, A.E. Staley made significant contributions to the community of Decatur, being the driving force behind the creation of Lake Decatur, the Staley viaduct, the Staley Office Building, and the formation of the Decatur Staleys football club, later to become the Chicago Bears.
The story of A.E. Staley is one in which the city of Decatur has the right to feel great pride. It is a story which forms a major part in the industrial and agricultural history of central Illinois. We look forward to sharing that pride and history as we work toward the opening of the Staley Museum.
Wednesday July 1st
We’re pleased to announce that the museum will reopen to the public on Tuesday, July 7 with regular hours.
The following safeguards will be in place to protect all visitors and staff:
1. If you’re exhibiting any of the following symptoms please stay at home:
Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
2. Masks must be worn on museum premises at all times and covering both the nose and mouth. If you do not have a mask, one can be provided for you.
3. Public restrooms will be closed to the public.
4. Please maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
5. You may be asked to wait outside if the museum has reached its maximum capacity of 10 visitors at a time.
Visitors that refuse to abide by these guidelines will be asked to leave the museum.
Inside the museum, we ask visitors to refrain from touching exhibits and furniture and make use of the hand sanitizer provided in multiple locations.
Tuesday – Saturday 1:00PM to 4:00PM
Last Sunday of the Month (March-November Only) 1:00PM to 4:00PM
For questions or concerns please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 217-422-1212. ... See MoreSee Less
Friday June 26th
In 1921, the Staley laboratory was divided into two main functions - factory control and research. For the factory division, the laboratory workers acted as a watchdog for the quality and yield of the product, helping keep the manufacturing departments running smoothly and operating at the highest degree of efficiency. In regards to research, starch and textile experts spent their entire time examining various starches, their composition, properties, and such. They also spent time listening to Staley customers’ complaints and problems, thus focusing on constant improvement of product.
Howard File, the chief chemist, often contributed to the Staley Journal in many articles describing the laboratory goings on at the Staley company. You can read more about the Staley laboratory workers in the April 1921 issue of the Staley Journal.
Photo taken early 1921.
Standing left to right: Howard File, Chief Chemist; Irwin Beilsmith, Philip Wills, Lowell Gill, Chrystal Fall, Johnny Bauer.
Seated left to right: Elmer Young, Don Hansen, Herman Hupp, “Brownie” Bickas, and Charlie Burkey. ... See MoreSee Less
Not to be picky, but isn't he 'Standing, First On The Left"?
My husband's grandfather. Back row, standing first on the left.
This is very cool!
Wednesday June 10th
The Staley Fellowship Club Journal, predecessor to the Staley Journal and the Staley News, was first published in June 1917.
On the cover it reads: "A monthly publication fro the purpose of promoting the general welfare and safety of our members."
Top Left to Right: C.G. Keck (a plant foreman and president of the Fellowship Club), Woodrow Wilson (president of the United States), and AE Staley Sr. (company president)
Bottom: George Chamberlain (General Superintendent of the plant)
Contents of the June 1917 journal can be found on our website, along with other journal issues dating to 1956. ... See MoreSee Less
The history keeps pouring out!! I love reading & learning of back in the day!!! Thank you!