Lakeview Museum opened its doors in 1965, but the seed for the museum was planted in 1954 when 26 art and science groups joined forces to create a facility that would house exhibitions and educational programs of interest to the community.
In 1961, a capital campaign raised $1 million for construction of Lakeview Center of Arts & Sciences. The Planetarium opened as the first phase in 1963 and the galleries and support facilities opened March 28, 1965. In 1978, an additional $1 million was raised to upgrade the facility and the name was changed to Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences. The Museum was accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1973 and continues to hold the prestigious Accredited status.
The museum features exhibition galleries, Planetarium, Illinois Folk Art Gallery, Discovery Center, valuable collections of fine arts, folk arts and natural history, and educational programming for all ages. Lakeview is the largest private museum in downstate Illinois and serves a varied audience of both rural and urban populations. The Museum has a membership base of 4,000 and attracts 125,000 visitors annually. More than 200,000 students and adults are served through outreach programs.