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. Our funding for programs comes from donations.

​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 Station 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 two floors for exhibiting artifacts, and an Auditorium for Programs, Guest Speakers, and Art Exhibits. The space can be rented for any outside event for a fee.

Our New Staff

Our part-time staff is happy to assist with guided tours, research projects, private meeting room reservations in our "Auditorium" and any other questions you have regarding our museum or the history of Niles.  

Barbara Karawacki, Museum Coordinator
Bianca Mariottini, Museum Curator


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.


We have an array of "Hands-On" events throughout the year, events that require a nominal fee that goes to the Presenter. Those events are usually different events from our monthly programs, and are "one-on-one."  We are currently making changes to bring new and exciting programs for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, so stay tuned!

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 monthly basis! If your "hobby" is available, we would love to display it!


Our tours are held on the day we are open: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Guided tours should be scheduled in advance by calling (847) 390-0160.

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 serviced right down the street!

Online Presence

Since 2013, The Niles Historical Society has been busy making their presence known on the Internet. Here are some of the URLS that you can use to find us:

• On Twitter:

• At the Niles-Maine Library District:

Our Email address:

Clubs and Organizations


Niles Historical Society has a medium-sized Auditorium (50-65 people) that is available for use by clubs and organizations. You do not have to live in Niles to use our facility. The hourly rental fee starts at $25/hour, depending on setup requirements and number of attendees.  If you are looking for a venue to host your meetings, please consider us and call (847) 390-0160.

Historical Society Memberships

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

  • Benefactor - $1,000.00 (one time donation)
  • Corporate Life Member - $400 (one time donation)
  • Individual Life Member - $200 (one time donation)
  • Family - $30 annual membership
  • Individual - $20 annual membership
  • Senior Citizen (62+) or student - $15 annual membership 

Call: (847) 390-0160 or email