The Ethnic Heritage Museum
Join us as local history lives on in a quaint home built in 1850's. Known today as The Ethnic Heritage Museum it is here that you will find six fascinating galleries devoted to the primary immigrant groups that settled in southwest Rockford, IL. African-American, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and Polish.
Through displays of early Rockford area maps, everyday artifacts, vintage clothing and more, visitors of all ages can learn about Old World customs and traditions. Historical photographs tell the stories of the earliest settlers who established factories near the old "waterpower district" and built their homes nearby. By comparing early with current lifestyles, the museum strives to bridge the gap between yesterday and today - encouraging visitors to relive the past with a clear focus on Rockford's bright future.
The Graham-Ginestra House Museum
This 1857 Greek Revival, Italianate architectural style Graham-Ginestra House (GGH) is on the National Register of Historic Places in Winnebago County, Illinois (1979). The house represents the homestead of two prominent families who started successful businesses in Rockford: Freeman Graham, Sr. and Leo Ginestra. Therese Ginestra Schmeltzer inherited this home and opened it as a museum to preserve its fine history. After her death an investor purchased GGH (2004) and opened it for a short time.
In November 2016 Ethnic Heritage Museum purchased GGH. It fits perfectly with the "museum mission of preserving the cultural history of Rockford's early beginnings in the area."