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Naper Settlement brings together historically important buildings and their stories, connecting visitors to Naperville’s heritage and beyond. The Benck Family Agriculture Center will build on that foundation, providing an immersive opportunity to learn about Naperville’s storied agricultural history and how it connects to the farming story of the region and nation today.
The exhibits will feature STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning opportunities that will highlight such themes as food production, planting and harvesting of crops, mechanics of simple machines, climate, weather, natural resources, and the economic value of agriculture to communities.
Projected costs for the building are $ 3.66 million. Funding sources include generous support from donors, grants, corporations, and foundations, including a significant gift from the Benck Family Foundation. We also thank Wheatland Plowing Match for their donation of the Wood Bros. Thresher.
Building construction has begun and will wrap up in late 2022. Naper Settlement is in the pre-programming stages of designing the exhibits and experiences that will be housed in the Center.
We have reimagined the All Hallows Eve experience and transitioned many of the event’s activities outdoors to help preserve and protect our historic buildings and artifacts. Stops inside our smaller capacity buildings will no longer be available including the Martin Mitchell Mansion. The event will continue to provide indoor performances in our historic buildings that have larger capacities including Century Memorial Chapel, the Carriage House, and the Meeting House. All Hallows Eve was originally conceptualized and created in 2004, and in its first year, the event welcomed 2,000 visitors. Since that time, All Hallows Eve has seen significant growth and has become a Halloween tradition for many local families. In 2022, the event welcomed over 5,500 visitors and over 125 volunteers. We thank the community for their support and are excited to share the new immersive outdoor experience with you. For a full list of activities, please visit NaperSettlement.org/AllHallowsEve.
All Hallows Eve is recommended for families with children 16 and under. Each experience has a “scare factor” recommendation that can be viewed near the activity’s entrance and inside the All Hallows Eve event guide available at the event’s entrance.
For adults 21+, please visit us the following weekend, October 21-22 for Howlin’ at the Moon.
No Halloween costumes or masks are permitted at All Hallows Eve for the safety of our visitors and staff.
Our volunteers are a crucial part of bringing this one-of-a-kind event to the community! To learn more about volunteer opportunities in both performer and non-performer roles, please click here.
All Naperville Heritage Society events take place rain or shine. However, in the case of unsafe weather - lightning, tornado, etc., Naper Settlement will close the grounds and cancel the event for the safety of its visitors. All ticket sales are final. No refunds, exchanges, or rain checks will be given in the event of inclement weather. Dated tickets may not be exchanged. All events and prices are subject to change without notice. Special event rates may vary.
Free parking is available in the Municipal Parking Garage on the corner of Eagle and Aurora and in the Naper Settlement visitor's lot on Porter Avenue and Webster Street.
For hotel accommodations, please book with our sponsor, Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Naperville, by clicking here.
Naperville Heritage Society Special Events have additional policies to the Naper Settlement's museum policy.
All Naperville Heritage Society events take place rain or shine. However, in the case of unsafe weather - lightning, tornado, etc. - Naper Settlement will close the grounds and cancel the event for the safety of its patrons.
All events and prices are subject to change without notice. Special event rates may vary. All ticket sales are final. No refunds, exchanges, or rain checks will be given in the event of inclement weather. Dated tickets may not be exchanged.
Email or call 630.420.6010 weekdays between 8:30 AM and 4 PM.
The chapel will comfortably seat 175 people.
The aisle is 50 feet long from the stair to the archway.
Yes, the chapel is air-conditioned.
Candles are not permitted in the chapel, with the exception of memorial candles or a unity candle and two tapers that light it.
The suggested address for wedding invitations is 523 S. Webster Street, Naperville, IL 60540. This is the address for Naper Settlement's main office, which is also the closest physical address to the chapel. To add clarity for your guests, it is recommended you include "On the Grounds of Naper Settlement."
Unless otherwise noted, the entrance for Chapel wedding guests will be through the parking lot gate along Aurora Avenue.
Guests are welcome to park in our Chapel lot on Aurora Avenue, which has parking for 22 guests, including two handicap parking spots. Your guests may also park in the Naper Settlement Visitor Parking Lot, located on the corner of Webster Street and Porter Avenue one block south of Aurora Avenue There is also additional parking at the Municipal Center, located directly across the street from the Chapel parking lot. Parking at the Municipal Center is permitted after 5:00 PM on weekdays and anytime on the weekends. The Naper Settlement Visitor Parking Lot and the Municipal Center parking lots are public parking areas. Unfortunately we are unable to reserve these areas specifically for your guests.
Decorations are allowed, provided that bows are attached with something that doesn't scratch or stick to the pews. A rubber band or ribbon works best and is preferred. Floral arrangements are permitted. Every bride has a certain vision for their special day and we are open to any ideas you may have. Please call a member of our Guest Services Team at 630.420.6010 with your ideas, and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
The plaque recognizes Naperville homes and buildings considered architecturally and/or historically important to Naperville. It identifies structures that are significant to Naperville's history through the integrity of their location, architecture, materials and historical association.
To secure your member tickets, please login to your online member account by choosing SIGN IN in the upper right of the page. Please secure your member tickets ahead of time. If a special event sells out, you will not be able to claim your member tickets. If you do not have a member account set up or have questions, please reach out to us at 630.420.6010. To learn more about Naper Settlement membership, please click here.
Free parking is available in the Municipal Parking Garage on the corner of Eagle and Aurora and in the Naper Settlement visitor's lot on Porter Avenue and Webster Street. Additional covered parking can be found in the Water Street Parking Garage at 130 Water Street ( view the City of Naperville's Parking Viewer for this garage).
All beverage tickets are cash only. All beer and wine purchases require a beverage ticket. Beverage tickets are $7 each. An ATM is available near the Naper Settlement bandstand. Many food vendors will have credit card options.
Yes, we encourage you to dress in costume and participate in our Halloween Costume Contest! To enter, please visit our photo booth located in the Blacksmith Shop.
Please bring your printed tickets. Blankets and/or lawn chairs are highly recommended. No seating is provided on the lawn. The following items are prohibited:
For hotel accommodations, please book with our sponsor, Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Naperville, by clicking here.
The Birck Family Innovation Gateway will be a warm, energetic, and inviting entrance to the museum. Currently, visitors enter through a building that is non-ADA compliant nor stroller friendly. This new space will offer clear wayfinding for all visitors.
The Birck Family Innovation Gateway's centerpiece is an interactive digital exhibit filled with images and stories that can be explored by person, theme, timeline, or artifact. The digital exhibit experience will share a whole and inclusive history narrative where people will be able to upload approved documents, photographs and stories in a WIKI format inviting multiple perspectives and widening the narrative. This forward-thinking project will create a living legacy to inspire current and future generations and steer a path to a better tomorrow by showcasing our history, diversity, community leaders, and growth.
The Birck Family Innovation Gateway's construction is funding dependent, and we plan to break ground in 2022.
You can help in a variety of ways! We are looking for donations of all kinds, including financial support, oral histories, and artifacts. We are incredibly excited to get this project off the ground and with your help, we can make this happen. Donate online today or email us to learn more
For information on admission fees and hours, please view the admissions and hours.
Naper Settlement is located at the corner of Aurora Avenue and Webster Street at the south end of downtown Naperville, which is just 28 miles west of Chicago. The address is: 523 S Webster Street Naperville, IL 60540
Yes. The lower level of the Century Memorial Chapel holds 80 to 85 people, and the tavern in the Pre-Emption House holds 44 people.
Unvarnished: Housing Discrimination in the Northern and Western United States is a free online exhibit examining the history of residential segregation in America by spotlighting six communities from California to Connecticut and placing their histories within a national context. Visitors will learn how the large-scale system of housing discrimination based on exclusionary practices defined by race, ethnicity, or religion intensified in the 1890s and over much of the twentieth century. The exhibit features articles, videos, expert interviews, oral histories, primary documents, and photographs that showcase how informal localized systems of segregation became national policy and were sustained over time, culminating in the mid-twentieth century Fair Housing Movement.
Topics covered include segregation, immigration, The Great Migration, sundown town legacies, discriminatory zoning, restrictive covenants, suburbanization, the fight for open housing, and their contemporary legacies.
To view the online exhibit, please visit UnvarnishedHistory.org
Along with an overview of the national context, the following communities are spotlighted:
· Appleton, WI
· Brea, CA
· Columbus, OH
· Naperville, IL
· Oak Park, IL
· West Hartford, CT
These six communities demonstrate how housing discrimination manifested itself in different ways across the United States often based on race, ethnicity, or religion. Each of the six communities was selected because their history museum or cultural organization is dedicated to doing the work of researching, understanding, and acknowledging their community’s history of exclusion.
Unvarnished: Housing Discrimination in the Northern and Western United States online exhibit was funded by a prestigious Museum National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s museums. The $1.5 million project was a grant for $750,000 with a 1:1 match met through consortium member staff efforts and the Healing Illinois Grant Program.
From 2016 to 2022, a team of public historians, scholars, academic advisors, subject-matter experts, museum practitioners, and educators were dedicated to researching and developing Unvarnished and its teacher resources. In addition to providing the national context, the project’s consortium did extensive research into their own community’s legacies of segregation and housing discrimination. Following best practices, a team of nationally recognized scholars peer-reviewed the exhibit content.
The project also had an extensive audience research component. Nearly 15,000 teachers, museum professionals, museum-goers, and the general public participated in the research component of the exhibit and curriculum development. Fifty museums participated in the audience research, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, Historic New England, History Nebraska, National Civil Rights Museum, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Dennis Cremin, Ph.D., Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Ph.D., Creative Strategies 360°, Santa Fe, NM
Gretchen Sorin, Ph.D., Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, Cooperstown, NY
Thomas J. Sugrue, Ph.D., New York University, New York City, NY
Noelle Trent, Ph.D., National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN
Charmaine Jefferson, J.D. Kélan Resources Los Angeles, CA
Susie Wilkening, Wilkening Consulting, Seattle, WA
William Adair, Museum Education Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Melanie Adams, Ph.D., Consultant, Washington, D.C.
Dina Bailey, Consultant, Mountain Top Vision, Atlanta, GA
Sarah E. Doherty, Ph.D., Historian, North Park University, Chicago, IL
International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York City, NY
Paige Glotzer, Ph.D., Historian, University of Wisconsin, WI
James W. Loewen, Ph.D., Sociologist, Washington, D.C. (1942-2021)
Michelle Moon, Saltworks Interpretive Services, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Night Kitchen Interactive
A section of UnvarnishedHistory.org is dedicated to educators and includes resources for utilizing the online exhibit in middle and high school lesson planning. The Unvarnished educator resources are organized into four modules that can be used individually or combined into a full unit of study. The development of the educational resources was guided by extensive teacher research, including surveys, focus groups, and a teacher review team. The teacher resources were developed using the Common Core Standards for Literacy in History and Social Studies by the National Council on Social Studies.
Until the late 1960s, like nearly all of DuPage and Will County, Naperville, was virtually all White. It is estimated that over 70% of towns and cities in Illinois with over 1,000 residents were sundown towns — all white communities or counties that purposefully maintained their status through harassment, custom, discriminatory laws and ordinances, and violence or threat of violence.
The mission of the Naperville Heritage Society is to collect, document, preserve, and support the history of Naperville, Illinois past and present. It is our responsibility and purpose to research, collect, and share the stories of our community throughout time. When Naper Settlement expanded its mission 15 years ago to include Naperville’s history through today, our research into twentieth and twenty-first century history asked core questions including: Why did Naperville have such significant demographic change over a fifty-year period, beginning in 1970? What local, regional, and national factors played a role? Do other communities have similar stories? Why or why not?
This historical knowledge builds an informed and educated public which is a critical component of any healthy society. By studying history, we gain a deeper understanding of the people, circumstances, actions, norms, and events that shaped us as a community and nation. This insight deepens our understanding of where we’ve been (and why), where we are now, and most importantly how we can do better.
Flexibility in scheduling is vital for teachers, and our distance learning offers a variety of options to adapt to the school day schedule. Each program offers 3 synchronous and 3 asynchronous sessions, and students will engage with museum educators, watch VR videos, explore houses and artifacts in VR with interactive pop-ups, complete stimulating activities, and interact with 3D objects during each field trip.
As long as your device has access to the internet with Google Chrome, you can access our field trips. If you do not have Google Chrome, Firefox is the next best search engine to use. Make sure your browser is up to date.
Our Learning Experiences Team will send you a packet with pre and post-visit documents to better help you prepare for the trips. Our pre-documents will guide you on how to prepare your students before the trip as well as navigation tips for our Google Classroom. Post-visit materials will help reinforce what your students learned on the trip. We also include suggested resources for the teacher.
This is not a tentative reservation and our cancellation policy, shown below, does apply:
During “live” and “work-alone” sessions, the teacher is expected to maintain classroom participation and decorum. Teachers will be included as a teacher on our Google platform and can view student comments and responses throughout the trip. A teacher must be present during all “live” sessions. Teachers may choose the best way to complete “work-alone” sessions for their classroom.
Check or Credit Card Payments Are Accepted. No refunds are available after payment is received.
Credit Card Payment: Call Naper Settlement at 630-420-6010 and our Guest Services Team can take payment over the phone. · Please have all invoice numbers available for reference. An invoice was generated for each class attending a virtual program.
Check Payments: Made Payable to Naper Settlement · Mail check and copy of all invoices paid on the check to: Naper Settlement Program Reservations 523 S. Webster Street Naperville IL 60540