Experience History at Naper Settlement
Naper Settlement is a family-friendly outdoor history museum featuring 12 acres of learning and interactive opportunities for all ages. Located in downtown Naperville, Naper Settlement is just steps away from dining, shopping and the Riverwalk. Visitors will be immersed in history as they learn about the past and how it relates to the present, from pioneer times to today. Highlights include special events and programs and activities year-round, both on- and off-site. Each year, 125,000 visitors, including 35,000 northern Illinois schoolchildren, experience living history at Naper Settlement.
Naper Settlement was established in 1969 by a group of individuals who were interested in saving the Civil War-era St. John’s Episcopal Church from possible demolition. The group, called the Naperville Heritage Society, was a grassroots effort of community members who raised the funds, both in cash and in-kind, to have the historic church transferred to the grounds of the Martin Mitchell Mansion. Read more about the history of Naper Settlement.
In 2000, the Martin Mitchell Mansion underwent a three-year, $2.8 million restoration that brought back the Victorian beauty to its original splendor. When it re-opened in 2003, the transformation was spectacular and the mansion has won numerous awards.
As the Naperville Heritage Society looks to the future, it has developed a 25-year plan with an eye toward sustainability and environmental considerations, in addition to positioning the museum as Chicagoland’s outdoor history museum. Our goals are to tell experiential, engaging and compelling stories, provide relevancy to today and connect with the downtown and the community in a broader sense. We feel it is essential to tell Naperville’s story beyond the 19th century and to retain the open space that Caroline Martin Mitchell bequeathed to the city. Naper Settlement’s buildings will continue to be placed in a way that engages visitors and helps them to appreciate and connect to the Naperville of yesterday and today.