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Visiting David Strawn Art Gallery in Jacksonville, IL

Downtown Jacksonville is home to many great attractions but one unique landmark includes the David Strawn Art Gallery. This historic home has operated as an art museum since 1915. Along with its rich history, this gallery houses some fantastic art and exhibits. Take some time when visiting downtown Jacksonville, Illinois to stop off at David Strawn Art Gallery to further enrich your stay at Villa DeWolf.

What is David Strawn Art Gallery?

David Strawn Art Gallery houses continuous exhibits since 1915. The gallery is a former home and the exhibits utilize this layout with the parlor, hallway and sitting rooms serving as gallery viewing spaces.

Where is David Strawn Art Gallery?

The gallery sits at 331 W. College Ave. in Jacksonville, Illinois. This is on the southern edge of the downtown area and about a 12-minute walk from Villa DeWolf.

How do I get a hold of Strawn Art Gallery?

You can either call the gallery at 217-243-9390 or send an email to

Exhibits at David Strawn Art Gallery

David Strawn Art Gallery is home to both a rotating series of exhibits as well as a permanent collection. The museum has a gallery season that typically runs from September through May. During that time, a curated exhibit is on display each month. For a detailed schedule and more information on each exhibit, visit the museum's website. All rotating exhibits are on the first floor.

As far as permanent collections, the art gallery has three. This includes an antique doll collection in the upstairs hallway; a collection of Mediterranean artifacts; and a Mississippian Indian Pottery Collection. The art gallery's website features specific information about each collection. Advanced arrangements are required for tours of these collections so call or email ahead.

David Strawn Art Gallery Events

From time to time, the David Strawn Art Gallery hosts various events. To learn more about upcoming events, check out the museum's calendar. Some events include the Beaux Arts Ball and Art in the Yard.  

History of David Strawn Art Gallery

David Strawn Art Gallery is a great place to visit not only for the art on display but the storied lore of the building's past. The house came to be in the late 1800s. Phebe Strawn was a widow and her late husband Jacob died in 1865. About 14 years later, her grandson came to live with her so she decided to leave the cattle empire her husband had established and move into Jacksonville. Family tradition dictates Phebe built a home so her extended family could be close to good schools. By 1882, the home was complete and Phebe and her family moved into the complex.

The three-story home towered over the surrounding buildings. There were large homes at the time but nothing compared to the palatial mansion on College Avenue. Phebe eventually left the home to her three sons — Julius, Gates and David — as long as one wanted to live in the house. Once they left, Phebe wanted the home left to the Jacksonville Female Academy to serve as an art gallery and school. Phebe has great interest in art and was an amateur artist. The school, however, closed in 1903 and Phebe died in 1906.

The courts decided ownership of the home until 1910 when it decided to allow the sons to buy the home from the proper institutions. By 1915, Davide had bought the interests from his brothers, donating the mansion and a large bequest to the Art Association of Jacksonville. 

Downtown Jacksonville, IL

David Strawn Art Gallery sits amidst the city's downtown district called Jacksonville Main Street. This area features plenty of places to eat, shop and enjoy other arts and entertainment venues. See what downtown Jacksonville has to offer with the area's website and map.