National Museum of Ship Models and Sea History in Sadorus, Illinois

Welcome to the official page of the National Museum of Ship Models and Sea History in Sadorus, Illinois. Our museum is dedicated to the critical role that ships have played in the course of history and the development of the modern world. The museum is home to dozens of maritime exhibits and more that 250 intricately crafted models from all periods of history. From Egyptian barges and Greek warships to modern submarines, if it floats, there is almost certainly a beautiful scale replica on display here. The delicate models are arranged in groups reflecting periods of history, from the earliest Viking sailing ships to the classic liners of the early part of the last century. We invite you to come aboard and wander our decks into the age of great sails. Come, rediscover our maritime history!

The museum was created in 2001 after a long restoration period. It has appeared on the front page of the Chicago Tribune (January 12, 2005), Marine Modeling magazine (Fall 2006), and in Ships in Scale magazine (December 2006). In 2007 the museum was listed in Smith's Maritime Museums of North America. Our visitors have included the chief security diver for the Mel Fisher ATOCHA treasure expedition reported on in National Geographic, and the World War Two captain of the Navy training vessel, EAGLE.

Some of our recent exhibits include a 27 foot long scale model of the QUEEN MARY, constructed entirely of toothpicks (over one million!), and TREASURES OF THE SILK ROAD. We are now setting up a display on the ships of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Our library is available for customers to peruse and includes more than 200 reference volumes including some rare books related to the sea. The gift shop offers small models and scale ship kits as well as fun toys for all ages.

About the Museum

Location: The museum is housed in a 110 year old restored building in the small town of Sadorus. It is about 3 hours South of Chicago and 12 miles South of Champaign-Urbana (The University of Illinois campus).

Scheduled Hours: (Please call to confirm we are open before visiting!)
May 1 to November 30, Saturdays from 11:00 to 4:30 and by appointment.
Closed from December 1 to April 30, except by appointment.
To arrange a visit by appointment, please call 217-398-1998.

Remember, we are a private non-profit group, and our funding is limited, so our hours are, too! The museum is call ahead to ensure the museum is open. As a family-operated museum, the occasional obligation prevents regular operation. We appreciate your understanding!

Admission: Admission to the museum is $5.00 per person. 

Donations: One of the reasons we are able to showcase such an amazing collection is the generosity of our patrons. As a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, we can accept donations ranging from a 7 foot long clipper ship that arrived last fall to grants and gifts. As our focus is on the art of ship modelling, we prefer models, but related maritime items will be considered and treated with care if accepted. Currently, we are focusing on a few areas in preparation for future exhibits, including: Vintage steamship posters and logs, old maritime albums, nautical paintings, seascapes, maritime artifacts, movie props, Navy service records, Naval and maritime photographs, and, of course, models. 

If you are interested in discusing a donation, please email Charles at or call Charles at (217) 352-1672 OR cell (217)621-4848