I first learned about the Briscoe Mounds during a visit last week to the Dickson Mounds Museum and Burial Grounds in Lewistown, IL.
The museum is actually located a bit outside Lewistown, which is about a 40 minute drive from downtown Peoria. The museum is an oasis in the middle of the huge (and beautiful) The Nature Conservancy Emiquon Preserve. For several miles leading up to the museum, the road is bordered on both sides by wetlands.
The museum itself is pretty large -- three stories full of an introductory movie and interactive exhibits -- and actually sits on top of the Dickson Mound, one of the largest Native American burial sites in America.
The museum features Native American artifacts that were discovered at or near the site, and does a fabulous job telling the story of the Native Americans who lived in the area and nearby villages of the Illinois River Valley as long as 12,000 years ago.
My five year old daughter was with me, and she loved the reproductions of the Native American homes, harvest and families. The size of the museum, combined with the fact that there were only a few other visitors while we were there, left us with the feeling that we had the museum all to ourselves. The employee in the gift shop said the museum normally gets busy during the school year when school bus trips come through town.
I highly recommend this museum, which is one of five Illinois State Museum sites around the state.
This slideshow features some of my additional photos from our visit to Dickson Mounds: