Shell History Museum

Wood River Refinery, Roxana, Illinois

Step back in time more than 75 years at the Shell History Museum in Roxana, Illinois. Featuring over 1,000 artifacts and growing, the museum offers a visual review of the refinery's many changes and significant progress from its groundbreaking in 1917 to the present.

Exhibits, photo displays and a special videotape tell the story of how the legasy of Shell's Wood River Refinery unfolded over three-quarters of a century. It is a story of extraordinary achievements and remarkable dedication on the part of thousands of Shell people. Today's Wood River Manufacturing Complex is a premier refinery serving the vast Midwest market.

Trace the history of Shell Wood River and neighboring communities as you look at early photographs and the many items of interest, including vintage gasoline pumps, glass motor oil bottles Shell product advertising and city maps.

The Shell History Museum was established in 1986 by a small group of retirees who used  a small trailer and later an office to sort, catagorize and store the historical artifacts. On October 5, 1992, Shell volunteers began renovating an unused research building adjacent to the refinery. Following countless hours of work, the new museum was completed in September 1993 and is staffed by volunteers.

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Located along Route 111 in Roxana, Illinois the Shell History Museum is open to the individuals and small groups from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays except holidays. There is no admission charge. The entrance is located just North of the refinery main entrance along the outer road.

To arrange large group tours, please call in advance: (618) 255-3718

The above text is from the museum's brochure and is used with permission.

A replica of the original facade of one of the oldest Shell stations in the area has recently been added to the museum's exhibits, using actual artifacts from the original.

The museum sponsors an annual oil and gas collectibles swap meet in late September. For more info contact J.D. Slaton by email: or the museum.

The pride, knowledge and enthusiasm of the volunteers at the Shell History Museum are obvious in every aspect of its operation. The technological breakthroughs and accomplishments at Wood River set standards in the industry. It is well worth a special trip.

Shell also has museums and interpretive historical displays at its refineries at Deer Park, Martinez and Houston. There is also a display in the lobby of the corporate offices at One Shell Plaza, Houston, Texas.

Shell Museum official Web site

More petro places to visit

Unique Shell station restoration

Primarily link to home Petroliana

The gas station collectible supersite

Copyright 1996 1997, text from the museum used with permission

Photos by Jim Potts

Updated 9/21/99 by Jim Potts