Can you believe there’s a museum dedicated to initiation pranks? These hijinks might be considered a rite of passage into clubs or simply an excuse to pull a good joke.
But why would anyone devote a museum to them?
Intrigued? So were we.
Let’s dive in!
About The Museum of Initiation Pranks
Have you ever been blindfolded while riding a bucking goat? No? We were afraid to give our jokester friends any encouragement. But there truly is a Museum of Initiation Pranks, also known as the DeMoulin Museum. There you can ride the said fake goat.
All ages can enjoy trick chairs, a fake guillotine, and a popup skeleton that spits water, among the many hilarities at the museum. You can get hands-on experience with the electric branding iron. Children will volunteer for a good-spirited wallop with the exploding cudgels or the lifting and spanking machine.
The DeMoulin’s business, from 1892 to 1955, literally manufactured tricks and props for fraternal lodge initiations. In 2010, the family opened the museum devoted to those founders and employees and exhibited the product oddities they created.
Where Is The Museum of Initiation Pranks?
You want to go there. We were afraid you might. The DeMoulin Museum is in Greenville, Illinois, just a couple of miles north of I-70 and roughly 50 miles east of St. Louis.
Greenville is a well-kept midwestern town with a population of just over 7,000. The downtown area is old-fashioned. Murals and antique shops complete the small-town atmosphere. Greenville is also home to the Richard Bock Museum, the American Farm Heritage Museum, and the Armed Forces Museum.
In 2018, the initiation pranks museum re-opened in the former Central Christian Church Building located at 205 S. Prairie Street, Greenville, IL, 62246. Call ahead for opening hours. You can learn more about the bizarre exhibits on their website or keep updated on events through their Facebook page.
Pro Tip: After visiting the Museum of Initiation Parks, check out these 9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in Illinois.
About the DeMoulin Brothers
The DeMoulin brothers, Erastus, U.S., and Ed, had a keen sense of humor. They loved gadgets. They also thought entering a fraternal lodge would be more memorable if you passed dramatic tests. Playing on the propaganda that Masons were a cult whereby initiates were blindfolded and forced to ride a goat – the gag was born.
The three brothers had a practical side. They produced lodge regalia and, in 1913, began manufacturing military academy uniforms. By 1925, they added graduation caps and gowns to a diverse product list. In the 1930s, they also made circus band uniforms and elephant blankets.
A fire in 1955 did damage to the woodworking department and the lodge paraphernalia business closed. The DeMoulins focus became, as it is today, a significant manufacturer of band uniforms and graduation cap and gowns. Staying current and eco-friendly, the company began using Rejuvitex – a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
The DeMoulin museum showcases the history of their inventions and contributions to the uniform industry, not just their antics.
Best Hikes Near the Museum of Initiation Pranks
Patriots, Fireworks, and Fisherman’s Trail
You made it to Greenville, Illinois, and had your laughs. What else is there to do? Patriot’s Park offers a 1.7-mile loop trail around Greenville Lake. It’s just under two miles away from the Museum of Initiation Pranks. According to Alltrails.com, the path is an easy hike for most, averaging about 38 minutes to complete.
Visitors describe the trail as a well-maintained, part-paved, and part-natural road. The woodsy views include the trail that hugs the lake and a cypress forest. It’s great for bird watching. The park is family and dog friendly. Amenities include lake fishing, a disc golf course, a playground, a picnic area with grills, an outdoor pavilion, and an air-conditioned building available to rent.
Cherokee Trail Loop
A little over 21 miles south of Greenville is Hazlet State Park in Carlyle, Illinois, on the Carlyle Reservoir. More than nine miles of trails include the 3-mile Cherokee Trail Loop. According to Alltrails.com, this is an easy route that averages a 47-minute walking time.
Another dog and kid-friendly hike, the area is part of an extensive natural resource management program. It’s possible to see migratory birds, summer wildflowers, prairie wetlands, and local wildlife. You may choose to stop at the 1800s Burnside Cemetery to pay your respects.
The park has a lot of amenities should you choose to linger a day or two. These include Class C and Class A campsites, some of which are wheelchair accessible. Necessities can be found in the campground store. The large state recreation area hosts activities such as archery, geocaching, hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, world-class sailing, and nature programs.
Pro Tip: Check out these 7 Best Lakes in Illinois (And Nearby Campsites) while on your RVing adventure.
Best Camping Near the Museum of Initiation Pranks
Dam West Recreation Area
There are several camping options in the Carlyle, Illinois, area. One of which is the highly-rated U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam West Recreation Area. Day use and overnight camping are available. The peak season runs between April and October, with daily rates between $18 to $52.
Amenities include accessible sites, full hookups, a dump station, flush toilets, and drinking water. The 26,000-acre lake abounds with recreational opportunities. If you’re a wildlife watcher, six established sites with viewing towers are open to the public.
801 Lake Rd.
Carlyle, IL 62231
Cedarbrook RV Park and Campground
The AAA-approved Cedarbrook RV Park and Campground in Mulberry Grove is just under ten miles to the east of Greenville, Illinois. They have pull-through spaces with full hook up, camper back-ins with water and electricity, and traditional tent camping sites.
The campground is open April through October, with monthly rentals available. Call for current rates. An on-site shop provides the essentials you may need.
The park is an easy 15-minute drive to The Museum of Initiation Pranks or a 30-minute drive down to Carlyle and some of Illinois’ best outdoor recreation.
1109 Mulberry Grove Rd
Mulberry Grove, IL 62262
Is a Road Trip to the Museum of Initiation Pranks Worth It?
Is a road trip to the Museum of Initiation Pranks worth it? We say yes, or at least, the kids do. Make a weekend out of the excursion and enjoy some fabulous outdoor activities.
If you pass through and need a brief respite, the museum is a fun distraction you won’t soon forget. Whatever you choose, be sure to have your picture taken for the “goat board” and a chance to be part of a 1930 DeMoulin catalog.
Have you been to the Museum of Initiation Pranks? Tell us about it!
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