Illinois State Museum Exhibits

Illinois Natural History Habitat Displays

These spectacular dioramas show several Illinois habitats as they would have appeared approximately 200 years ago.


Forests of unglaciated northwestern Illinois

Dunes along Lake Michigan

Forests of the unglaciated Shawnee Hills

Oak-Beech forest of eastern Illinois

Lakes of southern Illinois

At Home in the Heartland

At Home In The Heartland is a state-of-the-art exhibit that uses the ISM's extensive decorative arts collections and research gathered throughout Illinois to explore the history of family life in the state over the past three centuries. Find out more about the exhibit or browse some of it (below).

At Home in the Heartland entrance

At Home on the French Frontier

Visitors enjoying the exhibit

Kitchen Revolution

Peoples of the Past Dioramas

The dioramas in the Peoples of the Past exhibit show the lifeways of some of the people who have inhabited Illinois in the last 4000 years. Find out more about the exhibit or look at the dioramas (below).

Late Archaic hunters and gathers

Middle Woodland gardeners

Mississipian agriculturalists

Historic Kickapoo People

Displays of Ice Age Animals

Mounted Mastodon Skeleton

Mounted Peccary Skeleton

A Place For Discovery

A hands-on gallery that includes changing art, anthropology, and natural history exhibits, including living specimens. APFD provides a rich and varied experience where visitors can listen to birds and other sounds, hold ancient American Indian tools, examine butterflies, snake skins and seashells under a microscope, assemble skeletons, and observe living animals.

Visit APFD via QuickTime Virtual Reality (page contains 220k embedded QTVR panorama)

Exploring the World

Watching the turtle

ISM Welcome Page.