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Illinois State Museum




Fine and Decorative Art Collections

  Fine and Decorative Art Collections   

Fine Arts

The Museum's collection of fine arts documents the progression and history of art in Illinois. It is the only such public collection in Illinois. Especially significant collections include: the 20th-century paintings (relating to Illinois); the Illinois WPA collection of paintings, prints, and sculpture; the nineteenth-century folk art collection, and the historical and contemporary Illinois photograph collections, including the Sadorus Collection and photographs of Nathan Lerner.

Decorative Arts

The Museum's decorative arts collections contain more than 14,000 aesthetic and historical objects that enhance our understanding of the quality of life in Illinois. In support of the Museum's mission, collecting focuses on objects of historical and cultural importance that were made in Illinois. These collections primarily document domestic life and include food service tools and equipment, food processing tools, furniture, household accessories, bedding, lighting devices, phonographs and recordings, clocks, window and floor coverings, toys and games, clothing, personal gear, and personal adornment. In addition, the collection includes armaments, small numbers of tools (farm and woodworking), paperweights, and documentary artifacts. Especially important collections include quilts, coverlets, the Orozco dolls, images of life on the Illinois River, Illinois ceramics (manufactured when Illinois was the second largest clay producing state); and waterfowl decoys (which is one of the best, representing the work of carvers along the Mississippi Flyway).

  ISM Collections Online: Art   

Image from Amish Quilt Gallery
Amish Quilt Gallery
You can learn about the history of quilts created by Illinois Amish women of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The images and information are from the Museum publication Illinois Amish Quilts: Sharing Threads of Tradition, which can be purchased from the Museum by consulting the Publications Web page or telephoning the Museum.



Frank Sadorus Photograph Collection Introduction
Introductory and educational text for the Frank Sadorus Photograph Collection


Frost Trade Bead Collection
A collection of 71 trade bead sample cards from the Stephen A. Frost and Son Company.


Image from Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection Gallery
Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection Gallery
View the Barker Collection of Classical French, British, American, and other Paperweights. The prestigious Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection of 252 glass objects, including more than 200 outstanding examples of antique French paperweights of the Classic Period (1845 - 1860) manufactured by the glass companies Baccarat, Saint Louis, Clichy, and Pantin.


WPA Art Collection Introduction
Introductory and educational text to the Illinois WPA Art Collection


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Last updated 2009-01-23, 16:53 by eks