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Welcome to ISM Lockport Gallery


The Lockport Gallery features changing exhibitions of art created by past and contemporary Illinois artists and artisans. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, quilts, and other decorative and ethnographic arts are showcased in rotating, theme-based exhibitions augmented by interpretive materials. The exhibitions are given an added dimension through educational events, group tours, and outreach activities for both children and adults. For further details, please click "Visitor Information" button on the menu to the left and scroll to the bottom of the page. Admission is FREE.

The ISM Lockport Gallery is the only ISM facility located in a historic structure, the Norton Building (see below). 


  • changing art exhibitions
  • school and group tours
  • special events and programs
  • volunteer program
  • historic setting
  • easy access and free parking

Located in the heart of the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, the Lockport Gallery is a popular destination and convenient docking point to access other local attractions. Extend your stay in Lockport and explore the diverse historic, cultural, and recreational opportunities nearby.

Just steps away:

  • Illinois & Michigan Canal (opened 1848)
  • recreation trail
  • historic sites and exhibits
  • nature preserve
  • downtown shopping and dining


The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery is located on the first floor of the historic Norton Building, a massive limestone structure built by Lockport business mogul Hiram Norton around 1850. Strategically placed at the edge of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, the large, arched portals - now windows in the west galleries overlooking the canal and a recreation trail - were originally used as access points for storing, processing, and packaging barrels of grain.

The building - originally constructed to house grain, a supply store, and a dormitory for canal crews -  continued functioning as a grain-processing facility until the 1950s, when it was sold to a steel fabricator.

In 1989 the structure was acquired by Norton Building and Company, Inc., who contracted with archaeologists to excavate the premises before beginning restoration of the building. Excavation uncovered the hydraulic turbines used as a power source during the building's heyday. The company has since developed the Norton Building as a multi-use facility with residential lofts, offices, commercial space, and the Illinois State Museum's Lockport Facility.

The Gallery's adaptive reuse of the Norton Building showcases Illinois art in a striking setting while maintaining a sensitive link to the structure's history. High ceilings and hardwood floors grace the three galleries and provide a comfortable setting for a broad variety of art work. 

  More than just art!   

More than just art!

The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery offers more than just a quiet retreat to contemplate critically noted exhibitions highlighting the art and visual culture of Illinois. Special events, talks, guided tours, and informative presentations provide background information and insight, bringing the each installation alive.

You can also learn about other events and exhibits from the ISM Art Section.


ISM Springfield
ISM Dickson Mounds
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