Fine Arts
Research & Collections
Decorative Arts
Fine Arts
Fine Arts Collection
Collection Basics
People at the Museum
Activities & Resources
Teacher Orientation
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What is Fine Art?

A piece of fine art is an object that is an original creative work. It is meant to be experienced as an object that inspires thoughts or emotions in the viewer.



What Kinds of Fine Art does The Illinois State Museum Have in Its Collections?

The collections of fine art at the Illinois State Museum include paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and photographs by Illinois artists. 

Some of these works are contemporary (made in recent years), others are older, historic pieces. Together they show the quality and range of fine art in Illinois and teach us about the cultural history of the Prairie State. 

How is the Collection Used?

The Museum curators exhibit works of art in the Museum's three galleries and two museums. They also lend artworks to other museums for their exhibits. 

The Museum curators research and write about the artworks in articles, catalogs, and books. Learn how one curator found out the identity of a painting and how another curator researched the life and work of an artist from Lockport for an exhibit. Outside curators and researchers the works for their own study. 

Educators use the artworks to teach art concepts to museum visitors and visitors to the Museum's Web sites.

How Does the Museum Show Its Fine Art? 

Illinois State Museum curators often combine artworks from the Museum's collections with pieces borrowed from  owners, artists, or other museums when creating changing exhibits. The changing exhibits ensure that the public sees many different pieces of fine art from the collection in the three galleries. 

How Does a Work of Art Enter the Museum's Collections?

Owners of fine art sometimes donate works of art to the Museum. Sometimes artists donate their work. Sometimes the Museum purchases works of art. The Museum curators purchase works and accept as donations those works that are related to Illinois art and artists or Illinois history.


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