Research and Collections
The Illinois State Museum Society, on behalf of a consortium of 12 museums, libraries, archives, and service providers across the state, was awarded a prestigious /Connecting to Collections/ statewide implementation grant ($182, 241) by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
You can learn more in our project page.
The Illinois State Museum maintains collections of art, history, anthropology, and natural history which are critical resources to its education, research, publication, and exhibition programs. The geographical focus is the Midwestern U.S. with an emphasis on Illinois. The significance of the biological and geological collections resulted in the election of the Museum to membership in the Association of Systematics Collections in the mid-l970s.
- The Museum's anthropology collection consists of more than 8 million archaeological specimens and ethnographic objects, and is among the most extensive in the United States.
- Fine and Decorative 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. The decorative arts collections contain more than 14,000 aesthetic and historical objects that enhance our understanding of the quality of life in Illinois.
- The ISM botanical collections include more than 111,000 botanical specimens that are housed in the herbarium, which has one of the largest collections of Illinois flora in the state.
- Over 200,000 specimens are in the geology collections, including 60 type and figured invertebrates, 6 fish types, and over 600 type and figured plant fossils.
- The ISM history collections include interdisciplinary collections that cut across the Museum's departments of art, anthropology, library and archives, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and natural sciences.
- Library and Archives
- The Museum rich and diverse library collection contains more than 15,000 monographs and 800 serials. Additional materials include rare books, archives and manuscript collections.
- The zoology collections contain over 140,000 specimens representing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and mollusks.
Illinois State Museum researchers investigate the climate, landforms, plants, animals, and human cultures of the Midwestern United States with a special emphasis on Illinois. Research illuminates long-term changes in natural environments and human societies and provides interdisciplinary perspectives of the rich natural and cultural history of the state.