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J.B. Pritzker, Governor
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About the Illinois State Museum System

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When was the Illinois State Museum founded?
The Illinois State Museum was founded in 1877, and its first home was in the State Capitol building. The Museum was founded as a natural history museum with outstanding geology and biology collections.
What is the mission of the Illinois State Museum?
The Illinois State Museum promotes discovery, learning, and an appreciation of Illinois’ natural, cultural, and artistic heritage. Our full mission statement is here. The Museum is guided throught its mission by the Illinois State Museum Board, as well as the Illinois State Museum Society Board.
Where is the Illinois State Museum located?
The headquarters of the Illinois State Museum is in Springfield. The public museum with exhibits and educational programs is located in the State Capitol Complex on the corner of Spring and Edwards Streets. The Museum’s Research and Collections Center, which houses collections, research laboratories, and a Technology Learning Center, is located at 1011 East Ash Street in Springfield. Branch facilities include Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown, Lockport Gallery in Lockport, the Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Southern Illinois Art Gallery at Rend Lake, and the Illinois Artisans Shop and Chicago Gallery in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.
When was the Illinois State Museum building in Springfield constructed?
The Illinois State Museum was housed in the Centennial Building (now the Howlett Building) from 1923 until the “new museum” building was constructed and dedicated in February 1963. This marked the first time in the Illinois State Museum’s history that the Museum was located in a facility devoted exclusively to the Illinois State Museum. We have more on the history of the Illinois State Museum here.
What is the Scope of the Illinois State Museum’s Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs?
The Illinois State Museum’s permanent and transitional exhibitions, extensive collections, and educational programs tell the story of the art, Native American heritage, history, and natural history of Illinois.


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