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Recently Discovered 11-foot Woolly Mammoth Tusk at the Illinois State Museum - ISM Museums and Galleries

  Exhibits at ISM Museums and Galleries   

All our exibitions are organized and developed by our curatorial staff and participation in an exhibition is by invitation of the curators. We are happy to consider your work or your exhibition proposal if you are an artist that resides in the state of Illinois, or your proposal has a connection with Illinois history. Proposals should be sent to:

Fine Art Curators
Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery
James R. Thompson Center, Suite 2-100
100 W. Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

  Recently Discovered 11-foot Woolly Mammoth Tusk at the Illinois State Museum   

Recently Discovered 11-foot Woolly Mammoth Tusk at the Illinois State Museum

A recently discovered Woolly Mammoth tooth and 11-foot long tusk are on display at the Illinois State Museum (ISM) through September 30, 2006.  ISM officials unveiled the fossils today at the museum for the first time since their discovery by a Lincoln College freshman in September.  Following the unveiling, ISM Director Dr. Bonnie Styles and Lincoln College President Dr. John Hutchinson signed agreements that will preserve the fossils while also making them accessible to the public.

“Each day we work to make this museum a place of learning and discovery for our visitors.  It’s because of our relationships with public and private organizations, citizen groups and educational institutions like Lincoln College that we’re able to share Illinois’ natural and cultural heritage with the thousands who walk through our doors,” said Styles.

Lincoln College freshman Judd McCullum found the mammoth tusk in a creek bed north of Lincoln during an environmental biology class project in September.  Dr. G. Dennis Campbell, Lincoln College Professor of Biology and Earth Science, was delighted with the find.  “Judd is such a great outdoor person and has an excellent eye for nature,” said Campbell.  Dr. Campbell found the tooth several months later.

Dr. Jeffrey Saunders, Curator of Geology at the Illinois State Museum, was contacted by Lincoln College to advise the college on their discovery.  Following their recovery, the specimens have been at the Museum’s Research and Collections Center in Springfield undergoing study and conservation.  According to Dr. Saunders, the tusk and tooth are from a male Woolly Mammoth that was about 50 years old at the time of its death about 22,000 years ago.  Radiocarbon dating of a sample from the tusk is underway and will determine more precisely the age of this Ice Age elephant.

Lincoln College and the Illinois State Museum have collaborated to preserve the woolly mammoth tusk and tooth and also make them accessible to the public.  The Illinois State Museum holds a premier collection of mammoth and mastodont fossils.  Following its premiere at the Illinois State Museum, the tusk and tooth will be on exhibit in the Lincoln College library.

“When Judd originally found the tusk we relied heavily on the expertise of the Illinois State Museum and followed their suggestions on how to preserve the item.  I’m elated with this outcome and happy that Lincoln College can share this find with the public,” said Lincoln College President Dr. John Hutchinson.   

The tusk and tooth will be on exhibit in the lobby of the Illinois State Museum until they are relocated to Lincoln College this fall.  The Museum is located at 502 S. Spring Street, Springfield.  Hours are 8:30am – 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and noon – 5:00 pm on Sunday.  Admission is free.   

Learn about other exhibitions currently at the ISM Museums and Galleries.


ISM Springfield
ISM Dickson Mounds
ISM Lockport
ISM Chicago
ISM Rend Lake

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