The Illinois State Museum's extensive collections can be seen in both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Permanent exhibitions are always available, while temporary exhibitions rotate every few months.

At Home in the Heartland Exhibit at ISM Springfield.
Listen to the stories of real people who lived in Illinois. Immerse yourself in the dramatic changes in household life over the past 300 years.
ISM Changes Exhibit
At Changes visitors will see, hear, and touch Illinois’ natural history through engaging hands-on interactive displays, audio and video effects, thousands of authentic fossils, and more. Marvel at all the strange and intriguing species that once inhabited Illinois through a multitude of life-size dioramas.
The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum at ISM Springfield.
The Play Museum is a free children's area at the Illinois State Museum-Springfield. Load a jeep; crawl through a cave; dig for fossils; put together a baby mastodont puzzle; frame art; explore collections of fossils, insects, artifacts; and toys; and play museum!

human / nature brings together artists who address our relationship to the natural world as the source of our sustenance. This exhibition looks at our perceptions and beliefs about this relationship, and the consequences of our actions.


This exhibition features thirteen works on paper that have come into the Illinois State Museum’s collection in the past year. Many of the works were produced in 2020 and 2021 and reflect the moment; a time of a global pandemic and a reckoning around racial violence and discrimination.
Art on the Move seeks to inspire visitors of all ages to look at, talk about, and move with art.