Plan a Field Trip - Step 1:Choose Your Experience

PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to the current situation, the Illinois State Museum will not be offering field trips onsite temporarily. Groups are limited in size to 10 people with 1 adult for every 5 children. Please see Group Guidelines.  Please visit our Educator’s Webpage for virtual exhibits, activities, and resources. Our Family Fun Site also offers activities that can be adapted to the classroom.  We also have a variety of online resources designed for K-12 teachers that covers a variety of subjects.

Choose your experience from the options listed below. Click “2: Schedule your visit” on the right for the information needed to schedule your trip.

Option A: Self-guided field trip
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. It is recommended that you begin your tour before 3:30 p.m. 
Grades: All grades
The Museum exhibits are designed for self-guided discovery. Self-guided tours can be led by the classroom teacher or chaperones. It is recommended that field trips last 45 to 90 minutes. Self-guided tours are scheduled through the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Please visit this page to schedule your self-guided trip.

Option B: Play Museum 
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Grades: PreK-Grade 4
Capacity: 30 children plus chaperones
The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum, the Museum’s children’s exhibition, is an excellent resource for learning through play. Groups grades 4 and younger may reserve a 30-minute session in the Play Museum as part of their self-guided or guided experience. During the reserved time, other schools/youth groups will not be permitted to enter the exhibit. The Play Museum can be reserved as part of a self-guided tour or educator-led program. To schedule your trip and reserve the Play Museum, please contact Lorna Shuman by email at or (217) 782-0061.

Option C: Educator-Led Programs
The Museum is currently offering guided programs depending on staff availability. Programs may be available for the classroom. To inquire about availability and to schedule a program, please contact, Lorna Shuman at or (217) 782-0061.

  • Peoples of the Past – Explores different Native American groups that lived in what is now Illinois and changes in lifestyles of different groups over a 9,000-year span.
  • Animal Habitats – Explore Illinois habitats and the animals that call these habitats home.  The focus is on wetlands, forests, prairie, and caves.
  • Tracks, Scats, and Skulls – STEM activity. Explore 8 mammals of Illinois through their tracks, scats, skulls, and pelts. This program uses keys to help students identify differences in animals.
  • Building a Museum Exhibit - Objects can tell stories. Learn how museums put together exhibits to tell those stories and plan an exhibition of your own.
Image of

Illinois State Museum Children's Program.

1. Choose Your Experience

2. Schedule Your Visit

3. Prepare for Your Visit