The elephant in the room is that one day, if we aren’t careful, the elephant will never be in the room again. Extinction is forever – at least for now. A statuesque and imagination-provoking example of this is the mastodon story presented in the new Hot Science exhibit at the Illinois State Museum. Although the ultimate reason for the demise of these animals has been debated for decades, answers to extinction questions are no longer trivial or academic given the rapid pace of climate change and our great concern for threatened and endangered species.
The Spectrum exhibition features a sampling of the broad range of art and artifacts found in the Illinois State Museum’s collections of fine and decorative art. The works selected by ISM curators bear witness to the rich cultural history of Illinois since it became a state in 1818. Paintings, textiles, sculpture, works on paper, and other objects represent a variety of media and subject matter. Some are recent acquisitions and others are rarely seen gems, such as a grouping of paintings that started the Illinois State Museum’s fine art collection back in 1928.
The Museum's history is celebrated with a special exhibit, Museum Memories. Visitors will be able to see a selection of popular past exhibitions, including a horse skeleton exhibit which was originally on view when the Museum was housed in the Centennial Building, and the "Tornado Trees" recovered after the devastating Tri-State tornado in 1925.