The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery offers more than just a quiet retreat to contemplate critically noted exhibitions highlighting the art and visual culture of Illinois. Special events, talks, guided tours, and informative presentations provide background information and insight, bringing the each installation alive.


Illinois State Museum researchers investigate the climate, landforms, plants, animals, and human cultures of the Midwestern United States with a special emphasis on Illinois. Research illuminates long-term changes in natural environments and human societies and provides interdisciplinary perspectives of the rich natural and cultural history of the state.

Below are links to data collected during ISM Research programs.

Lockport Gallery / Norton Building History

The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery is located on the first floor of the historic Norton Building, a massive limestone structure built by Lockport business mogul Hiram Norton around 1850. Strategically placed at the edge of the Illinois & Michigan Canal, the large, arched portals - now windows in the west galleries overlooking the canal and a recreation trail - were originally used as access points for storing, processing, and packaging barrels of grain.

Illinois State Museum Society

The Illinois State Museum Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1952 that supports the educational and research programs of the Illinois State Museum System.  The Museum preserves Illinois’ past for Illinois’ future while stimulating discovery, stewardship, and life-long learning about Illinois and the world. 

By joining the Society you will have the opportunity to discover and experience the Museum’s dynamic offerings related to the natural and cultural heritage of Illinois. 

Illinois State Museum System Board of Directors

The Illinois State Museum Board of Directors is a group of eleven dedicated Illinois citizens appointed by the Governor who volunteer to oversee museum policies, prescribe duties of the museum director, and advise the Department of Natural Resources with regard to Museum operations. The members are appointed for two-year terms based on their qualifications and interests related to the fields of museum activity.

History of Dickson Mounds

Dickson Mounds Museum is 89 years old. In 1927, chiropractor Don Dickson began to dig in the ancient burial mounds on his family farm. Instead of removing the bones from the graves he excavated, he removed only the dirt, leaving the bones and associated objects in place. He first covered his excavation with a tent. Later he replaced the tent with a building that he opened as a private museum. His work received national and even international attention, and that first year attracted 10,000 visitors to view the site.


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