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Online Resources

A Family Farm Album: Photography of Frank Sadorus
Learn about the photographs of Frank Sadorus (1880-1934), a descendant of a pioneer family who founded Sadorus in east-central Illinois. He lived and worked on the family farm, but during the off-season, he photographed the people and landscape he knew intimately.

Art in the Abstract
This version of the Museum's popular exhibition offers an introduction to understanding abstract art through a variety of interactive resources. It features examples of abstract art from the Illinois State Museum collection. It also highlights the career of Manierre Dawson, a pioneer of abstract art in the Midwest. Fine Arts Activities, Projects, and Lesson Plans that stress the elements of abstraction in art and based on I.S.B.E Standards and Goals for art education are included for Grades 1-12.

At Home in the Heartland
Learn about home life in Illinois from 1700 to the present in six eras, illustrated by the Museum's collections of objects from homes. At Home is an interactive website that teaches concepts of history focused on the choices people have made in their lives.

Amish Quilt Gallery
You can learn about the history of quilts created by Illinois Amish women of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The images and information are from the Museum publication Illinois Amish Quilts: Sharing Threads of Tradition, which can be purchased from the Museum by consulting the Publications Web page or telephoning the Museum.

Audio-Video Barn: Oral History of Illinois Agriculture
The Audio-Video Barn is full of stories about Illinois agriculture. It contains audio and video recordings of more than 130 oral history interviews with people involved in agriculture and rural life in Illinois. It was produced by the Illinois State Museum's Oral History of Illinois Agriculture (OHIA) project. The OHIA project is generously supported by a National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Bevier Historic Dress Collection
The collection’s namesake, Isabel Bevier, began the Home Economics Department at the University of Illinois’ School of Agriculture in 1920. Development and interpretation of this collection began in earnest after 1955 when Lorraine Trebilcock began teaching History of Costume in the Clothing and Textiles Division of the U of I Home Economics Department. Professor Trebilcock retired in 1975.

Butterfly and Moth (Lepidoptera) Collection
Butterflies and moths are among the most beautiful insects. Each of these delicate species of butterflies and moths has an interesting story to tell about its life cycle, behavior, and anatomy. Learn more about these insects and view images of the Museum’s collections.

Dragonfly (Odonata) Collection
Whether they were considered in a positive or negative light, dragonflies have intrigued people for centuries. Learn about these creatures and view images of the Museum’s collections.

Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments
Earth forces are continually at work causing change. Climate, land, and living things are all connected. They interact with each other in complex ways. Even a small change can start a chain reaction that, over time, has big effects. Scientists study how Illinois' environment has evolved over the last 500 million years and how it continues to change even today. This online version of the Illinois State Museum's natural history hall explores the scientific evidence for environmental change in Illinois.

Explore the Ice Age Midwest
This site provides information about the Wisconsinan glaciation, also known as the "last Ice Age" in the Midwestern U.S. Here, you will find information about the plants and animals that lived in the Midwest between roughly 110,000 and 13,000 years ago. You will also learn more about what glaciers are, how they operate, and how they change the landscape. Finally, you will learn more about how scientists reconstruct the past using evidence from fossils, isotopes, plant remains, and changes in the landscape. 

Frank Sadorus Photograph Collection 
Introductory and educational text for the Frank Sadorus Photograph Collection.

Fresh Water Mussel Collection
Mussels are an overlooked, but very important, species in our aquatic ecosystems. Mussels are diverse and often very beautiful in form, and their presence, or absence, can indicate the health of waterways. Learn more about mussels and view images from the Museum’s collections.

Frost Trade Bead Collection
Beginning in 1848, Stephen Allen Frost peddled beads and broadcloth among the Plains Indians as an itinerant merchant. His enterprise lasted longer than that of other traders because of his business acumen and that of his son, Dan. Learn about this collection of 71 trade bead sample cards from the Stephen A. Frost and Son Company and the men behind this interesting company.

Harvesting the River
This rich Web exhibit features the economic history of the central Illinois River communities from Liverpool to Meredosia. It includes waterfowl hunting, commercial fishing, ice harvesting, and musseling. The transportation section includes information about the many kinds of boats that plied the river, early railroads, and plank toll roads. There are short histories of the six towns along the river.

This Web exhibit presents more than 350 herbarium specimens of trees and prairie plants found in Illinois. The accompanying databases contain entries for the 250 prairie plant herbarium sheets and the 50 tree herbarium sheets pictured in the Gallery.

Illinois State Museum Geology Flickr Gallery
This gallery of images features identified fossils and minerals, as well as photographs of Illinois State Museum research on two Illinois Mammouth discoveries. 

In Her Footsteps: Illinois Women's History Trail
Throughout time, women have made history. This site features female history makers with a connection to Illinois. You may know a story well or you may have heard a name and not remember how or why you recognize it. “In Her Footsteps Women’s History Trail” seeks to highlight the stories of Illinois history makers and offer resources for continued learning.

Making a Giant Ground Sloth
Learn about the Jefferson’s Ground Sloth and how the Museum fabricated a replica skeleton of this Ice Age giant for its
Changes exhibition.

Mazon Creek Collections Database
Explore the Museum’s online Mazon Creek fossil database. Mazon Creek fossils are named for the collecting area in northeastern Illinois where many of the best specimens are found. They are an important source of information about the plants and animals that inhabited this part of North America around 300 million years ago.

Morton D. Barker Paperweight Collection Gallery
View the renowned Barker Collection of 252 glass objects including Classical French, British, American, and other Paperweights.

MuseumLink Art Web Exhibits
The Web exhibits are: Three Chicago Painters - Emil Armin, Gertrude Abercrombie, and Julia Thecla; Two Illinois Photographers - Nathan Lerner and Frank Sadorus; Illinois Quilts and Quilters - Learn about the different styles, eras, and patterns of quilts; Illinois Folk Art - pottery, textiles, paintings, and sculpture made by untrained and trained artists in the 19th century; Victorian Furniture; Themes in Art and Folk Art - Abundance, Remembrance, Coming of Age, and Sense of Place

MuseumLink Behind the Scenes at the Museum
Behind the Scenes lets students learn about museum careers of curator, preparator, director, research assistant, and other jobs involved with running a museum. It offers descriptions of the ISM collections and research programs in Botany, Zoology, Anthropology, Geology, and Art. There are sections on how to mount an exhibit, how to restore an object, how donations are handled, how exhibit murals are made, and how prehistoric environments and lifeways are reconstructed from evidence. Suggestions are given for students to create an exhibit and research objects.

MuseumLink Native American Module
Learn about the Archaic, Woodland, Late Prehistoric, and historic eras of Native American lifeways in Illinois. Lesson plans include the topics of foodways, architecture, clothing, rituals, symbols, and games. This is the most thorough exhibit on the Web of Illinois-related Native American information. Activities are also provided for the Cub Scout and Boy Scout badges.

MuseumLink Prairies in Illinois
This exhibit traces the various types of Illinois prairie through time. Conservation and preservation are emphasized. Lesson plans for all grades include activities on surveying, plant adaptations, dye plants, poetry, and prairie restoration. There is a field guide of prairie flowers.

Prairies in the Prairie State Web Exhibit
This exhibit is a detailed look at Illinois prairie plants and animals. It focuses on Midewin Prairie, a restoration in progress on the property of the old Joliet arsenal. Insects, birds, and mammals are featured.

Projectile Point Gallery
A type collection of Midwestern Projectile Point types.

Reading Ancient Animal Remains
This online exhibit introduces the general public to the science of zooarchaeology and what we have learned from the bones and shells from archaeological sites. We explore the evidence for changing environments and human use of animals during the Archaic Period (about 10,000-3,000 years ago) in Eastern North America.  Our illustrations primarily feature animal remains recovered at the Koster and Modoc Rock Shelter sites in Illinois. The National Science Foundation supported our research and the development of this website to share our results.  

Spider Collection
Spiders are fascinating creatures with specialized body parts and unique behaviors in the Animal Kingdom. Learn about these wonderful and ever-present arachnids and view images from the Museum’s collections.

State Symbols of Illinois Web Exhibit
This exhibit features most of the official Illinois state symbols. Each symbol has a page of background. There is an interactive multiple-choice game. There are also lesson plans for elementary students that help them become familiar with each symbol.

The Story of Illinois: Celebrating the Illinois Bicentennial Through Museum Objects
The Illinois State Museum and the Illinois Association of Museums are pleased to present a virtual exhibition titled The Story of Illinois: The Illinois Bicentennial Through Museum Objects. This exhibition consists of objects from the Illinois State Museum’s 13.5-million-object Illinois Legacy Collection along with objects from other Illinois museums, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Adler Planetarium, Pullman State Historic Site, Wabash County Museum, and many more.

WPA Art Collection
Learn about the history Works Progress Administration in Illinois and view a sample of the Museum’s extensive Illinois WPA Art Collection.