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The Illinois State Museum has an active publishing program that serves a wide audience, from scholars and researchers to the general public. Among our publications are:

  • Nontechnical, popular-science books on natural history, archaeology, and anthropology
  • Handbooks of collections that provide descriptive accounts of the ISM collections
  • Scientific, monograph-length reports of Museum-sponsored/related projects, of interest to scholars, students, and researchers
  • Exhibition catalogs featuring both images and narratives of artwork produced primarily by Illinois artists
  • General-interest books about the history, decorative arts, and material culture of Illinois and other titles that reflect the scope of our research and collections ranging from botany, zoology, geology, and paleontology to anthropology

For information on how to find and purchase printed copies of the Museum's other publications, open the Publications Catalog or contact Beckie Dyer at or call (217) 782-7475.  

The publications listed below are available online in digital format.

Illinois State Museum Research eSeries
This series showcases the research of scientists and other staff of the Illinois State Museum and is available in searchable Portable Document Format (PDF) free of charge. Adobe Reader is required to view PDF files and the free Adobe Reader can be downloaded from Adobe’s website.

A Study of the Birds of Sangamon County, Illinois, 1970-2010
documents the dramatic changes in the presence and populations of bird species in Sangamon County. H. David Bohlen’s two-part compendium explores environmental change, habitat destruction, and degradation by humans as well as outlines methods, conclusions, and recommendations. It also offers a vast compilation of the county’s bird species, many of which have been beautifully photographed and aptly featured in part two of the study.

Download Part 1 (7.5 MB) Download Part 2 (5.1 MB)

Online access to The Story of Illinois Series
The Story of Illinois series contains 14 booklets relating to Illinois' natural sciences, anthropology and art. Established by former Museum Editor Virginia Eifert, the booklets have been popular with readers since the series began in the 1940s. The final booklet in the series was completed in 1982. ISSN 0360-0289

The entire 14 volume series is available for viewing and downloading through the HathiTrust Digital Library. Note: Some volumes are grouped together.

Some Story of Illinois titles are still available in print.

A View of the Past: An Introduction to Illinois Geology
Christopher J. Schuberth
Written for general readers who are interested in geology and the natural history of the Midwest, this lavishly illustrated book clearly describes the geologic history of Illinois. Presenting the newest information in our understanding of Illinois geology, the publication tells how the better-known minerals, rocks, and fossils got where they are and how each fits into the broad geologic character of the region. The book relates in chronologic order all the physical events that affected Illinois from more than 1.5 billion years ago until the present. 181 pages, 1 color photo, 86 b&w photos, 48 b&w line drawings. 1986.  ISBN 0-89792-104-6

A Vew of the Past: An Introduction to Illinois Geology (46.3 MB) is available for viewing and downloading through the HathiTrust Digital Library.

A popular Museum reference is now available as a free download.
Indian Villages of the Illinois Country
By Wayne C. Temple
This study by Wayne C. Temple brings together, from a wide variety of documentary sources, an excitingly vivid history of the major Indian tribes in Illinois.
Scientific Papers, Vol. II, Part 2.  ISBN 0-89792-027-9

Indian Villages of the Illinois Country (16.8 MB) Scanned, searchable PDF.

The Living Museum
For more than 70 years the Illinois State Museum published The Living Museum, a free quarterly magazine focusing on current topics in research and collections. View online or some back issues are available. Contact Beckie Dyer or (217) 782-7475.

Publications Catalog

Click the image above to view and download the list of Illinois State Museum publications available for purchase. Ordering instructions are on the last page of the list.