Library and Archives
The Illinois State Museum library's collection contains around 40,000 items including books, serial publications, rare books, Museum archives, and special research collections. The library serves staff specialists and other researchers by acquiring and preserving materials that support the Museum's mission.
The Museum library is a research facility. The collection is non-circulating to the public but may be used on-site with an appointment. The library is a member of the Illinois Heartland Library System and participates in interlibrary lending through OCLC. Our holdings are searchable in the IHLS/SHARE Catalog.
The Illinois State Museum library is housed at the ISM-Research and Collections Center at 1011 E. Ash Street in Springfield.
The Living Museum Online
The Living Museum Online, a searchable database of The Living Museum publication, is available here. This electronic resource does not replace the print version of The Living Museum but makes it additionally accessible online. The Living Museum Online project is part of the Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) and is hosted by the Illinois State Library.
Policies for Use and Interlibrary Loan
The Museum library is a research facility. The collection is non-circulating to the public but may be used on site with an appointment by calling (217) 524-0496. The Museum participates in interlibrary loan as a member of OCLC. Requests for periodical photocopies or interlibrary loans should be made through OCLC.
The Illinois Quilt Research Project
The Illinois Quilt Research Project (IQRP) was a multi-year project to document quilts owned and made by Illinoisans. Hundreds of people brought their (thousands of) quilts to various sites throughout Illinois to have them photographed, analyzed, and documented. Each quilt was then given a special tag with a unique ID number to attach to it. This project was originally a joint project of the Land of Lincoln Quilters Association and the Early American Museum, but ultimately the records became part of the Illinois State Museum's archives. Now they are currently being digitized and added to the Quilt Index, an open access, digital repository of thousands of images, stories, and information about quilts and their makers drawn from hundreds of public and private collections around the world. The Quilt Index is coordinated and maintained by Michigan State University. You can search the Quilt Index website at https://quiltindex.org/.
The Museum librarian in charge of digitizing the information from the IQRP and is adding them to the Quilt Index as she is able. However, as there are thousands of records waiting to be digitized, this effort will take some time. If you find a quilt that has an Illinois Quilt Research Project tag attached to it, you can search the Quilt Index website for the number provided on the tag for information about the quilt. If you're unable to locate your quilt in the Index, or if you have additional questions or need assistance, you can contact the ISM librarian by email at Tracy.Pierceall@illinois.gov.