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Plan a Field Trip - Step 3: Prepare for Your Visit

See our Visitor Information Page for the latest details and reservations. Please visit our Educator’s Webpage for virtual exhibits, activities, and resources. Our Family Fun Site also offers activities that can be adapted to the classroom.  We also have a variety of online resources designed for K-12 teachers that covers a variety of subjects.

Thank you for planning to visit the Illinois State Museum on your field trip. The following information should help you plan for your trip. When you arrive, please check-in at the front desk.

Field Trip Guidelines
Please share these guidelines with your group before you come.

  • Chaperones must stay with their students at all times.
  • No food or gum is allowed in the Museum. Water is allowed in containers with lids.
  • If possible, leave coats, lunches, backpacks, and other belongings on the bus.
  • Be respectful of the Museum and other guests by using indoor voices and walking at all times.
  • Photographs are allowed in most exhibitions, but flash photograph is not allowed. Photos in the art gallery depend on the exhibition on view. Please ask about photos in this space upon your arrival. 

The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum (grades 4 and younger) has its own guidelines:

  • Visitors are asked to walk, use indoor voices, and put items back when they are finished playing with them.
  • Chaperones must stay with the students at all times.
  • No food, gum, or drinks are allowed in the Play Museum. Waterbottles must be left near the door.
  • Strollers may have to be parked outside the exhibit depending on how many people are using the space.

Field Trip Resources

  • ISM Floor Plan
  • Parking map: Buses may unload in the west-bound lane directly infront of the Museum. Bus parking can be found in the Capitol Visitor Center Lot one block west of the Museum (#2 on the map).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best student to chaperone ratio?
A: We recommend at least one adult for every 10 students.

Q: Can our group eat lunch or a snack at the Museum?
A: No food or drink is allowed in the Museum. Picnic facilities are available at the Capitol Complex Visitor Center, one block west of the Museum.

Q: Do you offer educator-led programs?
A: We do offer guided programs. Contact Sarah Davis at or (217) 782-6044 for information.

Q: I have an activity that I would like the students to complete. Can we bring clipboards and pencils?
A: Yes. The Museum can also supply clipboards and pencils if you prefer. Contact Sarah Davis at or (217) 782-6044 to make a request.

Q: Does the Museum have WiFi?
A: Yes, the Museum has an open WiFi network, but availability may be limited in some areas of the building.