Exhibitions

The Illinois State Museum's extensive collections can be seen in both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Permanent exhibitions are always available, while temporary exhibitions rotate every few months.


Permanent
At Home in the Heartland Exhibit at ISM Springfield.
Listen to the stories of real people who lived in Illinois. Immerse yourself in the dramatic changes in household life over the past 300 years.
ISM Changes Exhibit
At Changes visitors will see, hear, and touch Illinois’ natural history through engaging hands-on interactive displays, audio and video effects, thousands of authentic fossils, and more. Marvel at all the strange and intriguing species that once inhabited Illinois through a multitude of life-size dioramas.
The Mary Ann MacLean Play Museum at ISM Springfield.
The Play Museum is a free children's area at the Illinois State Museum-Springfield. Load a jeep; crawl through a cave; dig for fossils; put together a baby mastodont puzzle; frame art; explore collections of fossils, insects, artifacts; and toys; and play museum!

Temporary
Walk on the Wild Side: The Story of Illinois Cats features fossils and casts of some of the largest cat species to roam North America.
Ancestral Threads celebrates the art and tradition of African American quilting through the work of Sherise Marie Wright, who learned to quilt from her great-grandmother. Sherise’s quilts, created between 2000 and her death in 2015, reach across time and find relevance and joy in all aspects of Blackness, and reflect the immense love she had for her people.
human / nature brings together artists who address our relationship to the natural world as the source of our sustenance. This exhibition looks at our perceptions and beliefs about this relationship, and the consequences of our actions.