Welcome to ISM-Research & Collections Center

The Research and Collections Center is a 97,000 square-foot facility dedicated to collections care, research, and education. It is a bank that holds over 13.5 million objects as an investment for the future. The RCC houses the vast collections that range in size from the microscopic pollen grains to colossal mastodon fossils. Within its walls, the Illinois State Museum's mission of collecting, studying, and interpreting objects that represent the natural history, anthropology, and art of Illinois is fulfilled. It provides state-of-the-art space to care for and study collections, as well as laboratories and special program spaces for Museum scientists, artists, and educators.

Visits to the RCC must be prearranged. Please call to schedule a visit.

In order to promote the safety of our visitors, all visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering. 

Policy on Research & Imaging of NAGPRA Collections

The Illinois State Museum (ISM) has implemented a moratorium and prohibits all previously approved, pending, ongoing, and new research and imaging of human remains (including DNA) and cultural objects subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) that are reported in the ISM’s inventory to National NAGPRA. The ISM has recalled all loans of collections in its NAGPRA inventory. Consultation is needed on these previously reported holdings, whether under claim or yet to be claimed, to determine repatriation and disposition. In pursuit of its commitment to Tribal Nations, the ISM will engage in meaningful collaboration with tribal communities and defer to their guidance on these matters.

Creation, publication, and reproduction of images of human remains and cultural objects in the ISM’s control which are subject to NAGPRA is expressly prohibited without written consent from the appropriate Tribal Nations, as determined by the ISM NAGPRA committee in consultation with Tribal representatives. Images include, but may not be limited to photography, drawings, 3D scans, CT scans, X-rays, or other depictions or illustrations of human remains and cultural objects subject to NAGPRA.

Documentation of collections by tribal representatives and designated ISM staff members to determine NAGPRA eligibility and cultural or geographical affiliation pursuant to NAGPRA is not considered new research under this policy. Any images generated during documentation will be for internal use only and not available to researchers or the public.  

More information on NAGPRA is available from the National NAGPRA Program.

Approved by the Illinois State Museum Board of Directors, June 14, 2021.

Visitor Information
1011 E. Ash Street
(217) 785-0037

Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00-4
By Appointment Only
Closed: All State holidays.
Directions / Parking
Map to ISM Research & Collections Center
Click here to learn more about the Illinois State Museum Research program.
Click here to learn more about the Illinois State Museum collections.

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