Illinois State Museum

Explore the official museum of natural history of Illinois and a collection of cultural and artistic achievements. The Illinois State Museum contains a diverse and plentiful collection of archaeological, botanical, geological, and zoological specimens. Exhibits showcase the history of the Prairie State through 500 million years of environmental change. Travel through time, from the beginning of life on Earth, to an era when American mastodons roamed the Illinois landscape, to the days of the first European explorers. Experience Illinois’ rich Native American heritage through life-size dioramas and artifacts like baskets, weavings, weapons, and tools.

Did you know?

  • The Museum’s anthropology collection contains more than eight million archaeological specimens and ethnographic objects. It is among the most extensive collections in the United States.
  • Illinois had two capital cities, Kaskaskia and Vandalia, before Springfield.
  • The name Illinois is Algonquin for “tribe of superior men.”


Illinois State Museum

Article written by Sarah Wyland

Sarah Wyland
Sarah never gets in trouble for being on Facebook and Instagram at work, because its her job. As social media manager, she gets to tell the stories of travelers, teachers, and interesting places. Other titles she enjoys include dog mom to Knox, barre instructor, Crossfit athlete, avid reader, and world traveler.