Museum Collection on the Road: Christina Ramberg in Berlin

The museum’s two Christina Ramberg paintings on exhibit in an exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin Germany. Curated by Anna Gritz, the exhibition puts Ramberg’s work in conversation with contemporary artists around the ideas of constraint and identity.

The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue
14 September 19 – 5 January 20

Alexandra Bircken, Rachal Bradley, Sara Deraedt, Gaylen Gerber, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Konrad Klapheck, Ghislaine Leung, Hans-Christian Lotz, Senga Nengudi, Ana Pellicer, Christina Ramberg, Richard Rezac, Diane Simpson, Terre Thaemlitz,  Kathleen White Continue Reading

Museum Collection on the Road: Sheldon Peck Homestead, Lombard, IL

The Illinois State Museum’s Sheldon Peck portrait of Silas Vaughan is currently on view with other works by the artist in his home in Lombard, IL. Mr. Vaughan is in good company, surrounded by over a dozen of Peck’s portraits. This is a rare opportunity to see the work bu the distinctive folk portraitist, sheep farmer and radical abolitionist in the original home of the artist. The exhibition, Sheldon Peck: Footsteps of his Life is organized by the Lombard Historical Society, and is on extended view through October 8th.

Read more here

Museum Collection on the Road: Lubeznik Center for the Arts

The Illinois Legacy Collection has lent four pieces to the Lubeznik Center for the Arts fantastic exhibition The Chicago Imagist Before and After. On view are three Joseph Yoakum works on paper and a Seymour Rosofsky print. Congratulations to LCA’s curator Lora Fosberg for organizing such an excellent exhibition. Many other regional institutions have lent great works as well (Brauer Museum of Art, South Bend Art Museum, Midwest Museum of American Art), proving the strength of our Midwest museum community.

The Chicago Imagists: Before & After
June 17 – October 19

Hyndman Gallery, Brinka/Cross Gallery, Susan Block Gallery

Explore the 1960s/70s Chicago Imagists movement that celebrated the lowbrow, colorful nature of everyday urban life with individuality and irreverence. This exhibition features the Chicago Imagists, artists who inspired them and those they influenced; included are Roger Brown, Tony Fitzpatrick, Lee Godie, Jeff Koons, Paul Nudd, Ed Paschke, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum, Joseph Yoakum, Ray Yoshida and more.

Seymour Rosofsky, The Couple, 1973, Lithograph on paper, 1976.41/572. Joseph Yoakum, Mt. Velebit in Dina Alps Near Otocac, date unknown, ball point pen, colored pencil, watercolor on paper, 2001.89, Gift of Phyllis Arist, Joseph Yoakum, Mt. Cenis Pass, Torino, Italy, c. 1965, ball point pen and colored pencil on paper, 1982.5. Joseph Yoakum, Colonial Mtn, Cannal zone, 1964, Ball point pen and pencil on paper, 2012.101.6, Gift of the Raymond K Yoshida Living Trust and the Kohler Foundation, Inc.

Museum’s Rodin visits home for a brief exhibition



The Illinois State Museum’s Auguste Rodin sculpture is on loan to Maison Noilly Prat for an exhibition ‘A Rodin to Say Thank you’. The Noilly Prat distillery purchased the sculpture from the Rodin Museum as their gift to the Merci Train. It is now returned home for a brief visit to soak up some Mediterranean rays!

This sculpture was a gift to the people of the State of Illinois from the Merci Train, or French Gratitude Train, of 1949. The purpose of this gift was to acknowledge the more than $40 million in food and aid collected in 1947 by private citizens in the United States and sent to France and Italy after World War II. Many of the gifts were handmade, while others, like this sculpture from the celebrated artist Auguste Rodin, were reflective of the French cultural heritage.

Jeanne d’Aire, Burgher of Calais, Auguste Rodin, (1840-1917, b. Paris, France, d. Meudon, France), Modeled 1884-1889, eduction model 1895, cast May 1945, Patinated bronze, Gift of the French Merci Train, from a prior purchase from the Rodin Museum in 1948 by Noilly-Prat et Cie., 1949.21

Illinois State Museum Receives Highest National Recognition

The Illinois State Museum has again achieved accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition afforded the nation’s museums. Accreditation signifies excellence to the museum community, to governments, funders, outside agencies, and to the museum-going public. The Illinois State Museum has been accredited since 1972. All museums must undergo a reaccreditation review at least every 10 years to maintain accredited status.

Alliance Accreditation brings national recognition to a museum for its commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. Developed and sustained by museum professionals for over 45 years, the Alliance’s museum accreditation program is the field’s primary vehicle for quality assurance, self-regulation and public accountability. It strengthens the museum profession by promoting practices that enable leaders to make informed decisions, allocate resources wisely, and remain financially and ethically accountable in order to provide the best possible service to the public.

“I want to thank and congratulate the dedicated staff at the Illinois State Museum, the Illinois State Museum Board, and supporters of the Museum for all of the efforts put forth as part of the AAM’s reaccreditation process,” said Colleen Callahan, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “We are all committed to continuing and strengthening the Illinois State Museum’s standing as a world-class museum approaching 150 years of telling the Story of Illinois.”

Of the nation’s estimated 33,000 museums, over 1,070 are currently accredited.

Accreditation is a very rigorous but highly rewarding process that examines all aspects of a museum’s operations. To earn accreditation a museum first must conduct a year of self-study, and then undergo a site visit by a team of peer reviewers. AAM’s Accreditation Commission, an independent and autonomous body of museum professionals, considers the self-study and visiting committee report to determine whether a museum should receive accreditation.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, Alliance president and CEO. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.”

The Illinois State Museum inspires discovery and caring about Illinois’ cultural and natural resources and heritage. The Museum’s extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of the land, life, people, and art of Illinois. The Illinois State Museum is headquartered in Springfield.  ISM facilities are located in Springfield, at the Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown, and at the Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery in Lockport. For more information on the ISM, go online to

About the American Alliance of Museums
The American Alliance of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. Representing more than 35,000 individual museum professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners serving the museum field, the Alliance stands for the broad scope of the museum community. For more information, visit

New Exhibits on Display

In the last month, the Museum has installed two new exhibitions: Hats Off: Stylish Selections from the Illinois Legacy Collection and Harvesting the River: Pearl Buttons.

Hat’s Off contains wide variety of women’s hats from the Museum’s collection. They include a winter bonnet, a mourning bonnet, and a hat made from an entire barn owl.*



Harvesting the River: Pearl Buttons tells the story of the mussel shell pearl button industry in Illinois. Mussels are important ecologically as they filter water in streams and lakes. Today they are one of the most endangered and threatened creatures in Illinois.


Harvesting the River: Pearl Buttonis located in the Hot Science Gallery of the Changes exhibition on the first floor. It will be on display through May of 2019.

* The owl hat was made by Retta Nichols whose son shot the owl in 1940 shortly before leaving home to serve in WWII. The millinery trade is often connected to the decline and extinction of numerous bird species in the 19th century. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was passed in 1918 in response to the efforts of conservationists who feared more species would be lost to the feather trade. Owls were not protected by the act until a 1972 amendment added 32 families of birds, including eagles, hawks, owls, and corvids (crows, jays, and magpies).

Illinois State Museum History Site Live

The website dedicated to the history of the Illinois State Museum is up and running. “The Story of Illinois” is a project of the Illinois State Museum Library, which secured a $12,500 Illinois History Digital Imaging grant from the Illinois State Library to begin to digitize the Museum’s archives relating to its history.

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The site will continue to grow and add content over the multi-year project. The Museum will feature objects from the collection on its social media sites as well.