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).

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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.

Illinois Legacy Collection on the Road: Art Institute of Chicago

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The Illinois State Museum is pleased that Suellen Rocca’s painting Blue Policeman / Eek, will be on view as part of the Hairy Who? 1966-1969 exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago. Exhibition runs  September 26, 2018–January 6, 2019. Read more here.

Hairy Who? 1966–1969 is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago.

Suellen Rocca (American, b. 1943), Blue Policeman / Eek, c.1966, oil on canvas, 16 x 12″, Illinois Legacy Collection, Gift of Chuck Thurow, 2016.21.069.

 

Illinois Legacy Collection on the Road

 

Three sculptures by Theodore Halkin from the Illinois State Museum’s art collection will be on view in the upcoming exhibition 3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980 at the Tang Museum of Art in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Exhibition will run from September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019.

Featured artist include: Don Baum, Roger Brown, Sarah Canright, Dominick Di Meo, Eleanor Dube, Ed Flood, Art Green, Red Grooms, Ted Halkin, Philip Hanson, June Leaf, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Suellen Roca, Barbara Rossi, Evelyn Statsinger, Stephen Urry, H.C. Westermann, Karl Wirsum, Ray Yoshida.

3-D Doings is organized by Tang Museum Dayton Director Ian Berry and Chicago-based curators and scholars John Corbett and Jim Dempsey. The exhibition and subsequent catalog are funded in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, as part of Art Design Chicago.

Read more about the exhibition here.

Picture above: Theodore (Ted) Halkin (American, b. Chicago IL, 1924), (left) House 6, 1971-75, plaster, pillow with cotton case, woven mess with cellophane, 11 x 11 ½ x 6 ½ “ (house), 5 x 17 x 22” (pillow), 2001.22.39, gift of the artist. (top right) House 7, c. 1971-75, mixed media sculpture/piece fake fur over an armature, fiber, found metal case with plastic handle, 12 x 9 x 7” (house), 14 ¼ x 10 ¼ x 5 ½ “ (case), 2001.22. 37, Gift of the artist. (bottom right) House 10, c. 1971-75, mixed media sculpture/castable material or concrete, metallic paint, embroidered pillow with lace trim, 7 x 5 x 5 ¾” (house), 1 ½ x 11 x 11” (pillow), 2001.22.40, Gift of the artist

The Story of the Illinois State Museum

If you have ever wondered how the Illinois State Museum got its start or wished you could find an image of that classic exhibition from your childhood, there is a new resource in the works thanks to a recent grant from the Illinois State Library.

The Illinois State Museum Library recently secured a $12,500 Illinois History Digital Imaging grant from the Illinois State Library. This grant will fund a two-year project to digitize the Illinois State Museum’s vast archive of papers, photos, and other memorabilia related to its 141 year history. This project comes at a time when the Museum is beginning to plan for its sesquicentennial in 2027, but you won’t have to wait that long to access the information, which will be available through the Illinois Digital Archives database maintained by the State Library.

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“There’s a treasure trove of fascinating pictures and memorabilia documenting the institutional history of the Illinois State Museum.  I’m excited to have this chance to digitize it and make it available to the public, especially leading up to our 150th anniversary in a few years.  Many thanks to Secretary of State Jesse White and the Illinois State Library for making this project possible.” – Tracy Pierceall, ISM Librarian

Stay tuned to the State Museum’s social media pages for updates on this project as it progresses.

Bicentennial & Beyond! Opens with a Splash

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The Museum opened its Bicentennial & Beyond! The Illinois Legacy Collection exhibition on Friday, June 29 with a public celebration. Almost 400 people enjoyed music, food, drinks, and one of the largest exhibitions of rarely-seen objects from the Museum’s Illinois Legacy Collection of 13.5 million objects.

Bicentennial and Beyond! exhibits artifacts from a variety of disciplines, including art, anthropology, archeology, botany, decorative arts, geology, and zoology, chosen for the unique stories they tell about Illinois. Reflecting the fact that the complete story of Illinois goes well beyond the 200 years since statehood, artifacts range from 400-million-year-old fossils to contemporary art. The exhibition runs through February 3, 2019.

Photos by Chris Young and Megan Ruyle. To see a 360º photo of the exhibition gallery, click here.

Welcoming New Faces

The Illinois State Museum continues to welcome new faces to its staff. We would like to introduce Samantha Comerford, Sarah Davis, and Dannyl Dolder.

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Samantha Comerford is interning with the Art and History Section for one year. She 
recently graduated with an art history degree and a history minor from Illinois State University where she worked at University Galleries and cometogetherspace. She  also has had experience at the Frye Art Museum, James Harris Gallery, and Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. Samantha particularly loves textiles, especially dresses from all eras. As a child she came to the State Museum often, and loved (and still loves) the 1990s Teenager’s Bedroom exhibit in At Home in the Heartland.

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Sarah Davis is a Museum Educator in the the Education Section. This is not her first time working at the State Museum; she is a former Monticello Intern in Education and longtime Museum volunteer. Sarah has a degree in in Elementary education and has worked previously as an elementary literacy teacher and reading and math tutor. Sarah has a passion for fostering lifelong learning and championing hands-on exploration.

 

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Dannyl Dolder is the new Registrar in the Art and History Section. She received her BA in Art at the University of Illinois–Springfield, where she was in charge of the student gallery and cataloged the UIS art collection. Ten years ago, Dannyl interned at the State Museum learning a broad array of skills from art installation to art registration to photography. After her internship, she apprenticed with Doug Carr, Illinois State Museum and Dana-Thomas House photographer. She loves art, museums, and collaborating with her very creative museum colleagues.