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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Advertisements

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“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.

“Story of Illinois” Website Launch

In 2018, the State of Illinois is celebrating its 200th birthday. In recognition of the Bicentennial, Illinois museums are sharing the State’s rich history through the objects in their care with a new website entitled “The Story of Illinois: Celebrating the Illinois Bicentennial Through Museum Objects” (story.illinoisstatemuseum.org).

The website, built by the Illinois State Museum, will feature some of the 13.5 million objects in its collection which will be on display in a new exhibition entitled “Bicentennial and Beyond: The Illinois Legacy Collection” opening on June 30. Both the website and the exhibition recognize the fact that the record of the place that became Illinois goes back much further than 200 years—about 500 million years further. From the Tully Monster (the State Fossil), to prehistoric stone tools, to a wedding dress fashioned from a parachute, each object tells a unique part of Illinois’ story, regardless of its age.

The collections from museums in Illinois help tell the unique story of Illinois, from statehood 200 years ago and beyond. The new ‘Story of Illinois’ website will allow anyone, anywhere, anytime to go online and sample some of the best of Illinois history, art, culture, and science.”

– Robert Sill, ISM Interim Director

The website takes a State-wide focus through a partnership with the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM). The IAM has recruited museums from Chicago to Mount Vernon to share treasures from their vaults and galleries.

“You will find some rare, quirky, and beautiful objects on the website, such as the Lone Ranger’s saddle used by Brace Beemer from the Wabash County Museum, to a ceremonial war club used by the Potawatomi Indians from the Chicago History Museum, to a painting by Illinois native and American Impressionist Ivan Summers from the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, to a photoelectric relay used at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition of 1933-34. Each item has its own story to tell.”

— Karen Everingham, Illinois Association of Museums President

New objects and partners will be added to the site throughout the Bicentennial year. Participating Museums to date include:

  • Adler Planetarium, Chicago
  • Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, Mt. Vernon
  • Chicago Academy of Sciences – Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago
  • Chicago History Museum, Chicago
  • Elizabeth History Museum, Elizabeth
  • Illinois State Museum, Springfield
  • Illinois State Museum Dickson Mounds, Lewistown
  • John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago
  • Pullman State Historic Site, Chicago
  • The Chicago Great Western Depot Museum, Elizabeth
  • The Field Museum, Chicago
  • Wabash County Museum, Mt. Carmel
  • Western Illinois University, Macomb

The State Museum will be featuring objects and their stories through its Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds. Like or follow the Museum on these platforms to see new objects as they are added.

ISM_IAM_Bicentennial Seal

Marshall Fields Holiday Exhibit

A nostalgic collection of Marshall Field’s Christmas decorations is on display in the State Museum lobby. It includes toys, ornaments, and postcards. The crown jewels of the collection are Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly. The characters were introduced in 1945 and were often seen at the top of the Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room as well as other locations in the store.

Do you remember Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly? What is your favorite Marshall Fields Christmas memory?

 

ISM Sculpture featured in NY Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Illinois State Museum is pleased to have lent Diane Simpson’s sculpture Samurai #9, 1983, to JTT Gallery in New York. JTT’s exhibition features works from Diane Simpson’s landmark Samurai series, which were first exhibited in 1983 at Phyllis Kind’s Chicago gallery. The series consists of eight freestanding sculptures inspired by samurai armor and Japanese firemen capes—seven of which JTT has gathered for their exhibition. The exhibition runs through January 15, 2017.

The Samurai Series is an early example of Simpson’s life long engagement with the potential of translating clothing and body adornment into elegant sculptures. Samurai #9 is a simplified figure of a samurai warrior, made of precisely cut sheets of MDF (medium-density fibreboard), and assembled without hardware along oblique angles, mirroring the flattened geometric perspective employed in Japanese prints. Her figure is as much architecture as armor.

The Museum purchased Samurai #9 from the Phyllis Kind Gallery in 1983. It has subsequently been on view in Diane Simpson’s retrospective at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2010, and in Figurism: Narrative and Fantastic Figuration at the Illinois State Museum.

Manierre Dawson: A Journey to Abstraction

 

When searching through art history text books on the subject of inventing modern abstraction, it is unlikely that you will find the name Manierre Dawson (1887-1969). When it comes to who made the first totally non-representational paintings, you will find familiar names like Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and Arthur Dove. But recent scholarship contends that Dawson, a little known artist from Chicago, took his own journey to non-objective painting, and may even have arrived there shortly before these other famous artists.

On December 10, the Museum will proudly present Manierre Dawson: A Journey to Abstraction. The exhibition, comprised of 16 original oil paintings, tells the story of how a Midwest artist, trained as an architectural engineer, with virtually no direct contact with his early 20th century European and American Avant-Garde counterparts, independently arrived at the same artistic destination. Visitors will be able to see some of the earliest examples of Dawson’s abstracting tendencies, where naïve-looking figures inhabit flattened, simplified landscapes. The exhibition will show Dawson’s journey to pure abstraction and some of the stops along the way that shaped his innovative artistic vision and defined his life. Discover some of the reasons why—in the end—he is not as well known.

This exhibition is located in the Illinois State Museum‘s Temporary/Permanent Gallery which features temporary exhibitions from the Museum’s permanent collections. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 South Spring Street, Springfield.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Sunday from Noon-4:30 p.m.