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.

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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.

“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.

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New Exhibition Honors Heroes: Including Yours!

Unsung Heroes descriptionThe Museum would like to feature your Illinois “unsung hero” in a Facebook Gallery that will supplement a coming exhibition.

On March 3, the Museum will open a new exhibition, Unsung Heroes, featuring three little-known heroes from Illinois’ past. Anna Heistad was a nurse and settlement worker in early 19th century Chicago who rose before dawn during the Spanish flu pandemic to work with the ill.  Minnie Vautrin was a missionary worker in China who sheltered thousands of women and children during the Nanking Massacre of 1937-1938. Thomas Jones was a Navy medic who tended to his comrades’ wounds in the heat of battle and continued serving veterans after his return.  All three saved countless lives, and none of them did it for any kind of reward or glory.

The Unsung Heroes exhibition will document these fascinating stories of sacrifice and heroism through photographs and personal objects, many which have never been displayed publicly. The exhibition will be open through June 10.

The Museum is also seeking photo submissions of other Illinois “unsung heroes” who will be recognized in a Facebook gallery. Interested persons should submit their hero for recognition. The hero might be a serviceman or woman, first responder, community advocate, volunteer, or anyone else who deserves recognition for their service to others.

Submission requirements:

  • High-quality photo of an Illinois “unsung hero”
  • Hero’s name
  • Hero’s Illinois hometown
  • Submitter’s name
  • Hero’s story in a few paragraphs (what makes this person a hero?)

Send photos and information to erika.holst@illinois.gov by March 2, 2018 for consideration.

[Please do not send any original photos. WE CANNOT RETURN HARD COPIES SUBMITTED FOR THIS PROJECT. By submitting a photo, you are giving the Illinois State Museum permission to display and share your photo online and with the media.  If in doubt, please check with the “hero” you are submitting to make sure they will be comfortable with the recognition.]