Illinois State Museum

Partner Address: 

502 South Spring Springfield, IL

City, State, Zip: 

Springfield, IL

Partner Phone: 

(217) 782-7386

“Long-nosed god” Maskette

Image of "Long-nosed god" maskette.
Small ornaments of this type were part of the ceremonial dress of leaders who wore them on the ear. They are carved from a piece of marine shell imported from other parts of the country and are often carved in a triangular shape with circular eyes, a long nose, and a squared-off crown.

Otter and Raven Effigy Pipes

Image of Otter effigy pipe, White County, Illinois.
The animals that provided food, clothing, and tools for Native people, and that were the basis for stories and legends, often appear as subjects of artwork that adorns pottery and other decorative and ceremonial objects. These animal effigy pipes (Raven and Otter) were found in southeastern Illinois.

Kingfisher-Effigy Bone Hairpin

Image of kingfisher effigy bone hairpin.
For people of the late Woodland Period living about 1,000 years ago, animals provided more than just meat for their diets. In the Lower Illinois River Valley and American Bottoms (where Mississippian culture and the City of Cahokia would eventually rise to prominence), archaeologists have discovered significant collections of bone tools and ornaments.

Illinois Art Glass

Image of Illinois Art Glass.

Birds ashtray
The Dearborn Glass Company
c. 1957-1965
Fused glass
Gift of Michael Mueller. 2012.151.2

Blot square bowl
The Higgins Studio
c. 1951-1957
Fused glass
Gift of Michael Mueller. 2012.151.9

Arabesque bowl
The Dearborn Glass Company
c. 1957-1964
Fused glass
Gift of Michael Mueller. 2012.6.6

Glass artists Frances and Michael Higgins met at the Chicago Institute for Design and married in 1948. Together, they founded The Higgins Studio in their Chicago apartment, using kilns positioned behind their sofa to create decorative and everyday items using their signature fused glass technique. They quickly attracted orders from major retailers such as Marshall Field’s and Georg Jensen.

Mourning Bodice

Image of mourning bodice worn by Mary Lincoln.

c. 1875-1880
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of Mrs. F. J. Patterson, 1971.35.746797

This bodice was worn by Mary Lincoln approximately a decade after the death of her husband. Abraham Lincoln’s assassination had plunged Mary into a deep grief from which she never truly recovered, particularly after the additional blow of losing her youngest son, Tad, in 1871. The woman who once delighted in fine, fashionable gowns wore only somber black mourning ensembles for the rest of her life.

Illinois Art Pottery

Image of Illinois Art pottery.

The American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Company
c. 1904-1906
Condell Fund purchase. 1996.94
Chicago Crucible Company
c. 1920-1932
Condell Fund purchase. 1989.24
Haeger Potteries
c. 1940-1950
Gift of the Lincoln Land Depression Era Glass Club. 2000.32.1

Illinois’ tradition of art pottery can be traced back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In the wake of this tragedy, the need for economical, fireproof building materials was made clear, and the architectural terra cotta industry was born. At the same time, the Arts and Crafts movement inspired ceramists to combine artistry with industry to create pottery whose beauty lay not in hand-applied surface decoration but in innovative shapes.

Illinois Flag

Image of Illinois flag flown in Vietnam War.
This flag was flown over the tents and barracks of the 515th Transportation Company at Cam Rahn Bay from 1966-68 during the Vietnam War. It is signed by the 22 Illinois members of that company. The 515th, known as the Roadrunners, drove 5-ton trucks hauling supplies to the troops in 12 hour shifts around the clock, 365 days each year.

Salesman’s Sample Case

Image of portrait company salesmans sample case.
This sample case was carried by a representative of one of the many late 19th and early 20th century commercial portrait companies that created large crayon portraits from customers’ photographs. Armed with this case, the salesmen traveled (usually by train) across the country, knocking on doors, displaying his products, and deflecting objections in an effort to secure orders.

Peasant Blouse

Image of blouse purchased in Mexico.
Estanislao Goff purchased this blouse on a trip to Mexico in the late 1940s. That trip was the last time she would ever see her homeland, and the blouse was a reminder of the country and culture she had left behind decades earlier.


Image of nightgown purchased in Paris at the end of World War II.
First Lieutenant Irwin Davenport bought this nightgown for his young bride, Beatrice, in Paris at the end of World War II. Beatrice and Irwin were college sweethearts who had married on June 15, 1943.


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