Illinois State Museum

Partner Address: 

502 South Spring Springfield, IL

City, State, Zip: 

Springfield, IL

Partner Phone: 

(217) 782-7386

Route 66 Core Sample

Image of core sample of original U.S. Route 66 pavement
The fabled highway, U.S. Route 66, which stretched from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, revolutionized transportation and the relationship Americans had with their cars. Several segments of the original highway can still be found in Illinois. One such section of original pavement was sampled by the Illinois Department of Transportation in Macoupin County, where the old road intersects a new high-speed rail crossing. The pavement core can inform materials engineers about the historic concrete used in its construction and its present condition. It can also help guide preservation and restoration efforts of remaining segments of the historic roadway.

WWI Helmet; Photo of Kent Hagler

Photo of WWI helmet; framed photo of Kent Hagler

WWI helmet, (1917) worn by by Kent Hagler (shown in framed image) during his service in France.

When American forces joined World War I, Kent Hagler of Springfield, Illinois, was desperate to join the military, but a childhood injury prevented him from serving. Undeterred, he joined the American Field Service in France as a volunteer ambulance driver on July 17, 1917. He wore this helmet throughout his time in France.

Jet Brooch

Image of Jet Brooch

Jet Brooch, (c. 1861 -1868), M.W. Galt & Bro, Jewelers, purchased in Washington D.C. by Sally Logan Lamon.

This jet mourning brooch was purchased by Sally Logan Lamon in Washington D.C. during the 1860s, possibly in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

Walter Family Trunk

Image of Trunk

Trunk, (c. 1850), used by the Nikolas Daniel Walter family when they came to Illinois from Hanover Province, Germany.

In 1851, Nikolas Daniel Walter packed all his worldly belongings into this trunk and left Germany with his wife and three small children to settle in Pope County, Illinois.

Moldboard Plow

Image of Moldboard plow

Moldboard plow (c. 1830 -1834), made in Connecticut. Illinois Legacy Collection, Gift of the Alan R. Smith family.

This iron moldboard plow was brought to LaSalle County from Connecticut by the Smith family in 1834. It was used to break the prairie on the Smith’s farm, twelve miles north of Ottawa.

Checkerboard Quilt, c. 1865

Image of Checker Board Quilt
Hand and machine pieced and hand quilted cotton quilt made by Hester (Malone) Wright, (c. 1827 - ), LaPrairie Center, Marshall County, Illinois. 

Carved Gourd

During the 1840s, 50s, and 60s, thousands of Illinoisans went west to seek their fortunes in California and Oregon. Among them was Servetus M. Thorpe, who left his wife and three children on their DeWitt County farm and traveled overland to California in 1862 in search of gold. The gold rush was over, however, so Servetus went on to Oregon, where he established a steamboat line on the Columbia River.

Taxidermied Canary

This canary’s name is Nicodemus. He belonged to an Illinois woman in the 19th century. Nicodemus was free from his cage and sitting on a window sash one day when someone threw open the sash and smashed him. His owner was so distraught that she had him stuffed and mounted, and he sat on display in the family parlor for the next several decades.

CCC Axe

This axe was used by a Civilian Conservation Corps laborer working at Pere Marquette State Park between 1933 and 1940, one of more than a dozen state parks that were developed or improved with CCC labor.

Rush-Seat Chair

Rush-seat chair
This chair is painted with an emblem of the Mt. Pulaski Masonic Lodge, which was chartered on October 8, 1858. The history of Freemasonry stretches back to Colonial times in the United States. (Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, and George Washington were all Masons.) Despite a wave of anti-Masonic sentiment in the 19th century, many new lodges were formed in the years before the Civil War. In an era with no federal “safety net,” the Masonic tradition of founding orphanages and homes for the aged provided a valuable social service.

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