502 South Spring Springfield, IL
America’s entry into World War II resulted in nationwide efforts to mobilize and equip the military in preparation for battle. Diversion of resources to the troops and Allies resulted in food shortages at home: processed and canned food was largely reserved for shipping overseas to the military and our Allies, transportation of fresh food was limited due to gasoline and tire rationing, and restrictions on imports limited the availability of products from abroad such as coffee and sugar. In 1942, the United States Office of Price Administration instituted food rationing to ensure the fair distribution of goods that were in short supply.
After teasing his wife and daughter about the workmanship of one of their quilts, Albert Small was tartly asked if he could do any better. “I can and I will,” he replied and bet them that he could make his own quilt using more pieces of smaller size than anything they could produce. Albert was a foreman at the Ottawa Silica Plant; he had no quiltmaking experience. Nevertheless, after working with dynamite and heavy machinery all day, he picked up his needle and thread at night and succeeded in creating a quilt out of more than 36,000 hexagon-shaped pieces.
This decorative wheat shaft was placed on the grave of James Franklin Moss (1825-1904), a farmer from Jersey County. Wheat is a typical motif of mourning art. It symbolizes the divine harvest of death and the resurrection of the soul.
Like naturalist illustrations on steroids, Kevin Veara's paintings contain the precision and crisp detail found in John J. Audubon prints but without Audubon's formulaic natural settings. Veara surrounds his birds in exotically-colored patterned environments, bringing to mind the way contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley employs highly-stylized patterning as wallpaper that surrounds his figural paintings in order to critique Western Art history and obliterate cultural boundaries.
Springfield, Illinois, artist Kevin Veara paints birds against eye-popping backdrops of imagined, mutant hybrid flora. His paintings comment on the extraordinary beauty of these birds that are forced to coexist or become extinct in an ever-changing modern environment. Some of his paintings also include the birdcalls in bold, glowing, cursive phonetics, a nod to both early 19th century naturalist studies and tattoo art.
The phonograph had a profound impact on the way Americans experienced music. Prior to its invention, the only way to hear music was when it was played or sung live. Music was typically played in group settings, where all were welcome, and even expected, to sing along, and the melody was never played exactly the same way twice. The phonograph allowed people to listen to the songs they wanted to hear, when they wanted to hear them, and if they wanted to, they could even listen to them alone.
This silver spoon belonged to Frances Todd Wallace, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. It was purchased from Chatterton’s Jewelry Store in Springfield (the same place where Abraham Lincoln bought Mary’s wedding ring). The spoon was eventually donated to the Illinois State Museum by Frances’s great-granddaughter.
This hand-crank sewing machine was used by Anna Haight Kipp DeGroff at her farmhouse in Kendall County during the 1860s. It is a New England style machine, manufactured by Charles Raymond. Small, light, and relatively inexpensive, this machine was a popular alternative to the larger, more expensive machines sold by Singer and Howe.
Nancy Batchelder wore this dress when she married David Fryxell on May 1, 1982. It was made from her father's World War II silk parachute. Walter Batchelder was hospitalized and unable to attend his daughter’s wedding, so Nancy made the dress as a tribute to him and as a way of having her father represented on her big day.
This scrip was used to help fund one of Illinois’ earliest and most significant infrastructure projects, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which joins the Chicago and Illinois Rivers and ultimately connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.