Illinois State Museum

Partner Address: 

502 South Spring Springfield, IL

City, State, Zip: 

Springfield, IL

Partner Phone: 

(217) 782-7386

Pyrite Suns

Image of Pyrite Sun.
Call them Pyrite Suns, Pyrite Dollars, Miner’s Dollars, or even Sun Dollars; just don’t call them fossils. They may look like fossilized plants, but the crystal structures actually formed deep underground under great pressure about 350 million years ago. These round disks sometimes occur between seams of coal and may be found when coal is mined. Although pyrite is quite common worldwide, the disk form is virtually unique to Illinois.

Butterfly Transfer Prints

Image of moth transfer print.
Today, anyone can share color photos of butterflies and moths by simply uploading them to social media. It wasn't so easy 120 years ago, when technology to capture color photographs and print the pictures on a page was in its infancy.

Child’s Jumpsuit

Image of anti-war child's jumpsuit.

maker unknown
c. 1972
cotton
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Pickel, 1979.87.2
ILLINOIS LEGACY COLLECTION – ILLINOIS STATE MUSEUM

Opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War began with small demonstrations on college campuses in 1964. By the end of the decade, anti-war sentiment had grown into a broad social movement that sparked a counterculture revolution.

Mosaic Quilt

Image of mosaic quilt, Albert Small, 1941-1945.

c. 1941-1945
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of William A. Small and Evelyn Small Carter, 1992.51.3

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.

Wheat Shaft in Shadow Box

Image of decorative wheat shaft in shadow box.

1904
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of Larry H. Smith, 2011.082.0001

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.

Americana #18, Carolina Parakeet

Image of Americana #18, Carolina Parakeet, by Kevin Veara, acrylic on panel, 2015.
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.

Miasma #32, Swamp Sparrow

Image of Miasma #32, Swamp Sparrow, by Kevin Veara, acrylic on panel, 2012.
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.

Phonograph

Image of Grand Busy Bee Disc Talking Machine.

c. 1906-1909
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of Leslie Oldenettel in memory of Bernice Oldenettel, 1990.53.42

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.

Silver Spoon

Image of silver spoon owned by Frances Todd Wallace, sister of Mary Todd Lincoln.

c. 1850
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of Mrs. F. J. Patterson, 1971.35.750168

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.

Sewing machine

Image of sewing machine.

c. 1861-1870
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Gift of Arlene Jay Robb in memory of her DeGroff Jay ancestors, 2012.102.0060

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.

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