Illinois State Museum

Partner Address: 

502 South Spring Springfield, IL

City, State, Zip: 

Springfield, IL

Partner Phone: 

(217) 782-7386


Image of firemarks.

c. 1830s-1860s
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Transfer from the Illinois State Historical Library, 1997.195

These metal plates were recovered from the facades of pre-Civil War structures throughout Illinois. They were issued by fire insurance companies as a way for policy holders to publicly indicate that their buildings and possessions were insured against loss by fire.

Wax Figurines

Image of wax figurines of outstanding Illinois women.

c. 1920s
Illinois Legacy Collection, Illinois State Museum
Transfer from the Illinois State Historical Library,1970.28

These three wax figurines are representatives from a collection of 129 figurines depicting outstanding women in Illinois history. They were created by Minna Schmidt and donated to the Illinois State Historical Library in 1929. Harriet Sanger Pullman, left, was a socialite who supported hospitals, libraries, and schools. Julia Dent Grant, center, was the loving wife of Ulysses S. Grant. Elizabeth Byerly Bragdon, right, was a patron of music and the arts.

Beaded Flapper Dress

Image of beaded flapper dress.

Illinois State Museum, Illinois Legacy Collection
Transfer from the University of Illinois,

This heavy, elaborately embellished dress comes straight out of Jazz Age Paris, where Anna King purchased it in 1926. Flapper dresses like these were specifically designed for dancing, as movement accentuates the dress.

Hercules I

Hercules I is the first in a series of three Hercules paintings that Manierre Dawson completed in the wake of his visit to the Armory Show in Chicago. He was so taken by Marcel Duchamp’s 1911-12 work, Nude (Study), Sad Young Man on a Train (Nu [esquisse], Jeune homme triste dans un train), that he purchased it.

Transfer Print Plate: Rochester Castle

Image of Rochester Castle transfer print plate, James and Roalph Clews Pottery, Staffordshire, England, 1815-1834.

James and Ralph Clews Pottery
Staffordshire, England

This plate was produced by James & Ralph Clews in Staffordshire. Their ceramics were commonplace on the American frontier. The image in the center of the plate is a distant view of Rochester Castle, on the River Medway, east of London. Portions of the castle date to the 11th century. English artist Joseph Mallord William Turner depicted the castle in his work Rochester Castle From The River, painted circa 1793.

Baluster, Ohio Building

Image of baluster, Ohio Building, 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
In 1890, lead architect Daniel Burnham took on the impossible task of designing a model city in Jackson Park in Chicago for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (also known as the Columbian Exposition, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the New World). The trouble was, architects and builders had just over two years to complete the monumental task. This baluster, recovered in archaeological excavations, is from a roof balustrade on the Ohio Building. The White City, as the collection of Fair buildings was known, was built to last as long as the fair (about six months).

A Painter’s Painting

Image of A Painter's Painting, Ken Holder, 1976.

(American, b. 1936-)
Oil on Canvas
Illinois Legacy Collection, ISM

Artist Ken Holder paints his own sunbathed studio in life-size scale, demystifying his practice and commenting on the mundane materials used to produce his art. Above all the art supplies hangs one of his cropped, self-portrait paintings from a series of similar paintings that he was working on at the time. This large studio painting does not reveal the artist’s face, but it does reveal his world. This is the world of a studio painter in the 1970s, captured with fidelity in living color.

Still-Life with Black Top

Image of Still-Life with Black Top, oil painting, Theodore Halkin, 1990.

(American b. 1924-)
Oil on canvas
Illinois Legacy Collection, ISM
Gift of the Artist

Ted Halkin’s early works were highly-symbolic, id-driven reflections of his influences and love of archetypal imagery. He became associated with a post-war group of Chicago artists known as “The Monster Roster” for their collective expressionistic, existential nod to antiquity such as Cosmo Campoli, Dominic Di Meo, Leon Golub, Seymour Rososfky, and Nancy Spero.

“Palestine” Refined Earthenware Plate

Image of “Palestine” refined earthenware plate.
In the early 1800s, potteries in the Staffordshire region of England were becoming more and more dependent on the American market at a time when relations between the two nations were sliding towards war. In the months leading up to the War of 1812, trade was suspended, and a financial crisis ensued that, according to pottery owner Ralph Stevenson, left one-third of pottery workers unemployed and 35 businesses shuttered. His business had just opened in 1810.

Bison Scapula Hoe

Image of Bison scapula hoe.
After thousands of years of using stone, and to a lesser extent mussel shell digging tools, some Native people transformed the bison’s shoulder blade, or scapula, into digging tools to tend their gardens.


Subscribe to RSS - Illinois State Museum