Museums, Collections and Resources
The Illinois Historic Preservation Division maintains collections of historic documents, artifacts and artwork. Some are available online, while others are presented at museums at our historic sites. The agency also works with other organizations that care about history and preservation.
Take a look at some of the resources we offer to further your understanding of Illinois history.
The Olof Krans Art Collection is housed in the museum at Bishop Hill State Historic Site and consists of more than 103 primitivist paintings by Swedish immigrant artist Olof Krans. These valuable pieces of folk art are also important historic documents that embody life at the colony and emphasize its communal workforce.
Additional exhibits at the Bishop Hill Museum focus on the Colony’s dairy operations and its participation in the Civil War. The museum also provides a short video on Bishop Hill’s history and maintains the colony’s genealogical archives.
The Hauberg Indian Museum, located in a lodge constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, interprets the story of the Sauk and Meskwaki tribes. The collection of Dr. John Hauberg, a Rock Island philanthropist, forms the basis of the museum's collection, which features full-size replicas of Sauk winter and summer houses and dioramas with life-size figures. Displays include authentic trade goods, jewelry and domestic items.
Also at Black Hawk State Historic Site is the Singing Bird Center, which offers many nature programs throughout the year. One wing of the building is dedicated to the study of native birds. "Pete Petersen's Bird Nest" features large picture windows looking onto the north woods and nearby bird-feeding stations.
The Interpretive Center at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site holds a rich collection of artifacts and displays that examine Cahokia as an urban center, explain the Mississippian tradition of which Cahokia was a part and show the visitor how archaeological and anthropological research reveals the history of this civilization.
Fort de Chartres maintains a library of more than 500 titles on the colonial period in Illinois and the Midwest. It includes the rare two-volume work The Village of Chartres in Colonial Illinois, 1720 - 1765. Materials are not circulated but are available to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
The Interpretive Center focuses on the often untold Illinois story of Lewis and Clark. Exhibits discuss the preliminary information and knowledge gathered on the land west of the Mississippi River and the preparations, expectations, and anticipations for the expedition.
The Interpretive Center and Museum at Lincoln Log Cabin offers unique changing exhibits on topics of interest, exhibit galleries highlighting the Lincolns and Sargents, and a 14-minute orientation film. A living history program highlights life in the 1840s with costumed interpreters in the center and at the site’s two farms.
The Interpretive Center and Museum at Lincoln’s New Salem houses the original saddle and surveying equipment of Abraham Lincoln, among other original items. Exhibits focus on New Salem and its most famous resident. Features include a statue of Lincoln, murals and a unique "time walk" that leads visitors through the village's history.
The Bertha Ludlam Reading Room at the Pullman State Historic Site features a wide variety of resources about Pullman, Roseland and the Calumet region, from period materials to contemporary plans for the site. An online Pullman Museum catalog provides access to many of the materials in the collection. The collection is a non-circulating library housed at the Hotel Florence and is available by appointment only, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday thru Friday and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Appointments may be made by calling 773-660-2341 or contacting email@example.com.
The IHPA sorts information by topic and medium. Here are some of the agency’s most popular collections: