Illinois State Museum is on the s. side of the State Capitol complex at Spring and Edwards sts. The museum promotes discovery, lifelong learning and stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Illinois through its exhibits that highlight the complete story of Illinois from natural history to anthropology, history and art. The facility presents three floors of exhibits displaying a vast array of items drawn from the museum’s collections of more than 13.5 million objects.
The first-floor natural history exhibit, Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments, reveals the changes in Illinois environments over the past 500 million years. The exhibits include hands-on interactive displays, life-size dioramas, audio and video effects and authentic fossils and specimens.
The second floor contains several galleries devoted to fine and decorative arts. It also features an anthropology hall, Peoples of the Past, which recreates the lives of the American Indians in Illinois. The exhibition At Home in the Heartland explores the history of family life in Illinois over the last three centuries.
The Play Museum on the lower level is a hands-on interactive gallery where children ages 3-10 can learn what it's like to work in a museum, from loading a jeep for a scientific expedition to digging for fossils and crawling through a cave. A collection of antique French paperweights also is on display.