Educator's Page

Welcome to the Illinois State Museum's Website for Educators.

explore. discover. learn. share.

Please explore this site and feel free to use the activities, lessons, videos, and worksheets in your classroom. New pages will be added as materials are developed. Several pages offer a virtual version of past exhibits with activities. Each page represents a different exhibit or topic.

Please feel free to share what type of resources/lesson you would like from us on the ISM Padlet to leave us a note.

Join the Illinois State Museum for engaging teacher professional development workshops.


Explore the history of Illinois with units developed with teachers for students in upper elementary (3rd-5th grade).

Throughout time, women have made history. This site features female history makers with a connection to Illinois. “In Her Footsteps Women’s History Trail” seeks to highlight the stories of Illinois history makers and offer resources for continued learning.

African American History

Explore exhibits, collection items, and educational material related to African American History.

Explores immigration in Illinois using the past exhibit We Are Illinoisans. This virtual exhibit highlights immigrants to Illinois from the 18th century to today through photos, objects, and life stories. Includes crowd sourced photos.

This website, which was developed to celebrate the Illinois Bicentennial, features objects from the Illinois State Museum and museums across the State. The Illinois State Museum periodically uploads additional objects from its Illinois Legacy Collection.

Explores fashion from the time of Illinois' statehood to turn of the century and looks at many aspects of 19th Century life.

Explore resources to use in teaching about Indigenous People (Native American, American Indian, Native People) in your classroom.

This dynamic exhibition, features highlights from the entries received and will reflect new submissions as they come into the Museum. The title, inspired by Daniel Defoe’s 1722 book Journal of a Plague Year, was chosen to put the current COVID-19 pandemic in the context of historical pandemics, or "plagues," as well as allude to a common feeling, popularized in the media, that this year's pandemic and its fallout have made 2020 extraordinarily challenging.

Springfield-based photographer Zach Adams was one of the first people to submit to the ISM's collecting initiative. Initially, he began by documenting life at home with his daughter during the quarantine. He then expanded his subject matter to include images of local protests and rallies. The ISM's front porch serves as the backdrop for several of his images that document Springfield's demonstrations on equal justice.

Coming Soon! Explore the period of time called the Great Migration using primary source documents and children's picture books to understand a little more about this period of Black migration in U.S. History.

Explore the science of archaeology and how archaeologist learn about the past through the objects left behind.


Explore the animal of Illinois. Primary focus for elementary.

Explore the bats of Illinois through virtual field trip, pictures, and activities.

Explore the geology collection.

Explore the paleontology collection.

Explores Illinois Mussels and their importance in the environment. Includes Mussel Mondays Information and Harvesting the River, Pearl Button Exhibit.

Additional Resources

Explore activities, coloring sheets, games, and resources for families to use at home. Many of these activities can be adapted for classroom or remote learning use. Geared to preschool and elementary.

These are additional resources that are available from the Museum which include ISM YouTube Channel, past exhibits and learning modules, 3D Scans of Collections, blogs about different topics, and other items.