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“It's FREE!”

Illinois State Museum
Ranked #7 of 55 things to do in Springfield
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Illinois State Museum focuses on the art, natural history, history and anthropology of the State of Illinois. Admission is $5 for adults ages 19-64. Children under 19, seniors over 64, veterans, and active duty military personnel are free.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“It's FREE!”
Reviewed 9 January 2014

While on our trip to Springfield, IL (from Green Bay, WI) for a concert, we searched desperately for things we could do together as a family that would be affordable. When we came across the website for this museum, I was really excited. Then I saw that admission was free and I got really excited.

Not being from the area, we had a little trouble with finding parking. In the end, we parked a couple blocks away and walked. Which was just fine because the weather was perfect. We spent hours in the museum. The kids had so much fun. And so did we! (My brother in law and mother in law also accompanied us on this trip)

The exhibits were fascinating and the kids play area was amazing. They ran off all their energy! It was the perfect way to spend the day before heading to our concert later that night. If we're ever in the area again, we plan on stopping back for sure!

Visited August of 2012.

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Jennifer K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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265 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Macomb, IL
Level Contributor
130 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Visit on weekends”
Reviewed 4 January 2014

The Illinois State Museum is a little gem in downtown Springfield. A recently opened hands on area for children amazed and delighted out 9 year old granddaughter.

There is no fee for admission; personnel are very polite and helpful.

Parking is free and very available on weekends; otherwise you are fighting with government employees for parking spaces.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank maiagaia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
117 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
“A good, well-rounded museum”
Reviewed 31 December 2013

We came here mostly because it was close to our hotel (the State House Inn), and we got off to a bad start when we got stuck in an elevator on our way up to the second floor. Once that was out of the way, though, we had a very nice visit and were glad we had come.

Like almost every Springfield attraction except the overpriced Lincoln Presidential Museum, admission is technically free with a nominal "suggested donation" for those who wish to give it. I liked this museum quite a bit more than the pretentious Lincoln museum, and I learned a lot more here than there.

The museum is divided into several distinct parts. There's a feature on the native people who were the original inhabitants of Illinois, a large display of work by Illinois artists (which when we were there was featuring works on "the human form"), and a massive collection called "Changes" that details how organisms and the environment have changed both naturally and through actions of human beings. There's also a children's museum, though we didn't bother with that. My favorite part traced the history of domestic life in Illinois from earliest times through the late 20th Century. This is very detailed, and we spent a long time reading through everything and looking at the interactive exhibits that have visitors make the decisions that Illinoisans were faced with over the years.

The state museum is in the state capitol complex at the southwest corner of downtown Springfield, quite a ways from the area most tourists go. It's worth a trip, though, and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank dmbia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Springfield, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great for Kids and Adults”
Reviewed 12 December 2013

Plenty to learn about Illinois history - even from billions of years ago! Huge mastodont skeleton. Great art exhibits on the second floor. Play museum as well. Fun for kids and very enriching for adults.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank JennyR8457
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
“Great place for all ages”
Reviewed 2 December 2013

I've been taking my seven-year-old there since he was able to walk and he is able to find new things to peak his interest as he grows. This includes the galleries on the main floor and the ever-favorite children's area in the basement.

For the older folks, it is a natural-history museum of Illinois complete with specimens and comprehensive write-ups.

Oh, and entry is free! This is particularly useful when taking small children with short attention spans. It's often we take an hour on a Saturday morning when visiting town.

One other nicety is the coat closet behind the front desk. It's self-service but extremely convenient in the winter.

Visited November 2013
Thank bhosking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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