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Special Bicentennial exhibition to open at the Illinois State Museum

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Museum will present a major new exhibition in celebration of the state’s 200th birthday, which will feature rare and rarely-seen artifacts from the museum’s 13.5-million-object Illinois Legacy Collection to highlight the dynamic story of Illinois.

illinoisbicentenniallogo2The “Bicentennial and Beyond! The Illinois Legacy Collection” exhibition will open to the public with a special reception on Friday, June 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The reception is free to the public, and will include complimentary soft drinks, light appetizers, a cash bar, and music provided by the Virgil Rhodes and his band “Footprints.” Those interested in attending should RSVP by emailing or calling (217) 782-0909.

“The exhibition is the most comprehensive of the museum’s broad collection in the history of the institution,” said Illinois State Museum Director Robert Sill. “Visitors will see a significant portion of their shared story that is being preserved for future generations by the Illinois State Museum and learn about the individuals who used these objects and the stories behind them.”

The exhibition will feature artifacts from a variety of disciplines including fine and decorative art, anthropology, archaeology, botany, history, geology, and zoology chosen for the unique stories they tell about Illinois. Reflecting the fact that the complete story of Illinois goes well beyond the 200 years since statehood, artifacts will range from 400-million-year-old fossils to contemporary art. Visitors will see a helmet worn by a World War I soldier; a trunk brought to Illinois by German immigrants in 1852; a core segment from Route 66; a piece of contemporary art created of cowhide; an Olney albino gray tree squirrel mount; and, a portrait miniature done by an itinerant Illinois artist, among many other treasures.

Visitors will explore, discover, learn, and share the history, prehistory, and natural history of Illinois through the featured objects and the fascinating stories behind them.

The “Bicentennial and Beyond! The Illinois Legacy Collection” exhibition – opening with the June 29 reception – will be featured at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield through Feb. 3.

The Illinois State Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4:30 p.m. The museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield on the Capitol Complex. Museum admission: $5 for adults ages 19-64; free admission for youth, seniors, and veterans.

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