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Top-Rated Museums In Illinois That Are Worth Travelling For

8 Top-Rated Museums In Illinois That Are Worth Travelling For (2024)

Museums provide a deep insight into the rich history and diverse culture of any place. A county, State, or city might be new for you. But if you want to learn personally about it, nothing is better than its museums. Whether you are visiting Illinois for the first time or have been residing here for a long, Museums are the attractions you should not miss. Illinois or the Land of Lincoln is a State rich with museums. Right from the world-class to the hidden gems or the once-of-their-kind, options here are in abundance.
Begin with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Or choose Art Institute of Chicago as your first stop; options are endless, no matter what your interests are. Explore the oldest museum in Illinois (Illinois State Museum) or the weirdest of all (Curiosity Museum (Alton)

8 Top-Rated Museums In Illinois That Are Worth Travelling For

For more popular options and their brief insights, have a look at our choicest picks below.

1. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Address: 212 N 6th St, Springfield

One of the greatest Illinois museums of all time, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a must-visit. It is located in Springfield’s capital city and is dedicated to the 16th U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln. The museum is also home to Lincoln’s original library. It is by far the most-visited Presidential library in the World. While exploring the museum, you will come across Lincoln’s boyhood home’s life-size dioramas. From temporary to permanent exhibits, everything here will immerse you in Lincoln’s time and World. While the museum is open throughout the week, the presidential library is operational during weekdays.

2. Art Institute of Chicago

Address: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is an Illinois museum that is worth travelling for. It is amongst one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. The Art institute focuses upon over 300,000 artworks imported from all around the World. Some prominent pieces here include A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat and the Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso. Another must-watch is the 5,000 years of Asian art, especially the traditional Japanese screens. The building architecture in itself is a draw at the Art Institute of Chicago. You will come across several original additions from 1879. If you are a true art lover, do not miss the chance to explore Chicago’s Art Institute.

3. The Field Museum

Address: 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

Another excellent museum in Chicago, the Field Museum, is a must-visit. It is dedicatedly a Natural history museum and one of the largest of its kind in the World. The museum is home to an immersive exhibit that will take you to ancient cultures. From Egyptian tomb to civilization and whatnot. At the same time, it will introduce you to the latest scientific discoveries. The biggest highlight here is the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex of the World, a dinosaur skeleton. There’s also an extensive library with more than 275,000 journals, books and photo archives. To create an exemplary experience, make sure you spare at least a day or two and explore the museum dedicatedly.

4. Shedd Aquarium

Address: 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

The Shedd Aquarium is an indoor aquarium and a marine museum in Chicago. It is existence for nearly a century now. The aquarium can hold 5 million U.S. gal water and is home to over 32,000 animals. From the Arctic marines to the Caribbean reef, the diversity is unparallel. Exhibits here are named Waters of the World, Wild Reef, Amazon Rising, as well the Abbott Oceanarium. One of the special exhibits here is the Underwater beauty that features hundreds of fish and invertebrate species. All of these are displayed to accent their visual qualities in sections like Rhythm, pattern and colour. Visitors can touch and pat the friendly marines and even feed some. All in all, the Shedd Aquarium is a fun-packed place for visitors of all ages.

5. Illinois State Museum

Address: 502 S Spring St, Springfield

If you are interested in learning about Illinois’ land, life, people, and art then do visit the Illinois State Museum. Founded back in 1877, it is the oldest operating museum in Illinois. It is basically a system of several galleries and exhibits that exclusively display about rich history of Illinois. While walking through the galleries, you will learn how Native Americans lived. Illinois State Museum is also the finest place to learn about anthropology in the Western Hemisphere. For kids, there’s a small but highly engaging kids’ centre. Admission to the museum is quite affordable, $5 for adults (19 to 64) and free seniors, veterans, military actives and kids.

6. Museum of Science and Industry

Address: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

Another Illinois museum that is worth travelling for is the Museum of Science and Industry. It is the largest science museum in the United States and one of the largest in the World as well. The museum is housed in the only remaining building from the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893). It offers engaging views both inside and outside. Here, some of the highlights include the German submarine U-505 from World War II and a life-size coal mine replica. Along with that, the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless-steel passenger train and command module of Apollo 8 is also worth watching. This 40,000 square-feet museum space is so extensive and rich that it is impossible to see it all in a day. If you have kids along, do not forget to explore the mirror maze.

7. Adler Planetarium

Address: 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

One of the must-visit museums in Illinois, the Adler Planetarium, is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is the first Planetarium in the Western Hemisphere (founded in 1930) and thus holds high value. The museum is dedicated to Astrophysics and Astronomy studies and is great for someone who is curious about space. When here, you will get a chance to observe several antique astronomical instruments as well the historical, scientific instruments. You can also come close to the Gemini 12 space capsule and visit the Doane Observatory. The Planetarium is also home to three full-size theatres where you can watch unforgettable sky shows. If you happen to visit Illinois with kids, do consider adding the Adler Planetarium to your museum itinerary.

8. Curiosity Museum

Address: 301 E Broadway, Alton

The most unusual and weird museum in Illinois definitely has to be the Curiosity Museum of Alton. It is a museum filled with quirky facts and objects. Though everything displayed here has been researched are historically accurate. Visitors can take a self-guided tour and learn about historical torture devices to the curious World of quack medicine. Everything in the museum is plain weird but all justified and exciting. Even though the museum is extremely small, it is worth exploring and travelling for. Admission here is paid ($8), and they only accept cash. You can visit here on Saturday Noon to 5 pm and Sunday Noon to 4 pm.

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