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'Changes' exhibition open at
Illinois State Museum    
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[JUNE 19, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- With a ribbon-cutting last Saturday (June 12), the Illinois State Museum unveiled "Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments," a new natural history experience. The exhibition is described as the most dramatic in the history of the museum. Visitors are invited to join the team of the Changes Institute to explore, discover and learn about the fascinating changes in the climate, land, plants and animals in the place now known as Illinois.

Over 10 years in the making, "Changes" was conceptualized and designed by a team of Illinois State Museum exhibition, education and scientific staff and is based upon the museum's extensive natural history collections and associated scientific research.

Dr. R. Bruce McMillan, museum director, said, "'Changes' is the most significant renovation of the Illinois State Museum since the building opened to the public in 1963 and is an exhibition that will attract national acclaim."

 Through hands-on interactives, thousands of authentic fossils and natural history specimens, life-sized dioramas, and exciting audio and video effects, the exhibition explores what scientists consider to be 500 million years of environmental change in Illinois.

See giant sharks and other sea creatures that thrived in shallow seas when Illinois is believed to have been located near the equator. Try your hand at becoming a Devonian shark searching for lunch in the computer game Shark Attack. See fernlike trees, giant dragonflies and learn how coal formed in Illinois. Walk through a fluorite mine to view Illinois' state mineral. Enter the hall of Illinois dinosaurs and find out why it is empty! Cool off walking through a glacial cave and enter into the Ice Ages. Experience the glacial environment where the giant short-faced bear once walked. See the museum's renowned mastodon skeleton, now joined by a skeleton of a Jefferson's ground sloth and giant beaver.


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View the Illinois River as it looked at the time of Marquette and Joliet. Explore the Illinois River with the computer-based Digital River Basin. Compare the diverse environments of the modern era -- from the Lake Michigan shoreline to the Cache River swamps.

There's something for everyone and for people of all ages in this dramatic new hands-on exhibition.

Ferry and Associates Architects of Springfield and Siciliano Inc. of Springfield designed and completed the architectural modifications to house the exhibition. Ginkgo Design of St. Louis and Chase Studios of Cedarcreek, Mo., completed the final design and fabrication of the exhibits. The Illinois Capital Development Board managed the construction with assistance and coordination from the Office of Capital Development of the Department of Natural Resources.

The $6.5 million project was funded by the state of Illinois through the Capital Development Board, with additional support from the Ameren Corporation and grants from the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Illinois State Museum Society, known as the 1877 Club.

The Illinois State Museum has been telling the story of the land, life, people and art of Illinois for more than 125 years.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]


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