Sangamon Experience





Supermarket employees 1962
Employees of the Clear Lake Super Mart Springfield, IL, 1962. Courtesy of the Sangamon Valley Collection, Lincoln Public Library of Springfield

Sangamon Experience seeks input from local historical, cultural, and community organizations to help supply materials, ideas, and research for upcoming programs and exhibitions. In doing so, we embrace the ethic of the shared pursuit of knowledge and interpretation about the past. The Sangamon Experience campus exhibition space is curated by teams of faculty and students, local partners, and community volunteers.

Sangamon Experience also welcomes inquiries about community digitization projects.If you or your organization is interested in partnering with Sangamon Experience, contact us at

Sangamon Valley Collection (SVC) at Lincoln Library, the Public Library of Springfield

Lincoln Library
SVC historians are part of the research and design team for the first section of Sangamon Experience’s permanent exhibit, on the settlement of the Sangamon between 1800 and 1860. This is exhibit will debut with the opening of the Sangamon Experience on-campus exhibition space in January 2020.

Check out the SVC Website.

UIS Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Laboratory

UIS GIS faculty and students are providing assistance and digital resources for the creation of an interactive story map that will be featured alongside the 1800 to 1860 exhibit.

Check out the UIS GIS Website.

Springfield African American Community History Digitization Initiative

Sangamon Experience provides support and promotion for this project, which is a consortium that includes the Illinois State Museum, the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Materials collected in the coming months will form the basis of a Sangamon Experience exhibit scheduled to open in April, coinciding with the April 10, 2020 presentation of the Broadway musical production of The Color Purple at the UIS Sangamon Auditorium. Details for the event can be found here.

The Mythic Mississippi Project

This project was chosen as part of the University of Illinois System Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and Humanities. See the full project list.

This public engagement project will help a selection of downstate Illinois communities to identify points of cultural heritage as a means of creating themed tourism routes along and near the Mississippi River, connecting to and from Springfield. Faculty and students from the Urbana-Champaign and Springfield campuses will conduct research collaboratively with local governmental, business and educational partners aimed at achieving sustainable strategies and effective policies that will foster local economic and social development. Throughout 2020 and 2021, Sangamon Experience will host Mythic Mississippi exhibits and serve as a base of operations for Springfield-area elements of the project related to the histories of African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and coal miners.

Find out more on the Mythic Mississippi Homepage

The Humanities Innovating New Knowledge (THINK) Project

This project was chosen as part of the University of Illinois System Presidential Initiative to Celebrate the Impact of the Arts and Humanities. See the full project list.

THINK will bring together more than 30 faculty from across the U of I System’s three universities as well as community leaders to create an infrastructure for producing arts-and humanities-based exhibits and events in Chicago, Urbana-Champaign and Springfield. The project will include educational opportunities for students, pop-up installations that engage historical and contemporary issues in these respective communities, and scholar-practitioner working groups to address social problems, such as violence, wealth disparity, incarceration and human rights.The UIS feature, in collaboration with Sangamon Experience and the UIS History Department, will commission community artists to create interpretations of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot and its legacy using their respective mediums. On-campus and off-campus elements are scheduled to open in late-2020 and early 2021.