The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation’s mission is, in part, to preserve and present the history, evolution, and development of the Illinois State Police. It is to this end the ISPHF has established a Museum to showcase exhibits and collections.
The Museum is currently in the process of being relocated. For more information on efforts, please visit our Museum page.
Interested in Donating?
Do you have items to donate that might be of interest to others?
- Items must be related to the history of the Illinois State Police, its units and personnel, and affiliated organizations.
- Items may not replicate or duplicate a collection/exhibit already owned by the Museum.
- Donor should provide some history and explanation about the object such as its uses, ownership, etc.
- Must be clean and in working condition.
- Items may not be accepted if the Foundation does not have the necessary storage space.
- Object(s) may not be accepted if the Foundation does not have the resources to restore or maintain it/them.
Museum Collection Curation
The Museum Curator is responsible for accepting, evaluating, assembling, managing, and presenting/displaying collections in the Museum.
The Curator ensures that donated items are inventoried, stored, repaired, or otherwise readied for an exhibit or display and rotates exhibits and displays as appropriate in the Museum
How to Donate
Email or contact any Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation Board member with questions or for more information.
ISPHF board members will, in consultation with the donor, complete a Museum Memorabilia Donation form. The purpose of the form is to capture all relevant contact information for the donor, identify, catalog and inventory objects being donated.
- Online Museum Memorabilia Donation Form…
- Museum Memorabilia Donation Form… (PDF)
- Complete and email to or mail to:
P.O. Box 2210
Springfield, IL 62705-2210
Upon acceptance of the donated memorabilia, you will receive a tax-deductible donation thank you letter from the Museum Curator with any special disposal information noted.
Items may be displayed on the Foundation website or in marketing materials.
The ISPHF gives their sincere thanks to everyone who has donated items to the Museum.
Notable Museum Objects
John Dillinger’s Death Mask
On Loan to the ISPHF Museum is the Death Mask of John Dillinger. John Herbert Dillinger, born June 22, 1903, was an infamous American gangster active during the Great Depression. He operated with a group of men known as the “Dillinger Gang” which was accused of robbing 24 banks and four police stations, among other crimes in the Midwest. Dillinger escaped from jail twice. On July 22, 1934, police received word Dillinger and two female companions were at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Illinois watching a movie. Federal agents, led by Melvin Purvis and Samuel P. Cowley, moved to arrest Dillinger as he exited the theater. He drew a Colt Model 1908 Vest Pocket and attempted to flee but was killed.
Death masks may be mementos of the dead or be used for creation of portraits. The main purpose of the death mask from the Middle Ages until the 19th century was to serve as a model for sculptors in creating statues and busts of the deceased person. Not until the 1800s did such masks become valued for themselves. Death masks were usually reserved for famous people and in Dillinger’s case, infamous ones, too.
1922 Illinois Highway Patrol Uniform
World War I surplus puttees, breeches, belts, caps, and a few pilot’s helmets were used by Illinois Highway Patrolmen under the leadership of the 1st director John Stack. The Museum has a pair of the boots worn during that time period.
A puttee is a long strip of cloth wound spirally around the leg from ankle to knee for protection and support. They provided protection while riding motorcycles. Breeches are pants, knickers, or shorts worn from the waist to just below the knee.
Illinois State Police Pipes and Drums Uniform
The Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation Museum has on display the uniform of the Illinois State Police Pipes and Drums. Established in 1987, the Pipes and Drums represented the Illinois State Police at formal occasions such as funerals, memorials and ceremonies. The first unit of the Illinois State Police Pipes and Drums was comprised of Lt. Carl Seabolt, Pipe Major, Trooper Chester Milan, Pipe Sergeant, and Special Agent Bob Gomora, Drum Sergeant.
The kilt is a wool Weathered Gordon tartan worn with the tan uniform shirt, black uniform tie with Illinois State Police tie clasp, wool hose tops and gold flashes, white spats, and wool half plaid, black leather belt with pouch, horse hair sporran and dark brown Glengarry. Full dress included the dark brown doublet jacket, plaid, and dark brown feathered bonnet with yellow bonnet hackle.
1922 Officer Nameplate
This is a nameplate from one of the 1st eight officers back in 1922 under John Stack. Lt. Col. O. W. Kempster was part of Stack’s Berger Gang investigative team.