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Dragon SculptureThe Sharp Museum is the only encyclopedic museum in southern Illinois.

Programs provide SIUC's students, faculty and staff, and the people of southern Illinois with a rich and varied educational experience. As a general museum, the collections cover more than one interest area. The arts, sciences and humanities are represented within these collections.


The Sharp Museum has over 4,000 objects in its fine and decorative arts collections. Emphasis is on 20th century works by regional, national and international artists.

  • Two-dimensional Collection - paintings, prints and drawings
  • Sculpture Collection - large and small scale sculpture in metal, ceramics and glass
  • Photography Collection - black/white and color photography works
  • Decorative Arts Collection - glass, porcelain, silver and furniture
  • Ethnic Arts Collection - regional historic and contemporary ethnic and folk arts


The Sharp Museum has a science collection with over 26,000 geological specimens. This collection is dedicated to the late Adjunct Curator of Geology, Dr. George Fraunfelter, who developed the geology collection.

  • George Fraunfelter Geology Collection - includes museum-quality specimens in paleobotany, paleontology and geology
  • George Fraunfelter Library - a 1,500+ volume geology resource library
  • George Fraunfelter Gallery - an exhibition gallery devoted to the display of specimens representing geologic history
  • The medical sciences are represented through a collection of early 20th century medical and dental artifacts


The Sharp Museum's humanities collection has over 22,000 artifacts that reflect history, world cultures, and the archaeological past. The Museum is fortunate to house significant humanities collections such as the WPA models of furniture, housing and transportation constructed at the Museum during the Great Depression and the Melanesian collection of ceremonial masks, textiles, pottery, weapons, and tools.

  • Historic Collection - focuses on Southern Illinois regional and general American history
  • Anthropology Collection - includes material culture from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Oceania, and the Americas
  • Archaeology Collection - contains artifacts from Southern Illinois, Mexico, and Central and South America