The Illinois Natural History Society was chartered in 1861 by the state legislature to create a scientific survey of the state and establish a natural history museum. Many of the first specimens collected were held at the Illinois Museum of Natural History in Normal, IL. In 1887, Stephen Forbes became the director of the society and it was renamed the the State Laboratory of Natural History. In 1885, Forbes moved the survey to Urbana, IL where he accepted a job at the Illinois Industrial University, now known as the University of Illinois. Unfortunately, many of our first plant specimens were given to other institutions at this time. In 1917, the survey was again renamed becoming the Illinois Natural History Survey. In 1947, Robert A. Evers was hired to collect vascular plants and build the ILLS herbarium collection. Evers was a field botanist for the Survey from 1947 to 1976 (nearly 30 years) and collected an amazing 114,266 specimens, nearly 4,000 specimens per year. In all, Evers collections account for about 44% of the plant collection. In 2011, the herbarium was moved to the Robert A. Evers Laboratory. This space has over 800 compactor cabinets, is temperature and humidity controlled and has a large prep room, two work rooms, and a storage area.