WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Closing Date Set for Illinois Museums

Aug 31, 2015

If you've been meaning to visit the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, the Dickson Mounds Museum in Fulton County, or museum shops in Lockport and Chicago -- you have just one month left to do so.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the sites, said they're set to close September 30.

That's also when layoffs will take effect for all but three museum employees.

The decision comes despite pleas from dozens of people during a four hour public hearing in Springfield in July.  

“The people of Illinois are asking for this museum to stay open,” said Erika Holst of Springfield about the state museum.

“This is our story, this is our legacy. There's a lot of talk about dollars and cents and the budget and the budget shortfall and where this falls. But I think some things are worth more than money, that you can't put a price tag on.”

A bipartisan legislative commission did vote against the closures. But the final decision rested with Governor Bruce Rauner, who said there’s no money for the museums.

The Illinois Senate approved legislation that would require the state to keep the museums operational.

But even if it also passes the House, timing, finances, and a potential veto mean the issue would not be settled.