Illinois State Museum

  • Senator Andy Manar (D- Bunker Hill) urges the governor to reopen the Illinois State Museum on June 1 rather than July 1.


  • museum 8 7 15 mrSPRINGFIELD—After months of advocacy and numerous legislative initiatives by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources recently announced a plan to reopen the state museum.

    Following the announcement, Manar issued the following statement:

    “This decision is long overdue. Even though the museum was closed, the employees were still reporting to work every day so we weren’t achieving any savings.

    “Reopening the museum is an easy, common sense decision.”

  • state-museumSPRINGFIELD—With the deadline fast approaching for the governor to act, state Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) urged Gov. Bruce Rauner to recognize the importance of the State Museum in Springfield –and its four branch sites— by signing a proposal that would re-open the institutions.

    “The State Museum is a valuable educational, cultural and economic resource for the people of Illinois,” Manar said. “Keeping the museums open has widespread, bipartisan support. Unfortunately, so far, the governor is sticking with his decision to lock out the public. I’m hoping there’s still time to convince him to open the doors and restore access to these terrific public resources.”

    Last October, Gov. Rauner shuttered the five State Museums under the guise of budget cuts and cost savings. However, the collections and displays all remain in place and employees remain on state payroll and report to their jobs in the locked museums.  

    Manar sponsored Senate Bill 317 to ensure that the Department of Natural Resources keeps the State Museums open to the public. The General Assembly approved the plan late last year and the Senate sent it to the governor’s desk on Dec. 9.

    Under the state constitution, Gov. Rauner has until Sunday, Feb. 7 to act on the museum legislation.

  • save the museumSPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued the following statement regarding the Illinois state museums being closed to the public after Wednesday.

    “Let’s be clear: The museums aren’t really closing. Rather, Governor Rauner is locking out the public. The employees will still show up for work. The exhibits will remain in their places. The buildings will be heated and air conditioned. But, the governor is locking the doors and denying the public access to a tremendous asset and public resource.

    It’s a foolish, mean-spirited move. Locking the doors and shooing away school groups from a fully staffed museum complex doesn’t save any money.

    Governor Rauner’s short-sighted, uncaring decision won’t help the state economically, but will impede our cultural and educational growth.

    I urge the governor to leave the museum doors open and fight his budget battles at the negotiating table.”

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  • dickson mounds museum

  • manar museums 8 7 15SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate voted Tuesday to require the Illinois State Museum system to stay open despite the ongoing budget impasse.

    State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal to keep the Illinois State Museum open along with its branch sites: Dickson Mounds, Lockport Gallery, Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Southern Illinois Art Gallery at Rend Lake and the Illinois Artisans Shop and Chicago Gallery.

    “The Illinois State Museum brings the outside world to Illinois students, families and scientists. There are very real financial and social costs to closing the museum,” Manar said.

    The proposal, Senate Bill 317, requires the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to keep the museums open by law.

    “The strong outpouring of public support for the museum has been the main motivator behind this legislation. People across the state care deeply about this museum and the opportunities and services it provides,” Manar said.

    The Senate approved the legislation Tuesday and now moves to the House for debate.

  • mcguire manar museumsSPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Senate late Tuesday afternoon voted overwhelmingly to keep the Illinois State Museum and its five branches open. Gov. Bruce Rauner has moved to shutter the headquarters museum in Springfield as well as sites in Chicago, Dickson Mounds, Lockport, and Rend Lake. The vote on SB 317 was 40-9, with an additional 5 senators voting present.

    The legislation’s primary sponsor is Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), in whose district the headquarters museum sits. Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill), whose district includes the Illinois State Museum-Lockport Gallery, is a chief co-sponsor. McGuire explained the benefits of the Lockport site during floor debate on the proposal.

    “The Lockport Gallery not only has aesthetic and educational value,” McGuire said, “it also has economic value.” McGuire said gallery visitors patronize downtown Lockport shops and restaurants. “This increases sales tax revenue and enlarges the property tax base,” he said.

    The measure now goes to the House for approval. On Wednesday, the legislature’s Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability casts an advisory vote on the Governor’s action to shut the entire Illinois State Museum system.