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Museum could re-open in July

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

* Press release…

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today that the Illinois State Museum will re-launch Saturday, July 2, 2016 pending approval of the administrative rule that will allow the Department to charge an admission fee at the main museum campus.

The administrative rule is on the agenda for the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) meeting to be held June 14. With approval, the museum will be able to open about two weeks later. Initially, the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown and the Research and Collections Center in Springfield will officially open July 2. The IDNR continues to work with stakeholders in communities where other Illinois State Museum branches are located in hopes of securing partnerships that would allow those branches to open.

“IDNR has been working steadily through the JCAR process to establish the administrative rule to set an admission fee,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. “By setting the admission fee, working closely with the Illinois State Museum Board and Illinois State Museum Society, we feel we are setting the Museum on a more sustainable path for the future.”

The administrative rule authorizes the Department to establish an admission fee for the Springfield campus of $5 for adults. Children under 18, seniors and veterans will be admitted free. The admission fee is part of a greater effort to diversify the sources of funding for the museum.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - G'Kar - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:38 pm:

    If the admission fee is reasonable, and like the Chicago museums, they have occasional free days, this seems like a fair compromise.

    It doesn’t make up for the world class researchers who left, however.

  2. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:41 pm:

    Wait .. let me guess: this is what Rauner had planned all along, right?

    I mean, he closed it in order to re-open it. That’s sound policy. Especially since those pesky researchers are gone now.

    Nice, Bruce. You’re brilliant.

  3. - Dutch3001 - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    Charging $5 for adults (ONLY at the Springfield Museum and not at Dickson Mounds, apparently) while letting in kids, seniors, and veterans for free will not nearly bring enough in to cover the costs of operating the ISM system. It just shows that money is not the real issue here, the reason the museum was closed in the first place was political and the reason that it is being reopened is political. And the research staff is just a shell of what it used to be due to retirements and top flight researchers leaving Illinois for greener pastures elsewhere.

  4. - GlimmerGirl - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:50 pm:

    Reopen in time for a state shutdown?

  5. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:50 pm:

    Man, this quote just sings …

    “IDNR has been working steadily through the JCAR process to establish the administrative rule to set an admission fee,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal.

  6. - Norseman - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:53 pm:

    We’ll see if the museum can recover from the damage caused by the political closure.

  7. - Cassandra - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    As long as there are numerous well-publicized free days,and schools can bring groups in free, I see no problem with an admission fee. I have been in many museums around the US, and most of them charged some level of admission-quite a range, of course. As to seniors getting in free, I’ve often wondered about that. Collectively, seniors are a pretty well-off economic group in the US.

  8. - GlimmerGirl - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    It’s more than just the research staff — many of the professional staff who worked with visitors, school groups, and volunteers, are gone…either laid off, retired, found something better (in another state, imagine that!), or died. It’s not like you just open the museum doors and say come on in…..

  9. - Hickory - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    It will be good to have it open but please don’t let seniors in free. May of them can afford to pay. It is those with young children that should get in for free. They are the ones that will be paying off the States debt in the long run.

  10. - A guy - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    Wow. I kind of thought this was good news. I think I still do.

  11. - LINK - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:24 pm:


    Exactly what I was wondering BUT the Rauner people must have performed a cost/benefit analysis that found otherwise. Right?

  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    You all have been ripping on the closure since it happened. Now that there is a plan to reopen it and make it more sustainable, you still ridicule it. It’s really amazing. This is something that should have happened years ago. Good move.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===This is something that should have happened years ago===

    But did it need to close first?

  14. - DuPage - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:31 pm:

    Too little. Too late. Hundreds of years of experience, of experts and knowledgeable staff went out the door forever. Now they want to charge for much less of a museum. Thanks, governor, who made this happen.

  15. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    Our State has to go through changing their Administrative Rules for that agency, following drafting, open hearings, notice to and input from the public, and have those rules approved by JCAR and the legislature in order to allow them to charge an admission fee to allow the museums to re-open or re-launch?

    I’m impressed they got that far in such a short period of time, considering how difficult the process is at the present time. But doesn’t this highlight one of the problems of State Government in Illinois?

    The lengthy, slow and ponderous administrative rules process, whether new or amending old rules, is it part of the turn around proposals of the governor? Or is it part of the turn around proposals rejected by the Democrats? Do they also need a special rule enacted through the same tortuous process to change the color of the paint inside the lobby?

    Wow! There is a Monty Python skit written in front of our eyes! Hopefully there is a “working group” out somewhere that is working on this spider web a.s.a.p.

  16. - illini - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    The real point is neither the reopening not the admission fee.

    The real point is the loss of the research and the professional staff that made this a special place to visit in Springfield.

    These individuals can not be replaced in several weeks time and are probably gone forever.

    Thanks to all who picked up on this and chose to remind everyone what has happened.

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:44 pm:

    Rich- in my opinion this museum warranted closure due to the fact that there are more vital services that the State provides. That being said, didn’t make sense to leave it closed with employees showing up to work. But if those employees weren’t showing up, it should have closed without a revenue source to keep it somewhat sustainable. Let’s move forward and keep it open.

  18. - wordslinger - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:48 pm:

    –Wow! There is a Monty Python skit written in front of our eyes!–

    That’s right, Louis.

    And with all your !!! and ???, you’re the guy selling that the parrot’s not dead, it’s just sleeping.

    –Wow. I kind of thought this was good news. I think I still do.–

    “Think” is a strong word. Why was it shut down?

  19. - GlimmerGirl - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 1:49 pm:

    Thank you, Illini, precisely my point.

  20. - t sowell - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    While this is good news for the public, the workers (the unions one’s that is) were enjoying full pay for what had to be very light duty. The museums were closed to the public back in Sept 2015. Of course this is Illinois, so the Unions have sweetheart contracts that guaranteed they get paid even when the museums close to the public. I sure hope the floors have been waxed and the windows washed over the past eight months.

  21. - Nick Name - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:10 pm:

    “The lengthy, slow and ponderous administrative rules process, whether new or amending old rules, is it part of the turn around proposals of the governor?”

    Rauner has greatly slowed down the rules process, including increasing the associated paperwork for state agencies he controls.

  22. - Formerly Known as Frenchie M - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    Let’s move forward and keep it open.

    Huh? It’s closed, dude. As in: you can’t “keep open” something’s that’s already shut.

    And about those workers still getting paid? Well, if Rauner hadn’t closed it — they’d prolly woulda had a lot more to do. If anyone’s to blame here, it’s Rauner — not the unions.

    The union is doing their job. Rauner is not.

  23. - Daniel Plainview - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:23 pm:

    - I’m impressed they got that far in such a short period of time, considering how difficult the process is at the present time. -

    Oh please, are all of you Raunerites averse to a little hard work? JCAR is not insurmountable, and I’ll play my little violin for the superstars that had to do a little reading and put in some effort seeing a project through.

  24. - Skeptic - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:44 pm:

    “…either laid off…” FWIW, some of them weren’t laid off, they were terminated.

  25. - IllinoisBoi - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 2:48 pm:

    Would it be possible, at least until the JCAR gets a tune-up, for the museum to collect a “suggested donation?”

  26. - Greatplainser - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    Is there any word on IDNR’s other shuttered home? Is the Sparta World Shooting and Recreational Complex going to ever reopen to the pubic?

  27. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:33 pm:

    Would you pay $5 to see the giant beaver?

  28. - olddog - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    == While this is good news for the public, the workers (the unions one’s that is) were enjoying full pay for what had to be very light duty. … I sure hope the floors have been waxed and the windows washed over the past eight months.”

    Since you obviously have no idea what a museum curator actually does, you might consider finding out before you comment further. Here’s a webpage geared for high school students that will help you get started:

    “To compete for work, you’ll need to be highly trained with at least one graduate degree. Combining a graduate degree in museum studies with a second graduate degree in a specialized subject is even better. After completing your education, you may have to pay your dues in part-time, intern, or even volunteer positions. Use that time to build skills in areas like research, exhibit design, restoration, and database management.”

    You’ll notice the ability to repeat partisan political talking points without understanding them is not one of the qualifications for the job.

  29. - Usetacould - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    No one left to clean or mow. No supplies either.
    Going to be tough to open.

  30. - RNUG - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 6:28 pm:

    == We’ll see if the museum can recover from the damage caused by the political closure. ==

    -Norseman-, it will … in 10 or 20 years.

  31. - in the pink - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 6:48 pm:

    This is gonna blow up. The shakedown continues!

  32. - Lomez - Tuesday, May 31, 16 @ 7:08 pm:

    The problem is that (a) it’s not a great museum and (b) there’s a much better one a few streets over at ALPLM. If it cannot self-sustain through admissions and donations, then it has a few options.

    - Integrate with ALPLM
    - Move key artifacts and research to a Chicago museum
    - Close

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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