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A slow return to a semblance of normalcy

Monday, Mar 18, 2019

* October 19, 2015

Following the closure of the Illinois State Museum system on September 30 due to a state budget stalemate, the Accreditation Commission today voted unanimously to put the Illinois State Museum system on probation. […]

“The actions by the Illinois state government that forced the Illinois State Museum system to close to the public left us no choice but to place this museum on probation pending further information from the museum system. We have grave concerns about the impact of this closure on the long-term viability of the museum, including affecting its ability to retain a professional staff and operate at the highest professional level; impairing the museum’s ability to care for the 13.5 million specimens in its collection; impacting donor support; risking its role as a major educational resource in the state of Illinois; and harming its reputation as a premier international museum and research institution. The Commission will review the museum’s status at its next meeting, and looks forward to a status report from the state of Illinois as to how these concerns are being addressed.”

* June 23, 2016

In light of the Illinois State Museum’s reopening on July 2, the American Alliance of Museums has approved an accelerated plan for it to receive full accreditation by next year.

The Springfield-based museum’s five sites were put on probation in October after Gov. Bruce Rauner’s decision to close the facility due to the state’s budget impasse. […]

The museum’s Springfield site at 502 S. Spring St. lost approximately half of its staff over the course of its closure and required the approval of a $5 admission fee to reopen.

2017 and 2018 came and went and the museum still wasn’t removed from probation.

* Saturday

The Illinois State Museum has been re-accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, despite being put on probation by the organization during the state’s budget impasse. […]

When the museum emerged from its nine-month shutdown in July 2016, the facility instituted a new $5 admission charge for adults. (Children age 18 and younger, senior citizens and military veterans are still admitted free.) Also after reopening, the museum experienced a sharp decline in visitors. Attendance is rebounding, however. In 2018, the museum counted 47,156 visitors, which is more than the approximately 40,000 people it attracted in 2017, [Robert Sill, interim director of the Illinois State Museum] said. […]

Staffing levels also have increased. When the museum reopened in summer 2016, its headcount was 28. It is now 39. Before the shutdown it had 62 employees, officials said. Sill says the employee number is going to grow. […]

The biggest new hire will be a permanent director, for which they are now interviewing. Sill, the interim director, said he wants to go back to his role as the museum’s art and history director.

* Meanwhile, reversing yet another petty Rauner action

After nearly five long years of delays — rooted in both political battles and construction problems — the embattled Chicago Veterans Home will see its doors open come December, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other elected officials announced Friday. […]

Former Gov. Pat Quinn broke ground on the home in September 2014, only to lose his re-election bid two months later. His successor, former Gov. Bruce Rauner, halted construction of the home during the historic budget impasse.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    Slowly repairing the disaster done by Rauner and his enablers. A lot of work left to do, but it’s good to see the museum is getting better.


  2. - Bourbon Street - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:17 am:

    Shows you how bad the past four years have been when we’re celebrating “normalcy”.


  3. - Grand Avenue - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:31 am:

    Different museum, but is there any update on the Lincoln hat situation?


  4. - Downstate - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:32 am:

    Take a trip to the Texas State Museum. It’s a showcase on how a state museum can and should be done.


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    It’s going to be a long slog, with incremental, small victories.

    Any mule can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    ===reversing yet another petty Rauner action…===

    And getting this state on the right track finally.


  7. - NorthPark - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:11 am:

    ==Take a trip to the Texas State Museum==

    Make sure you visit the basement!


  8. - Skeptic - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    “Any mule can kick down a barn, ” This is Illinois, shouldn’t it be “Any cow can kick over a lantern and set a fire, but…”?


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    NorthPark - You are thinking of the Alamo.


  10. - Bigtwich - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    ==Take a trip to the Texas State Museum.==

    But if you want to see Santa Anna’s Leg, come to Illinois.


  11. - IllinoisBoi - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    I always wondered if there was some untold background story about the closing of the museum. Why did Rauner pick on them? Did someone there make him angry?


  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Did someone there make him angry?===

    Two words: Andy Manar.


  13. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    =Take a trip to the Texas State Museum. It’s a showcase on how a state museum can and should be done.=

    Did they build it for free? Is it an all volunteer museum?


  14. - a drop in - Monday, Mar 18, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    This is Illinois, shouldn’t it be “Any cow can kick over a lantern and set a fire, but…”?

    That happened in Chicago which, according to some, is not part of Illinois


  15. - Muse - Tuesday, Mar 19, 19 @ 4:07 am:

    Rich Miller - Manar didn’t get involved until after the ISM was in jeopardy.


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