Reps. Jimenez, Butler plan to file new amendment to reopen the Illinois State Museum

State Representatives Sara Wojcicki Jimenez and Tim Butler draft a new amendment to reopen the Illinois State Museum in Springfield with hopes of getting it passed through the General Assembly in the coming weeks. 

“Keeping the State Museum open is not only important to local jobs, it’s crucial to preserving for future generations our state history and those things that have and continue to make Illinois unique,” said Representative Jimenez (R-Leland Grove). “We need to work together to get this done.”

“People come from all over the world because they want to learn more about the history of the State of Illinois and Abe Lincoln,” said Representative Butler (R-Springfield). “Reopening the Illinois State Museum will provide tourists with everything they want to know about the rich history of the State of Illinois. The more attractions we can offer tourists, the stronger our tourism industry will be.”

The Illinois State Museum’s extensive collections and research activities provide the foundation for exhibitions and public programs that tell the story of life in Illinois. However, following the inability of the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget last year, the Rauner Administration announced a series of budget reductions to deal with the $4 billion budget deficit that included closing the Illinois State Museum near the Capitol and all branch locations to visitors. Currently the museum remains closed to the public, though 31 of the original 65 museum employees continue to report to work.

To secure an agreement that would reopen the museum Representative Jimenez and other area lawmakers introduced two similar bills, House Bill 6179 and Senate Bill 317. Both would require the state to maintain an Illinois State Museum as part of its operations, and allow the charging of fees to visitors to help support the museum’s budget. Today, as part of discussions to help move an agreement through the General Assembly in the coming weeks, the representatives simplified the language of the bill in order to get it passed. 

The request to file this new language to Senate Bill 2902 is under review by the clerk of the Illinois House.

“The bottom line is that we need to get the State Museum reopened and it needs to happen soon. If it isn’t reopened by this summer, the museum could lose accreditation. That can’t be allowed to happen,” Representative Jimenez said.