click to enlarge PHOTO BY GINNY LEE

Amid all the other calamities threatened from the Statehouse, the governor’s proposed closure of the Illinois State Museum may seem like just one more thing that probably won’t happen. Maybe that’s why there has been no public outcry from Springfield’s mayor or the city council or anybody else. But this thing should be taken seriously before a 138-year-old gem of an institution is lost forever or damaged severely. The Rauner administration has initiated the official closure process for only two state facilities – the Hardin County Work Camp and the Illinois State Museum. According to the website of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (http://cgfa.ilga click on “facility closures”), the public comment period on the museum closure began June 23 and goes to July 22. At a meeting this week, COGFA staff member Ben Varner said the official public hearing on the museum closure will be held at the Capitol probably during the first week of July, but no exact date has been announced. In its official filing for the closure, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said “visitors to the Illinois State Museum and the Research and Collection Center spend about $17 million in the Springfield community each year.” It said closing the museum and its branches will save state government $4.8 million a year. –Fletcher Farrar, editor and publisher

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