Lincoln Museum Inching Closer To Independence

May 27, 2015

The Illinois House has approved a proposal to revamp the management of the state-run Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Since it opened a decade ago, the Lincoln museum has been under the control of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. The museum has its own advisory board, but House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie says those advisors were frustrated.

'I think that there were many who felt that the Lincoln Library and Museum was a bigger entity, at some level, than Historic Preservation.'

  “I think that there were many who felt that the Lincoln Library and Museum was a bigger entity, at some level, than (the) Historic Preservation Agency," Currie says. “There clearly were lots of problems between the people who were advising the library administration and the Historic Preservation Agency. And whether that was — I mean, it’s hard for me to tell from a distance what the real issues were. But I think there was a sense that the two did not mesh particularly well."

Under Currie's proposal, the two will operate independently.

Gov. Bruce Rauner had wanted Historic Preservation to adopt a tourism focus and be merged with the state’s economic development agency. But that idea was dropped over concerns Historic Preservation would lose its focus on, well, historic preservation.

Currie says at the governor’s request, the current Historic Preservation board would be dissolved, allowing Rauner to appoint new members and the executive director.

The agency will also take over control of the Illinois State Museum and Dixon Mounds — which are currently run by the Department of Natural Resources.

The plan moves to the state Senate.