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Nearly Everyone Speaks In Support Of State Museum

Illinois State Museum in Springfield
Lisa Ryan
WUIS - Illinois Issues

Supporters of the Illinois State Museum told state legislators Monday a slew of reasons why it should remain open, but it doesn't appear like anyone who will make the decision on its future was there to hear much of it.

Gov. Bruce Rauner's Dept. of Natural Resources Director Wayne Rosenthal -- was the first to testify:

"I want to emphasize that no one likes to make cuts to programs and facilities."

But he says Illinois has no choice but to close the museum and the Dickson Mounds historic site: there's no money.

After him, every other person who testified at the four hour hearing advocated for keeping them open. A child, researchers, mayors, and Sue Collins, who has worked at the museum for 30 years.

"If we let the Illinois State Museum close we're going to lose part of our history and we will lose an educational resource, and we will lose a part of our community and it will close a part of me," said Collins.

By the end, when a legislator, Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz, asked ...  
"I don't know that there's anybody still left here from the Dept. of Natural Resources ..."

It appeared the answer was no.

"I just want to express my disappointment that they did not see fit to stay here and listen to the testimony... she said.

The bipartisan legislative commission will make a recommendation on whether the museum should shut down or not. But in the end, it's up to Gov. Rauner.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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