Illinois doesn't have a balanced budget, but it does have a reopening date for the Illinois State Museum.
The Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, which manages the museum, said the doors will reopen July 2. The museum closed to visitors in October.
Chris Young, a spokesman for DNR, said workers at the museum never left. “There's been a lot of work going on, a lot of planning,” Young said. “[We're] working on ways to develop new programming, how to reach new audiences.”
Since workers are on the job, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, asked, Why not open right now? “Employees are reporting to work. The lights are on. Taxpayers are paying for electricity. All of the operations are ongoing today at the museum.” Manar said the state should open the museum immediately.
Young said the agreement to reopen the museum includes a $5 admission fee. But Young stressed that fee won't pay for day-to-day operations at the museum.
“The admission fee alone won't come close to providing enough money for operating the museum,” Young said. “And that's not the intention.”
In addition to the State Museum in Springfield, Young said the Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown and the Research and Collections Center in Springfield will reopen in July.