The question of how best to preserve and present Illinois history continues – with a report recommending the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum be part of a reinvigorated Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. A proposal introduced last May, spearheaded by no less than Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), would make the library and museum a stand-alone agency.
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Surrounding his bill was talk that library-museum director Eileen Mackevich and IHPA director Amy Martin don't get along and that Madigan leases office space from Mackevich’s boyfriend. A study group tried to confine its work to the governance rather than on the personal and political points.
“We didn’t really want to focus on that, because we realized from the outset that there were some real structural problems there that even Mother Teresa couldn’t solve,” says study group co-chairman Bernard Reilly, who is president of the Center for Research Libraries.
Reilly says the museum’s reliance on digital technology and design made some of the exhibits obsolete quickly after its 2005 opening.
The report calls breaking off ALPLM “a significant lost opportunity” as well as a costly proposition, considering the office functions currently provided by the Historic Preservation Agency.