News Local/State

Rauner Says Illinois State Museum Can Re-open If Doesn’t Use State Money


Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Friday on legislation that would reopen the Illinois State Museum - if it gets private funding.

Rauner says he will support re-opening the museum in Springfield, and its branches throughout Illinois, if they don't rely on state funding. The state has given about $6 million each year to help it operate.

Museum board chairman Guerry Suggs said he didn't expect this response from the governor.

"I don't know where we're going to get $6 million overnight," he said. "Obviously, we would be prepared to try to move in that direction if we can, but to just drop that on us out of nowhere makes it very difficult."

Gov. Rauner closed the museum and its satellite locations on October 1st, because the state doesn't have a budget.

The governor suggested the museum become self-supporting by courting donations and charging an admission fee. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the museum, has scheduled an announcement about it on Monday morning.

Lawmakers must approve Rauner's changes to the bipartisan bill. With enough votes they also could override his veto.