Illinois Lincoln Museum Not 'Seceding' From Library Yet
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will maintain control of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and not divide it--for now, at least.
The library and museum in Springfield is one of Preservation Agency's top attractions. But leaders of the two entities and a supporting foundation have reportedly been at odds--to the point that House Speaker Mike Madigan is proposing to split the museum off on its own.
Madigan proposed making the museum independent within state government and removing it from the control of the Historic Preservation Agency. The move came after members of the museum's advisory board complained Historic Preservation officials were not listening to their recommendations.
Steve Beckett is chairman of the Lincoln Museum's advisory board and a driving force behind the proposed split. He told lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday agency officials were not heeding the advisory board's advice.
"We had a house divided within staff. We certainly had a house divided within executive directors. And when you add the Illinois state historian into the mix, you can see that the clean slate is absolutely necessary."
Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo also says things aren't working as is.
"Right now, it's a three-headed monster. It's not efficient. They're working at cross-purposes, and not working together."
Still, Franks says it's premature to divide them. He says legislators should wait until a review panel offers its suggestions on structural changes; that's supposed to happen by early January.
Both museum and Historic Preservation officials told legislators they'd keep working together to find a solution.
Editor's Note: Amanda Vinicky and Brian Mackey, both of WUIS, contributed to this story.