Closing Illinois State Museum would cost state reputation

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Supporters of the Illinois State Museum say closing the facility and its satellite sites would damage the state’s reputation as well as open it to lawsuits and other complications. Staff members and other officials told reporters Monday at the state Capitol that Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to close the system and save $4.8 million a year is short-sighted. The legislative Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability is conducting a public hearing on the plan Monday afternoon. Museum board chairman Guerry Suggs says the 138-year-old institution’s closure would cost the institution its accreditation and reputation. The 40,000 schoolchildren who visit each year would be out of luck. Associate curator Chris Widga says the collection includes gems such as the remains of the largest mastodon ever found.