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Officials Debate Separation Of Lincoln Museum And State Preservation Agency

May 1, 2015
Originally published on May 1, 2015 6:51 am

The director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum supports the proposed separation of the museum from its current government home, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. 

But Sunny Fischer, the chair of the IHPA, says the existing structure works well as it is.

"This structure calls for IHPA to handle administrative work like accounting and human resources, while leaving the presidential library and museum free to focus on serving the public as it has done so well," Fischer said.

Eileen Mackevich, the director of the library and museum, said the money will help the agency increase paid visitors by 10 percent. It's also meant to help the museum establish itself as a new state agency, divorced from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

"We can, as a stand-alone agency, be not only more efficient, more lithe, more quick to move, but able to build the kinds of collaborations that will create this great research library," Mackevich said.

Current budget proposals call for giving the presidential museum a $2 million boost of its projected spending in the current budget. Some of that money would be used to make it a stand-alone agency.

Fischer thinks the museum will do better without a separation and without merging IHPA's functions into the state's economic development agency, as Gov. Bruce Rauner is proposing.

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