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Dickson Mounds Set to Re-Open

Breanna Descourouez
Dickson Mounds has been closed since October 1st.

The small Fulton County community of Lewistown has been dealing with Dickson Mounds Museum being closed to the public since last fall  -- a closure ordered by Governor Bruce Rauner during the on-going state budget impasse. 

Becky Humphrey, Lewistown Chamber of Commerce President, said it’s been a tough nine months.

"Just because they’re coming to Dickson Mounds, doesn’t mean that they’re not buying gas, eating food, checking out our local shopping,” she said.

Humphrey said she hopes some of those tourism dollars come in again once the museum re-opens in a few weeks. 

Tourism is not the only thing affected by the museum's closure.  Just east of Dickson Mounds is the Emiquon Preserve, a wetland that was restored by the Nature Conservancy. Doug Blodgett, Director of River Conservation for the Illinois chapter of the Nature Conservancy, said the preserve has been struggling since Dickson Mounds closed.

Credit Breanna Descourouez
The view from Doug Blodgetts office at Emiquon Preserve.

Blodgett said Emiquon partnered with Dickson Mounds. When tourists came to the preserve, he would take them to the museum to better understand the Native American History behind the land. Blodgett said they lost that when the building closed.

“They can listen to me talk. They can look at a few slides. But it’s nothing in comparison to those people actually being able to go to the museum, seeing the displays they have, talk with the archeologists who have spent a lifetime studying this area,” he said while sitting in his office, listening to the birds chirp outside his window.

Blodgett said the museum helped the Nature Conservancy provide context for visitors. He said he looks forward to renewing that partnership with the museum staff, who remained on the job to maintain exhibits and artifacts even while the doors were closed to the public.

Dickson Mounds will re-open on July 2 in collaboration with Lewistown’s annual firework show.

Just like before there will be no admissions fee.