Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dickson Mounds Museum Celebrates Reopening

Breanna Descourouez
There is no admission fee to visit the museum.

The museum closed to the public October 1 because of the state budget stalemate.  It reopened July 2 and a public celebration was held this past weekend.

”It is exhilarating to have people come up and shake your hand and say, ‘We’re glad you’re back,’” said Director Michael Wiant.

“And we are delighted to be here because this is what we do.  We give the public the opportunity to learn and talk to us about what we’ve learned.  That’s the nature of a museum.”

Wiant said Dickson Mounds Museum will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. There is no admission fee.

He is encouraging visitors to use #BackAtDMM to share their experiences.

“We’re hoping people will take a picture of themselves in some interesting place in the museum, post it to that hashtag, and it lets people know that there are things to see and do again,” Wiant said.

Credit Rich Egger
Museum Director Michael Wiant

He said the museum staff is building new exhibits to give visitors a bigger story about human history in the Illinois River Valley.  One of those new displays is a log cabin with a variety of artifacts from the early 19th Century. 

In addition, staff members continue to collaborate with researchers from Michigan State University to excavate a nearby site -- known as the Morton site -- that dates back to around 1300 A.D.

“It’s now beginning to reveal a story about the transition from one culture, which was dominant for a long time, called Mississippian, and then gives way to another one of people from out of this area, called Oneota. We’ve been very intrigued about that change in the way people are living,” Wiant said.

He said it appears the two cultures inhabited the same site for a while.  Researchers are trying to determine whether that was unusual.

Wiant said the museum staff is also working to create a complete monograph of the Dickson Mounds cemetery, which he called “an extraordinary archaeological site.”

Rich is TSPR's News Director.