SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan applauded the General Assembly's passage of a bill creating an operating structure for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum through a reorganization of the Historic Preservation Agency.
The legislation passed by the General Assembly as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget. It effectively forms two entities within the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency: one for the oversight of state historic sites and one for administration of the Lincoln Presidential Library.
“In preparation of the opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library this fall, we have developed a governing structure and home within state government for this monumental project,” said Governor Ryan. “With this reorganization, we will fulfill our pledge to maintain oversight of the Library and Museum within state government, yet still allow for a more independent operation as befitting an entity of this monumental importance.”
The legislation requires the creation of an advisory board of the Lincoln Presidential Library to advise the Library and the future Library Director. Eleven individuals with expertise in history, research, cultural institutions, archives, libraries, business or education will be appointed by the Governor to six-year terms with the consent of the Senate. The initial members’ terms will be one to six years.
The advisory board will work together with the Lincoln Library Foundation and recommend programs for implementation in support of the mission and goals of the Lincoln Presidential Library, recommend seminars or other conferences, and report annually to the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Board of the Historic Preservation Agency.
The historic sites in the state of Illinois will also be overseen by a fifteen member advisory council, known as the Illinois Historic Sites Advisory Council. Council members will include at least three historians, three architectural historians or architects with a preservation background and at least three archaeologists and will be appointed by the Director of the Historic Preservation Agency for three-year terms.
Last October, Governor Ryan asked a six-member Blue Ribbon Panel to advise him in the selection of a Director for the Lincoln Library. The search committee made initial recommendations regarding the governing structure for the library and museum, the scope and responsibilities of the key positions and developed an outline of the requisite qualifications which candidates for director will be evaluated. The committee is currently conducting a nationwide search for qualified individuals and will report their list of final candidates to Governor Ryan.
Governor Ryan noted House Minority Leader Lee A. Daniels' strong support for the Lincoln Library project and the Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel.
So far, a set of goals have been outlined by the panel for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum including: preserving the stature and reputation of President Lincoln, allowing for research and scholarship related to Lincoln’s legacy, creating an exhibition center for Lincoln artifacts, and sponsoring education, outreach and scholarly research.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is a $115 million project that is a partnership of the State of Illinois, the City of Springfield and the federal government.
The complex will offer programs and public policy institutes in cooperation with the University of Illinois at Springfield. The library will house the world’s largest collection of Lincoln artifacts and documents – 46,000 items, as well as state-of-the-art exhibits that bring Lincoln’s legacy to life.
The Library and Museum complex is located in downtown Springfield, a few blocks from several important historic sites: Illinois’ Old State Capitol, where Lincoln served in the General Assembly; his former law offices; the only home he ever owned; and the railroad depot where he made his famous farewell speech to his hometown.
A live camera shot connected to the Internet currently shows a broad view of the construction area in downtown Springfield. To watch the Lincoln Library’s construction, visit the Lincolncam. Several views will zoom in on the library, the next-door site of the museum and nearby Union Station, an historic train depot that will be converted into a gateway building for the library and museum complex.