SPRINGFIELD – December 3, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today named Eileen R. Mackevich as the new executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). Mackevich is the former executive director of the national Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. (Background Information)
“Eileen Mackevich’s proven track record and work coordinating the nation’s observance of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday make her the best person to oversee one of the most popular presidential museums in the nation,” said Governor Quinn. “I thank Director Jan Grimes for her service as museum’s interim acting director, as well as her continued work as director of the state’s Historic Preservation Agency.”
Mackevich previously served as executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, was co-founder and president of the Chicago Humanities Festival and spent 18 years as a broadcast journalist and talk show host on Chicago Public Radio. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Dominican University and Lincoln College, and is invested as a Member of the British Empire.
"It is an honor to be appointed to direct this institution that honors a man who is an inspiration and guiding light for our nation and the world,” said Mackevich. “Lincoln draws out the best from all classes and political persuasions, and he binds us together as a people and as a nation. I look forward to working with the Library and Museum’s talented and hardworking staff to attract many more people to Springfield to experience the real Abraham Lincoln.”
Mackevich earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, holds a master’s degree in British history from Northeastern Illinois University, and has completed additional graduate course work in British history at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
After conducting an in-depth interview process of several nationally-renowned historians and museum professionals, Mackevich was the unanimous recommendation of the Board of Trustees for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s (IHPA). IHPA Director Jan Grimes has been serving as interim acting director of the ALPLM since 2008.
“The members of the board were deeply impressed with Eileen Mackevich’s strong vision to ensure the continued success of an already wonderful institution,” said Illinois Historic Preservation Agency Chair Sunny Fischer. “Rarely have we read such glowing references from a wide variety of people in the field. She has a national and global network that will clearly help to increase awareness about Lincoln and the Museum.”
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum has welcomed 2.5 million visitors since opening in April 2005. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, adjacent to the Museum, is the state’s chief genealogical and historical research facility. Its collections of more than 15 million items are available to researchers of all ages. Visit www.presidentlincoln.org for more information about the Museum and Library as well as exhibits and special events at both facilities.