Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Letter to the Chicago Tribune


Illinois State Museum

As President of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), I write on behalf of our nearly 8,000 members to strongly oppose Governor Rauner’s scheduled shuttering of the Illinois State Museum (ISM).

Founded in 1934, SAA is an international organization dedicated to researching, interpreting, and protecting the archaeological heritage of the Americas. It represents professional archaeologists in colleges and universities, museums, government agencies, and the private sector.

By closing the ISM, Governor Rauner goes against the recommendations of the very Illinois State review panel he appointed to assess a possible closure.

Closing the ISM is, as shown by the Illinois Office of Tourism visitor spending estimates, penny-wise and pound-foolish: it makes money for the State. The ISM hosts nearly half a million visitors a year. Closing the ISM may also expose the state to legal challenges, as ISM has curation agreements with agencies and tribes.

The ISM’s nationally renowned collections are a key resource for assessing the long-term histories of humans and natural communities in the region – invaluable in a time of heightened climate variability.

Most importantly, closing ISM deprives the people of Illinois of their history. Respect for natural and cultural heritage grows from knowledge of it. No other public or private institution in Illinois conveys to its citizens such a rich sense of their natural and human history.

—Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, President, Society for American Archaeology, Santa Cruz, California

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune


Five Things To Do In September To Help Save the Illinois State Museum

Abe five things new

1.     March with STISM at the front of the Springfield Labor Day Parade in your rally tee and bring your friends of all ages! Lineup starts at 9:00 a.m. in the Horace Mann Parking lot. See our event on our FB page for details. We’ll have signs and more tees to hand out.

2.     After Labor Day, we need everyone to call their house representative to vote for S.B. 317–the bill to keep ISM open. It’s our only hope. We’ve made it easy for you. Just click here.

3.     Visit your nearest ISM now. October 1 may be too late.

4.     Sign the petition* and share it on your FB page. We delivered 11,000 signatures to the Governor in mid-July, but more is better. We’d like to reach 15,000+ signatures by the end of the month.

5.     Like our  FB page* and invite your friends to like it. There’s no need to sign up for FB to see it.

  •  At the Save the ISM home page, in the box on the left, click on Invite Friends to Like this Page.
  • Click on All Friends (or select a smaller group or individual).
  • Click Send Invites

*Numbers make a difference–Senator Andy Manar cited “public outcry” over the closing when he introduced the bill to keep it open. Large numbers also impress legislators whose votes we need to save the ISM.