University Museum is back open after six months due state budget

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Today Governor Bruce Rauner unveiled his budget plan during his FY19 Budget Address, with a big focus on education.

“We must make higher education a critical priority, too,” said Gov. Rauner. “Illinois public university enrollment declined by 50,000 students from 1991 to 2014 as tuition and fees rose. Our budget conflicts didn’t help that trend to make higher education a critical priority.”

One of Southern Illinois University’s priorities was it’s University Museum, which just reopened. 

With the community support from vocal donors and patrons, museum staff said they can finally open their doors.

The museum originally closed last July 1 due to the ongoing budget impasse.

And according to the former Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell, “SIU is considering ways to save money, starting with programs that are not directly related to the training of the students.”

Once there was a more “permanent” state budget, the university planned to the resume the operations of the museum.

The soft opening was last Tuesday. The museum simply needed to hire a Museum Exhibit Curator, which they did in January. 

They hired W.M. Westin Stoerger as the new Curator of Exhibits.

“The university and the administrators are very supportive of the museum,” said Stoerger. “And we are very very thankful for it, we are extremely happy to be back open and we are happy to be here in the community again.”

There are currently three exhibits most people have never seen before on display former faculty members.

In addition, there are a number of student workers and graduate assistant positions that are filled this semester, but as the museum continues to expand they are interested in bringing in more full-time faculty in the future.

March 8th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be the official re-opening of the museum. 

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