CHICAGO (Feb. 27, 2018) – After two years of an extensive privately-funded renovation, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion will reopen to the public on July 14, 2018, Illinois’ First Lady Diana Rauner announced today at the annual Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism.
“Bruce and I made a promise to the people of Illinois to renovate the Governor’s Mansion to restore the pride in this historic building,” said First Lady Diana Rauner, chair of the Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association. “With an all new visitor experience, expanded accessibility, and updated programming, we know the Governor’s Mansion will be a must-see destination for tourists and Illinois residents to visit again and again.”
The renovation, funded entirely with private dollars, makes the Mansion a usable residence for Illinois Governors. When it reopens this summer, the Mansion will also offer visitors a completely reimagined experience. It has a new look that is both stately and richly inviting in keeping with the Midwest hospitality of Illinois people.
The Mansion’s new mission is focused on history education and appreciation and that is reflected in the newly renovated space. Visitors will be able to gather and learn from period art and exhibits featuring the 1893 Columbian Exposition. There is space to showcase Illinois fine and decorative arts. There a visitor’s center and trained docents will lead tours 7 days a week. For the first time, the Mansion is ADA accessible.
“Our work to renovate the mansion focuses on so much more than just an updated façade and interior design,” said John Bryan, Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association board member. “I am very pleased to be part of a project that highlights the rich history of Illinois and brings art by local artists to the forefront of our state’s capitol.”
The Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association received a grant from the Terra Foundation of American Art to support the inaugural art exhibit, ‘Art in Illinois.’ The exhibition brings together fine and decorative art from Illinois artists and features 102 works from mid-nineteenth century to present day. Twenty of the pieces have never been seen before and are on loan from private collections. ‘Art in Illinois’ will run through January 2019.