SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Museum and Sangamon County are partnering to design and build an exhibit at the future Springfield-Sangamon County Transportation Hub that will feature artifacts and information about the race riot in 1908 in Springfield, officials announced today.
Artifacts from the race riot in 1908 were discovered during the rail relocation project near Madison Street and the 10th Street railroad corridor. During that time, a commitment was made to create an exhibit that would feature some artifacts and additional information about the race riot in the future transportation Hub facility. The Illinois State Museum will be the repository of those artifacts.
“The Illinois State Museum was the logical partner, and they have the expertise and passion for this project. This institution is a jewel in our community and has experience in exhibits and telling the stories of Illinois for more than a century,” said Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy VanMeter. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to work together to create an exhibit that tells the important story of the race riot in our city’s history.”
The Illinois State Museum, working with its friends group, the Illinois State Museum Society, plans to design and build the exhibit with a commitment to a community-centered approach by planning many community conversations before the design work begins.
“This phase is the heart of this project and will determine the project’s successes and failures. Community members must feel and see that their stories, experiences, and opinions matter to this process,” said Illinois State Museum Director Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko. “We also want them to see where their input inspired the design and final product.”
“Having artifacts from the race riot is something I have always wanted to have displayed here in Springfield, Illinois,” said Teresa Haley, Springfield Branch NAACP president, and NAACP Illinois state president. “The Illinois State Museum is the perfect partner to care for our most sacred items. Members of the Springfield Branch NAACP have worked hard to help make the dream a reality. We look forward to the day when we can walk through the transportation Hub facility and tell the story about the race riot that led to the start of the NAACP as we know it today.”
If you are interested in being invited to the community conversations, please email Cinnamon.Catlin-Legutko@Illinois.gov.
About the Illinois State Museum
Established on May 25, 1877, the Illinois State Museum has a statutory mandate to study, collect and interpret Illinois’ land, life, and people. Operating as a system, the flagship museum is on the Capitol Complex in Springfield, which features permanent and temporary exhibits on art, history, and science. In addition, the Museum actively collects and cares for a significant collection of nearly 14 million objects divided broadly into art, history, and science. Learn more at illinoisstatemuseum.org.
About the Illinois State Museum Society
Founded in 1952, the Society is a non-profit recognized in state statute that supports the programs, exhibitions, and research projects of the Museum. The Society runs the Museum’s membership program, an online gift shop, and a physical retail location in Springfield. In addition, it supports several staff positions and has a board of directors.
The community conversations will begin later this summer. The exhibit is planned to be installed at the Hub in 2024.