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 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 it a usable residence for Illinois governors. When it reopens this summer, it will offer visitors a completely reimagined experience with a new look that is both stately and richly inviting.
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 seven days a week and, for the first time, 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.”
Built in 1855, the Illinois Governor’s Mansion is one of the oldest and most historic governor’s mansions in the United States. The Illinois Governor’s Mansion Association (previously known as the Illinois Executive Mansion Association) is a non-profit organization created in 1972 to preserve and oversee the restoration of the People’s House. In 2015, the Association began an extensive renovation process that will open to the public in July 2018.