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Illinois State Museum can reopen - by charging admission

Illinois officials say they have a plan to reopen the state museum - but it will mean closing two branch locations, and charging admission. | AP file photo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says it has reached an agreement with the governor’s office to reopen the state museum by charging admission and closing two branches to save money.

The announcement Monday comes three days after Gov. Bruce Rauner rejected legislation to reopen the museum. Rauner used his veto power to tell lawmakers the museum and its satellite locations can reopen only if it gets its own funding through admission fees and donations.

IDNR says lawmakers must grant the authority to charge entry fees. The department says the locations slated for closing are the Chicago and Rend Lake branches.

Rauner closed the museum locations in October because the state doesn’t have a budget. The state spends $6 million annually on the Springfield museum and its four satellite sites.