The Illinois Supreme Court has announced a grand opening for a new Learning Center on September 20, 2023, at the Supreme Court Building at 200 E. Capitol Avenue in Springfield. The grand opening program will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis and Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission Executive Director John Lupton will serve as speakers at the event. 

“The Illinois Supreme Court is thrilled to open this new Learning Center in our historic building,” Chief Justice Theis said. “We hope it becomes a regular stop for students and members of the public visiting Springfield’s Capitol Complex to learn more about the Judicial Branch.” 

The Learning Center is designed to enhance the visitor experience at the Supreme Court. In addition to seeing the courtroom and learning about the Court’s important work during the traditional tour, visitors will now end their visit in the Learning Center. Here they will explore the ways the Court shapes our everyday lives and contemplate the ways we shape the court, whether through voting for justices, advocating for issues, or even by choosing a career in the field. 

“Illinois now joins a growing list of state supreme courts and federal courts that have judicial learning centers that help the public learn about civic education and the important role of the judicial branch,” Lupton said. 

The Learning Center is located on the second floor of the Illinois Supreme Court, just outside the Law Library, in the room that was once used as the Fourth District Appellate Court Conference Room. Construction began after the Court’s May Term and was completed in August by Taylor Studios, Inc. of Rantoul. Total construction cost came to approximately $130,000 and was funded completely by the Historic Preservation Commission. 

Highlights of the Learning Center include interpretative wall panels, case studies, QR codes, and a photographic timeline which serves to inform visitors of notable moments in history of the Court as well as its present. Additional informational sections are entitled “How does a case make its way to the Illinois Supreme Court?”, “Meet the Justices”, and “You be the Judge!”, which asks each visitor to vote via marble on whether they agree or disagree with a contentious Court decision. 

The Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission was created by the Supreme Court Historic Preservation Act in 2007 to assist and advise the Illinois Supreme Court in acquiring, collecting, preserving, and cataloging documents, artifacts, and information relating to the Illinois judiciary. 

For more information or to schedule a guided tour email or call 217-670-0890 ext 4.