Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, director of Illinois State Museum, passes away

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko

Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, who headed the Illinois State Museum since 2019, died Saturday, according to a statement from the Illinois Museum Association Board.

Catlin-Legutko recently had been appointed by President Joe Biden to the Route 66 Centennial Commission. The centennial of the Mother Road is in 2026.

Catlin-Legutko was selected to head the Springfield museum after a nationwide search. She had been president and chief executive officer of the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, which focuses on Native American culture and its history in Maine.

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Prior to her job in Maine, she led the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Catlin-Legutko took over at the Illinois State Museum for Robert Sill, who had been interim director since the retirement of Michael Wiant in early 2018.

The museum is part of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

A Facebook post from the Illinois Museum Association Board called Catlin-Legutko Illinois State Museum "an amazing force in the national museum community and when she accepted the position at ISM in the fall of 2019, her colleagues across the state were overjoyed.

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"The void that Cinnamon leaves will be impossible to fill, and we must remain inspired by her work and light. Cinnamon will be profoundly missed by all who knew her, but we know her work and spirited determination will live on in all those she touched."

Catlin-Legutko has served on several national museum boards, including the board of directors for the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and the American Association for State and Local History. 

A native of Clinton, Missouri, Catlin-Legutko was a graduate of Purdue University and the University of Arkansas.

She is survived by her husband, Larry, and son, Jacob.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

This story will be updated.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788,,

via The State Journal-Register

January 22, 2023 at 08:59PM

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