SPRINGFIELD — An organization is working to reopen a Civil War museum in Illinois that has been closed since August.

Members of the National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, say they need time to implement some significant changes before they can reopen the Army of the Republic Memorial Museum in Springfield.

"There's been a few significant changes that are being implemented," said Kathy Bower, secretary of the organization. "With the changes, we have to make sure we are completely ready."

The 1,000-square-foot museum was temporarily closed for organizational changes and work with a collection, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported. The collection includes a portion of a flag that hung at Ford's Theatre on the evening Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and military gear of Union soldiers.

The National Woman's Relief Corps, Auxiliary to The Grand Army of the Republic, was formed in 1883 and survives its namesake fraternal organization. The museum was established to preserve GAR history, including documents and Civil War equipment. Much of the material has been donated by families of Union veterans.

There are a few museums like the Civil War museum left, according to Clint Schemmer with The Civil War Trust in Washington, D.C.

"What intrigued me most about that (Springfield) collection is that it has been maintained in our own time and going back decades by the Woman's Relief Corps," Schemmer said. "It would put it in a different category."

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