HARRISBURG — Retired Col. William C. Hise and his late twin brother, Retired Brig. Gen. James C. Hise, always wanted to have an art museum built in honor of their sister, Ella Elizabeth Hise. When James Hise died in 2016, William Hise brought his body home to Harrisburg for burial.
It was during that trip that someone suggested William Hise tour Southeastern Illinois College located outside the city of Harrisburg.
“I was impressed with what they had,” Hise said.
He was so impressed, that he decided to build an art museum on the college campus. On Friday morning, the grand opening of the Ella Elizabeth Hise Museum of Regional Art was celebrated on the campus of Southeastern Illinois College.
Dr. Jonah Rice, president of SIC, said he was reading an email in his office one day and opened a seemingly ordinary email from Col. William Hise. It said he wanted to build an art museum at the college.
“For some reason I replied,” Rice said.
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The result of that first memory is the museum of regional art.
Ella Elizabeth Hise enrolled in Southern Illinois Normal University to obtain a two-year teaching certificate. She started teaching fourth grade in Harrisburg Public School until she was promoted to art supervisor in 1940. She was promoted to larger schools, then to university and state positions. She died in 1962.
The museum features artists of regional interest who are truly professional artists. Visitors will find local names like Marie Samuels, Najjar Abdul-Musawwir and Sarah Capps. One local artist and art teacher, Barb Allen, was on the art selection committee for the museum and has a painting in the first show.
Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is also open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the first Sunday of each month and during special events or by appointment.
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