Interpretive Center Closing on Wednesdays

Beginning the week of September 21, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site will reduce Interpretive Center open days to 4 days per week, Thursday through Sunday. Grounds will remain open daily from dawn until dusk. This is due to recent reductions in staffing as well as the effects of the pandemic on our human resources. We anticipate this schedule to remain throughout the winter months and hope that you continue to support Cahokia Mounds during our new schedule. We are working hard to maintain programming and implement new programming that conforms to the constraints the pandemic has imposed on us. You can find more information on our website and social media outlets as it becomes available.

Governor Pritzker Visits Cahokia Mounds

On Aug 27th we had the honor of hosting Governor J.B. Pritzker and the First Lady. They visited the Interpretive Center and received a tour led by Bill Iseminger. The Governor asked many questions about the history of the Mississippians and also asked many questions about the site. They also made the trip up Monks Mound where Bill also led a short tour. It was an honor to have them visit.

Interpretive Center Opens July 15th

We are very happy to finally announce that we will re-open the Interpretive Center (IC) with restrictions on Wednesday July 15. In our effort to maintain progress in overcoming COVID-19 in our community, we ask that you adhere to the new protocols. If you are not willing to do so, we ask that you schedule a private tour (taking place at our convenience). The IC will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 – 5:00 pm. We will offer two tours of the grounds per day, on an RSVP basis only, at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. In order to enter the IC, you must be symptom-free, be wearing a face covering, and practice social distancing while inside or waiting to enter. Face coverings are not required on kids nine and under or if you have a doctor’s note indicating you are unable to wear one. The only other exception will be visitors with physical limitations that are unable to use a face covering. There will only be 50 people allowed in the IC at any given time. Once the capacity is reached, you will be asked to wait outside until visitors leave before being permitted inside. There is one entrance and one exit on each side of the building. All interactive gallery exhibits will be closed and we will not be showing the Orientation Film at this time. We have increased cleaning frequency, will be sanitizing restrooms and high-touch items throughout the day, and will be adhering to general CDC and IDPH guidelines in an effort to mitigate the spread of pathogens. The new protocols will be strictly enforced, please help us do our part in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Welcome back to Cahokia Mounds!
Lori Belknap – Site Superintendent
TO RSVP Please call 618-346-5161

Interpretive Center to Open Soon!

“We are happy to announce that we will be opening our Interpretive Center on Wednesday, July 15. We will be open Wednesday through Sunday, from 9:00 am through 5:00 pm. We will have reduced staff and will limit the occupancy of the building to 50 people or less. On Monday I will issue a statement that explains the new protocols for entering the building. Please hold your questions until this is developed and a public statement is made. As of now, we wanted to inform you that you will soon be able to revisit the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site Interpretive Center with restrictions beginning next week!”

Lori Belknap-Site Superintendent

Outdoor Tours To Be Offered

As we move towards fully reopening Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, we will now offer interpretive outdoor tours of 3 key areas of the site.
Interpretive outdoor tours will begin on Wednesday 7/8/2020 and continue until the building reopens. Tours will be offered Wednesday through Sunday.
There will be 3 tour offerings: The Grand Plaza, Mound 72, and Monks Mound.
Each tour will last 45 minutes.
These tours will be offered on an RSVP basis only, by calling 618-346-5161.
All 3 tours will take place at 10:00, 11:00, and 1:00. If you would like to do all the tours, you must RSVP for EACH tour. Only those on the RSVP list will be permitted to accompany the tour guide.
Tours are limited to 10 people and face coverings will be required.
The Grand Plaza tour will begin at the bronze door entrance of the Interpretive Center.
The Monks Mound tour will begin at the Monks Mound Interpretive Sign located just NW of the Monks Mound parking lot.
The Mound 72 tour will begin at the Interpretive Sign in the main visitor parking lot.
These are walking tours, during extreme heat, the guide reserves the right to modify the distance and content of the tour to ensure visitor comfort and safety.
Restrooms are not available, please bring water and any other amenities with you. Look for an employee with a ‘Tour Guide’ hat at the designated starting point.

4th of July

If your 4th of July plans include Cahokia Mounds, please be aware that there are no fireworks permitted on the grounds whatsoever. The grounds are open from dawn until dusk only. The pavilions are open for groups of 50 or less and are on a first-come, first-served basis. The museum, pit toilets, and water fountains remain closed. We ask that you take any trash with you or use the provided receptacles. Thank you for your consideration as you celebrate the 4th of July.

Update on Reopening

CLOSED: The Interpretive Center will remain closed at this time. IDNR is working closely with the IDPH to develop the proper safety protocols to open our facility as safely as possible. We had hoped we could open today when the Governor opens the state at the Phase 4 level of reopening but we will not be reopening today. We are working very hard to prepare our facility and our protocols so that we can begin interpretive functions again safely for our staff and our visitors. As soon as we have more information, we will pass it along to you via FB and our website. In the meantime, please continue enjoying our grounds and understand that the safety of our visitors, staff, and Volunteers is our first priority. Hope to see you all soon!!

Lori Belknap
Site Superintendent

The Ground are Open

Welcome back! The grounds at Cahokia Mounds are now open from dawn till dusk. The Interpretive Center, Picnic Area, Playground, Toilets, and Water Fountains remain closed. As you enjoy the grounds, please adhere to the Governor’s 6 ft. social distance mandate and wear a face covering if a 6 ft. distance cannot be maintained unless you medically cannot. We realize this is challenging when outdoors, however we ask for your consideration of other visitors as we do our part to mitigate the spread of COVID – 19 in our community. We will place some brochures outside of the Museum door. Enjoy the outdoors at Cahokia Mounds!

Grounds to Reopen on May 29th

We are happy to announce that the grounds at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site will reopen on May 29 with restrictions.    This includes all walking areas, Monks Mound, and Woodhenge.   Restrictions are:

A face covering is required, physical distancing measures must be followed, picnic pavilions and playground remain closed, and water fountains will remain off.  Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Illinois Department of Natural Resources encourage you to enjoy our beautiful outdoor resources and welcome you back to the site as we transition through the Governor’s 5-Phase Reopen Plan.  For questions, please call 618-346-5160, we will be answering calls on a limited basis.

Deadline for Employment is May 1st

Cahokia Mounds is accepting applications for six month seasonal positions. Download the application from the Work4Illinois website and email to the site with the background check and a copy of your valid DL. Call 618-346-5164 with questions.




Exhibit Gets Much Needed Update

During the shutdown period our badly deteriorated outdoor mitigation porch received a facelift and a new sign. We received a generous donation to repaint and produce a sign for the outdoor feature exhibit. This area was inhabited by all four phases of occupation at the site beginning with AD 1050 through AD 1250. This is represented by four colors of paint as noted in the sign. The rectangles are where houses stood and the circular features are either pits or post holes. The oldest is the red or the ‘Lohman’ Phase. The sign also shows the difference in settlement pattern, house construction, and house size between the four phases. This exhibit was painted when the building was opened in 1989 and had not painted since (except for the blue which was updated by some volunteers about 5 years ago). There was no interpretive sign except for a foot-tall concrete block with a page on the front that was 30 years old and was no longer legible. This sign and the fresh epoxy paint is a huge facelift for the entrance of our building. It was so badly worn and weathered that about 75% of our visitors walked into it thinking it was the entrance to the building. Very proud of our team for improving this area of our facility!!


CLOSURE – Superintendent Update

The health and safety of our community, visitors, and staff are of the utmost importance during this difficult time.

To further prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in accordance with the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation issued on March 9, 2020, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the closure of all state parks, fish and wildlife areas, recreational areas, and historic sites as well as the cancellation of upcoming scheduled events.
This includes the Grounds and the Interpretive Center.
We ask for your cooperation in reducing the contagion by not visiting Cahokia Mounds and adhering to social distancing policy.
This closure is indefinite and as more information is available, it will be passed via press release and on our social media outlets and website.

Lori Belknap,
Site Superintendent


Effective immediately, all IDNR-owned properties are closed to the public to help stem the spread of COVID-19. All scheduled events on state property are effectively cancelled; patrons are encouraged to call IDNR’s Parks administrative line Monday through Friday at 217-782-6752 with questions.


Due to COVID-19 and the recommendations of the Governor of Illinois the decision has been made to either cancel or postpone several events. We will continue to post these here and on our Facebook page.

  • March 19 CAS mtg Canceled
  • March 22 Winter Lecture #3 Canceled
  • March 22 Spring Equinox Observance Canceled
  • March 28 Flintknapping Class Canceled
  • April 4 Trivia Night Postponed
  • April 17-19 Art Market Canceled

The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is important to us. While we are taking added precautions if you are sick please do not come visit the site and if you aren’t sick or showing symptoms please wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

Winter Lecture Series #2

Join us for the second of three in our Winter Lecture Series

Sunday February 9th at 2pm. This is a free event.


Elizabeth Watts Malouchos, Research Scientist at Indiana University’s Glenn Black

Laboratory of Archaeology


Angel Mounds is one of the largest Mississippian mound centers on the northeastern Mississippian frontier. Little is understood about Angel’s relationships with surrounding hinterland communities or with other Mississippian centers in the Midwest. Recent remote-sensing research at Angel and outlying sites suggests aligning residential and mound architecture to the movements of the moon was important for over three centuries and that the broader Angel lunar landscape connected Angel to a Cahokian cosmology and to ancestral Middle Woodland histories.

Beginning Feb 1 IDOT Closes parts of I-255

Beginning February 1 please consult the Illinois Department of Transportation’s website for planned detours while parts of I-255 are closed for a major overhaul.

“While this project will require a complete closure of the interstate to all traffic for one construction season, it enables the project to be completed cheaper, faster and safer.

* Significantly reduces completion time to 10 months, instead of 4 years.
* Saves $14 million.
* Increases worker safety by keeping traffic out of the work zone.
* Reduces accidents by eliminating the need for work zone lane shifts.

The project consists of rehabilitating and resurfacing approximately 7 miles of I-255 from Collinsville Road to Illinois 15 in two sections separated by Interstate 64, with significant bridge repairs, safety improvements and drainage upgrades.  This project will restore the roadway and bridges to a smooth and safe condition for motorists and will support future investment in the region.”

Cahokia Mounds Receives Second NEH Grant

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today that $30.9 million in grants to support 188 humanities projects is awarded to expand access to the country’s wealth of historical resources. Cahokia Mounds Historic Site is among the recipients for the second year. The site is awarded a Digital Projects for the public grant from the NEH in the amount of $250,000 to develop an Augmented Reality (AR) Application and bring pre-Columbian history to life for visitors.

The grant was submitted by the Cahokia Mounds Museum Society (CMMS), the on-site support group at Cahokia Mounds. In 2019, CMMS was awarded a $100,000 Prototype grant to develop a prototype of an Augmented Reality Application. The prototype was developed by Schwartz & Associates Creative, St. Louis, MO. In June 2019, CMMS submitted the prototype and application for the development phase of the project. Both grants are administered by Alie Morgan, Executive Director of the Society, in conjunction with the Site.

“This has been a 5-year project, working closely with the Schwartz team, to develop cutting-edge interpretive pieces at Cahokia Mounds. It is difficult for visitors to visualize what was on the landscape a thousand years ago, a challenge for any archaeological site. This grant will enable us to provide a unique interpretive experience using the newest technologies. Available in 2021, visitors will utilize the camera on any smart device to read a code placed on the landscape. Their device screen will then populate with houses, temples, fires, people, and other features of the Mississippian landscape at around AD 1050, as if it were on the physical landscape before you,” Lori Belknap, Site Superintendent.

Taken from The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Press Release

Winter Lecture Series Begins January 19

Our Winter Lecture Series will begin on January 19 at 2 pm in the auditorium. It will feature Paul Welch, PhD who is the Anthropology Chair at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. The title of his lecture is “Fluorite Workshops and Bead Making at Kincaid Mounds, Illinois.”

Kincaid, contemporary with Cahokia, is a large, multi-mound palisaded town on the Ohio River opposite Paducah, KY. Excavations by SIUC in Kincaid’s Fluorite Workshop area in 2015 and 2016 exposed parts of two buildings where fluorite was fashioned into beads. Fluorite is a crystalline mineral with major sources in southern Illinois. In addition to its use for beads and figurines, fluorite apparently was also used elsewhere at Kincaid and other sites in southernmost Illinois as a means of consecrating large public buildings.

Bill Iseminger Day

Thursday December 19th has been declared Bill Iseminger day this year at Cahokia Mounds. Assistant Site Manager Bill Iseminger will be retiring on December 31st after almost 49 years at Cahokia Mounds. He started his career at Cahokia Mounds fresh out of grad school at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and never left. He will be talking to visitors and signing copies of his books from 9:30 – 4. He will be giving a presentation for the public at 1 pm discussing his many years at the site and remembering former colleagues and friends. Please join us as we wish him well in retirement. He has promised to come back as a volunteer so it will not be a goodbye. Books will be available for sale in the Gift Shop.

Jingle Hike Challenge 2019

Heartlands Conservancy has included us in their 2019 Jingle Hike which continues through New Year’s Day. There are 12 area sites participating. You will take a picture with the bells hanging on the tree and share via Instagram or Twitter using #jinglehike. On Facebook tag @heartlandsconservancy AND use #jinglehike. Stop by and pick up a map or go to!