Cahokia Mounds Legislation Introduced

Upcoming Projects at the Interpretive Center – Lori Belknap, Site Superintendent

The lineup of approved projects at the site is moving forward, despite repeated delays. Several projects were approved to take place in recent years but the pandemic and the resulting budget crises within our State Agencies, production constraints, and inflation have impacted the planning and bidding processes in complex ways. These factors have impacted our projects as well as other capital projects in our region. This is why the mechanical project, which was approved in 2019, (replacement of HVAC, lighting, security, and fire safety systems) has not been completed in 2023 as it was forecast.

This project went out for bid September 2021 by the Capital Development Board, but a viable bid was not obtained. As a result, changes were made to the contract.  After all the necessary reviews, modifications, and approvals by multiple stakeholders, bid documents were distributed again with a second bid opening in May 2023. Unfortunately, at this time there was only one bid, and it was almost 300% of the proposed budget. After learning that the lack of Vendor pool was largely due to the risk associated with protecting the artifacts in the Gallery, we have returned all loans to their respective owners to relieve the burden of artifact curation on potential bidders.

Currently, the project is being modified for a 3rd time, and we hope it will be bid out again by the end of the year. The roof project has been completed on schedule. We are also in the process of putting out for bid a new vault toilet which will be installed near the Monks Mound parking lot and should be completed by the end of the year. We have contracted to have the entire public space inside the IC repainted in October of 2023. Plans are in process to convert our technology over to Voice Over IP and add security cameras throughout the building. This project has a target of completion by the end of 2024. In addition to these projects, the demolition of Grandpa’s Warehouse has been moved up the project list by IDNR engineering and we should see this demolition take place within the next 2 years. I understand the frustration with our world-class Interpretive Center being closed far beyond our projected date, however, there are many factors involved with these large-scale projects and many are beyond our control. I ask for your patience and continued support as we do our best to make necessary improvements to our facility as expeditiously as possible.


Local Podcast Series Features Cahokia Mounds Agriculture

“Uncovering Cahokia’s Food History & Forgotten Farmscapes.”
Check out this new episode of the podcast series “Grounded by the Farm!” This week’s episode “Uncovering Cahokia’s Food History & Forgotten Farmscapes” features local anthropologist, Dr. Gayle Fritz, Professor emeritus from Washington University. Listen-in as Gayle and the host “uncover the mysteries of this once-thriving metropolis and its food and farming footprint.”
ℹ️ If you would like to know more about Cahokia agriculture pick up a copy of Gayle’s book “Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Heartland” from our online Gift Shop or purchase over the phone at 618-344-9221.

Cahokia Mounds Museum Society Wins Prestigious 2023 AASLH Award of Excellence!

The Cahokia Mounds Museum Society (CMMS) is honored to announce the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has selected us as a 2023 Award of Excellence winner by the Leadership in History Awards Committee for Back to the City of The Sun: An Augmented Reality Experience. This year, AASLH conferred fifty-one national awards honoring people, projects, and exhibits that represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history.

The AR tour application process began in 2018, with the goal of seeking funding for a more sophisticated and contemporary interpretive experience for our visitors. In 2019, the CMMS was awarded a $100,00 Digital Projects for the Public Prototyping grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This phase was a planning stage for the larger technology project to come. In November of 2019, the CMMS was awarded a $250,000 Digital Projects for the Public Production grant to produce a fully functional program by the end of 2021. Working in tandem with the team at Schwartz & Associates Creative, the CMMS launched the first phase of the project in December of 2021, with the Monks Mound Tour. The second phase was launched shortly after in February of 2022, with the inclusion of the Grand Plaza Tour.

The Cahokia AR Tour is a cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) experience offering visitors a glimpse of what Cahokia might have looked like over one thousand years ago. Purchase the application from either the Apple App Store if you have an iPhone or the Google Play Store for all other smart devices. The Monks Mound tour begins at the AR map near the Monks Mound parking lot. The Grand Plaza Tour begins at the AR map just behind the Interpretive Center. For each tour visitors will scan waypoints with their smart device camera to activate the AR images. By looking at their device visitors will see video on their screen of what that specific waypoint might have looked like from the initial development of Cahokia to Present Day.

This audio-visual program will enhance the visitor experience, which is critical during our extended renovation closure. Thank you to AASLH for this esteemed honor and congratulations to the CMMS and Schwartz & Associates Creative for all their hard work and determination in seeing this project through and developing a program that interprets Cahokia Mounds like never before!

*The Cahokia AR Tour is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play for $4.99.


The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), a national nonprofit association, provides leadership and resources to help the history community thrive and make the past more meaningful for all people. AASLH serves the tens of thousands of history organizations, professionals, and volunteers around the country who help people of all ages develop critical thinking skills and understand how learning history helps society make progress toward justice. Through research, advocacy, and our field-leading professional development program, AASLH advances public history practice and connects history practitioners to critical issues in the field and to one another. For more information about AASLH visit

*For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to