This coming weekend, it is Doors Open in southern Illinois -- a tourism initiative giving residents a chance to peek inside some of the region's greatest historic treasures, for free.
The recently renovated Governor's Mansion (formerly the Hayes House) on the grounds of the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds, the Giant City Lodge, the Illinois Rural Heritage Museum in Pinckneyville and the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown are four of 13 special places in southern Illinois that will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
It's all part of the Illinois Bicentennial celebration. Similar Doors Open events will be held around the state this month: Central Illinois, Aug. 11-12; Western Illinois (communities along the full length of the Mississippi River), Aug. 18-19 and Northeastern Illinois, Aug. 25-26.
Here are southern Illinois sites with free access:
• The Downstate Governor's Mansion (former Hayes Home), 655 Executive Drive (Du Quoin State Fairgrounds)
• Illinois Rural Heritage Museum, 187 Fairgrounds Road, Pinckneyville
• The historic Rose Hotel, 195 S. Main St., Elizabethtown
• The Ohio River Visitor Center, 101 N. Calhoun St., Equality
• Giant City Lodge, Makanda
• P.A.S.T. of Union County Heritage House, 102 S. Main St., Jonesboro
• Kornthal Church, 2 Kornthal Church Road, Jonesboro
• St. John's Lutheran Church, 1390 St. John's Road, Anna
• Union County Museum, 117 S. Appleknocker St., Cobden
• Golconda Lockmaster Homes, 1503 Water St., Golconda
• Pope County Historical Society Museum, 206 E. Main St., Golconda
• Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, 2600 Richview Road, Mt. Vernon
• Robinson Stewart House Museum and Ratcliff Inn Museum, in Carmi
To see all the places open for view through the Doors Open program, visit www.enjoyillinois.com/illinois-bicentennial/doors-open-illinois/.