PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois museum wants to make sure that a historic mural stays in Peoria as the auction of the Marriott Pere Marquette and neighboring Courtyard by Marriott approaches next month.

The Peoria Riverfront Museum filed a claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in July indicating ownership of the mural in the hotel lobby depicting the landing of the Marquette and Louis Joliet expedition in 1673 in what would later be Peoria, the Journal Star reported. The mural features French explorer Father Jacques Marquette greeting a group of Native Americans.

"The painting was given to the museum more than 30 years ago, but it's been on display at the Hotel Pere Marquette through a series of loan agreements with the exception of the period when the hotel was being renovated (2012-2013)," said museum CEO John Morris.

The piece was created by George Matthews Harding, a painter and muralist from the 1920s whose work is showcased in hotels in New York City and other East Coast locations.

The museum wants to continue keeping the mural public, calling it a "cultural asset to the community," Morris said.

Jeff McLinden, managing director of the Pere and Courtyard, said he agrees with the museum's decision to establish ownership.

"If a new owner came in and saw it on the wall, they might assume it was part of the hotel, but it's museum property that requires a $30,000 insurance policy," he said.

McLinden said the hotel also owns another mural that depicts the city's history. The other mural, located in the Cotillion Ballroom, was also painted by Harding. It features French explorer Robert de La Salle, the founder of Fort Crevecoeur, just across the Illinois River.


Information from: Journal Star,