Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pennsylvania Historical Sites Continue to Take Hits

Last week I blogged about Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell's proposal to cut 50 of the current 57 staff positions at the Pennsylvania State Library in Harrisburg.

Today, the Harrisburg Patriot-News reports that the State Museum of Pennsylvania may be forced to charge admission in order to survive Rendell's budget cuts.

His spending plan would eliminate the $3.8 million in state grants for small museums and regional history centers. It also would cut funding by 10 percent to nine museums, including the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, in the commission's $26.5 million budget.

The article also reports that due to budget cuts the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission may have to close up to seven of the state's historical sites.

Unfortunately, historical and cultural institutions are often the first to go during times of economic crises. This is a shame, since during difficult times these kinds of institutions remind us of who we are as a people. Our shared past offers a source of strength and communal identity in times of trial.

Let's hope Rendell might reconsider these cuts.