Primary tabs

State Releases Museum Funding Study

On November 14 the Pennsylvania General Assembly's Legislative Budget & Finance Committee released its report on state funding of museums, which had been commissioned in June by a resolution in the Senate (SR-268).

In addition to the role Pennsylvania museums play in educating young people and preserving our heritage for future generations, the report affirmed their broad economic impact. Over 13,000 state residents are employed by museums and more than 25,000 Pennsylvania businesses are involved in arts and culture-related creative enterprises, generating more than $2.5 billion of direct spending into Pennsylvania's economy and $360 million in state and local taxes.

The report also documented the effect of recent state budget cuts. The study found that funding for state-owned museums fell 35% since the beginning of the recession, and funding for independent museums plummeted from $29.3 million in FY2005-06 to just $3.7 million last year. Those cuts have had a direct impact on PA museums' ability to remain accessible to all Pennsylvanians: half of the larger museums the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee surveyed reported that they had to raise admission prices and cut staff just to keep the doors open.
 
Finally, the report called for a more streamlined and transparent grant-making process, should the General Assembly restore funding for museums, and recommended that state agencies like the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts work together with the statewide Arts & Culture Coalition.
 
The Cultural Alliance is a member of this newly formed coalition, and we have worked closely with the Legislative Budget & Finance Committee over the past few months to inform the report with relevant data and feedback from Philadelphia’s museum community. Now that the study has been released, we will leverage it to advocate for restored museum funding.
 
To review the report document, visit http://lbfc.legis.state.pa.us/reports.cfm.