Washington State Museums Face Proposed Funding Cuts and Furloughs

By Heather Ferrell

State Capitol Museum

In a proposal released to the public in December,  Gov. Chris Gregoire recommended cutting state funding for Spokane’s Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture’s (MAC) state by just over forty percent. According to a January 24, 2011 article by Lauren Lynch— this would be enough to maintain minimal staff for building and artifact care, but prevent the museum from being open to the public. Lynch’s article in Spokane’s City Arts Magazine goes on to say that

“According to [Governor] Gregoire, mothballing the MAC, the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, Olympia’s Capitol Museum as well as cutting numerous outreach programs fed through local historical societies would total up to $5.2 million in savings. The community, however, doesn’t seem interested in the numbers. Instead, they look at it as a possible disaster that would disable the only cultural hub on the East side.” Read more about this article.

In Tacoma, Washington State Historical Museum’s website prominently states that the museum remains open through June 2011 as the Governor’s proposed budget doesn’t call for closing the History Museum –  if implemented – until July 1, 2011 or later (with scheduled furlough days for staff January through March).

Additionally, the Seattle Art Museum downtown, the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park Pavilion announced it will be closed to the public for two weeks, January 31 - February 15, 2011 with staff on furlough during this time.

[westmuse note: According to our sources, "The Legislature will decide the issue -- the governor's proposal is by no means a certainty."  And in the Washington State Historical Society's inimitable fashion (yes, they are one of the first to have put up a public Performance Dashboard), they have put up a "What our friends and customers say" section on their web site. Click here for link.]



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