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State budget cuts could force museum fees, closures

| Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2009

Cutbacks in Gov. Ed Rendell's recession budget could mean new fees charged at The State Museum in Harrisburg and the closure of state-run historic sites across Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission executive director Barbara Franco told lawmakers at a House Appropriations Hearing on Monday that the moves are being considered because of Rendell's proposed 20 percent budget cut.

She says five to seven sites face closure and that charging admission at The State Museum in Harrisburg is a possibility.

Rendell is proposing to eliminate grants that aid dozens of museums and county historical societies. Bigger institutions that get direct funding are facing 10 percent cuts.

Rendell's spokesman Chuck Ardo says the governor had to prioritize spending to reflect the state's dire financial condition.

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