Saturday, July 07, 2007

Budget impasse forces closure of Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission sites

Sadly, PRNewsWire has provided the following information about budget cuts and facilities closings slated by the Pennsylvania state legislature. Members of the extended Weiser Family will note that two family sites are part of the closure plan, namely the Ephrata Cloister and the Conrad Weiser Homestead. This will certainly change summer travel plans to historic Pennsylvania sites. Genealogists with Pennsylvania ancestors will be alarmed to note the lack of funding will also force the closing of the Pennsylvania State Archives and State Museum of Pennsylvania. In fact, on review of the proposed closure list, there isn’t a site that doesn’t impact a great portion of DearMYRTLE’s readers, some of whom are already in transit to these locations.

July 06, 2007

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIAPennsylvania Historical and Museum CommissionCommonwealth News BureauRoom 308, Main CapitolHarrisburg, PA
17120CONTACT: Jane Crawford(717) 783-9882


HARRISBURG--Governor Edward G. Rendell is working to adopt a budget that requires no broad based tax increases, provides sufficient resources to ensure that Pennsylvania continues to improve its public schools, offers high quality child care, helps Pennsylvanians get good jobs and helps our companies grow, but the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, forced by the federal government to classify state employees in the event of budget impasses, said today a budget impasse would trigger the furlough of state workers; the 25 historic sites and museums operated by it will be closed beginning Monday, July 9.

The State Bookstore in the Keystone Building and the State Records Center, which holds 750 million pages of state agency documents, will also be closed. In addition, 470 PHMC employees will be furloughed and 50 commission employees will continue to work.

Governor Edward G. Rendell proposed a $27.3 billion budget on Feb. 6 that offered solutions for Pennsylvania's transportation funding crisis, relief for overburdened property
taxpayers, innovative ideas for attracting the best and brightest scientists to find cures for the world's deadliest diseases, ways to free residents from their dependence on foreign oil, expansion of successful education initiatives and bold ideas for bringing health care to every Pennsylvanian.

Recently, however, members of the Senate opted, instead, to demand that the budget cut millions of dollars from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education programs, economic development and job training programs, as well as child care and mental health programs.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information about the commission, visit

Below is a list of the historic sites and museums to be impacted by a budget impasse:

  • Erie Maritime Museum and U. S. Brig. Niagara 150 East Front St. Erie
  • Drake Well Museum 202 Museum Lane Titusville
  • Old Economy Village 270 Sixteenth St. Ambridge
  • Fort Pitt Museum 101 Commonwealth Place
  • Point State Park Pittsburgh
  • Bushy Run Battlefield Route 993, Bushy Run Road
  • Jeannette Somerset Historical Center 10649 Somerset Pike Somerset
  • Pennsylvania Military Museum 602 Boalsburg Pike Boalsburg
  • Pennsylvania Lumber Museum 5660 U. S. Route 6 West Galeton
  • Joseph Priestley House 472 Priestley Ave. Northumberland
  • Pennsylvania State Archives and State Museum of Pennsylvania 300-350 North St. Harrisburg
  • Cornwall Iron Furnace 94 Rexmont Road Cornwall
  • Conrad Weiser Homestead 28 Weiser Lane Womelsdorf
  • Ephrata Cloister 632 West Main St. Ephrata
  • Landis Valley Museum 2451 Kissel Hill Road Lancaster
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania 300 Gap Road Strasburg
  • Daniel Boone Homestead 400 Daniel Boone Road Birdsboro
  • Anthracite Heritage Museum RD1 Bald Mountain Road Scranton
  • Eckley Miners' Village 2 Eckley Main St. Weatherly Scranton
  • Iron Furnaces 159 Cedar Ave. Scranton
  • Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site 1491 Baltimore Pike Chadds Ford
  • Hope Lodge 553 S. Bethlehem Pike Fort Washington
  • Graeme Park 859 County Line Road Horsham
  • Washington Crossing Historic Park 1112 River Hill Road Washington Crossing
  • Pennsbury Manor 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road Morrisville

This closure warning appears a political move to force agendas on both sides of the legislative aisle, with historians and genealogists caught in the middle. Any government that denies the responsibility to both preserve historical documents and provide access for review dishonors its citizens. Destroying one’s cultural heritage is akin to despotism.

Voters should censure any government that chooses to play with this sacred trust. Denied the ability to continually study and review extant historical documents, we then are doomed, as George Santayana wrote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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