Pennsylvania Museums Ready to Testify at PA Senate’s State Government Committee Hearing on The Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act (SB1070)
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on May 7, 2014, museum leaders and experts will testify before the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee in support of The Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act (SB1070) sponsored by Senator Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Senator Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) with seventeen supporting cosponsors in the Senate. This proposed legislation would restore and strengthen the operating grants program for museums across the state administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The PA Museum Preservation Act directly addresses recommendations made in a report on Museum Funding in PA published by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee in November 2012. The bill would formalize policy related to museums and historical activities, officially authorize the PHMC as the state’s instrument to lead the field, and establish a transparent and consistent process for its grant making. The Act ties future grant funding to qualitative markers recognized nationally. The national museum association, The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), has established definitions and standards accepted by the field that Pennsylvania can use to identify institutions that meet general requirements to be called a museum. The AAM also reviews and verifies that a museum has its guiding documents in place as part of its services, and The Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act would require eligible museums to have these for future funding. Additionally, this Act would reward fully AAM accredited museums with a slightly higher grant amount available. It would incentivize and reward institutions that perform well in their communities based on national standards.
Andrew Masich (The Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh), Dennis Wint (The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia), Thomas Ryan (Lancasterhistory.org, Lancaster), Charles Croce (The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Philadelphia), Rusty Baker (PA Museums, Harrisburg), Richard Burkert (The Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Johnstown), Jane Werner (The Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh), and Joseph Garrera (Lehigh County Historical Society, Allentown) will provide testimony.
Rusty Baker, Executive Director of PA Museums, the statewide museum association, said, “The Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act has great potential. The museum community has tried to hitch its wagon over the years to tourism, to education, and to community and economic development initiatives, and funding museums on their own merit recognizes their place in the bigger picture as a key component in multiple industries. Museums are not a wagon; museums are the tractor.”
For more information, copies of testimony, or interviews, please contact Rusty Baker, Executive Director, PA Museums at rusty.baker@pamuseums, (717) 503-5333.