January 10, 2010 |
Pennsylvania has started down the slippery slope of collective amnesia. Closing historic sites, canceling new exhibitions, cutting grants for museums, and eliminating maintenance of buildings and gardens are all measures designed to eventually terminate the presence of some of the most significant landmarks in the country. By slashing the budget of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Rendell administration and the legislature have ensured that the commonwealth will lose its preeminent national position as a steward of America's heritage.
August 13, 2009 |
Like the Continental Army 232 years ago, the Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site has suffered a major setback. This time, it is Harrisburg that has been cast in the role of redcoat. With budget cuts looming, five employees will be laid off, and the site's museum, two farmhouses, and visitor center will be shut indefinitely when the park closes tomorrow, officials said yesterday. "The grass will be available for picnics, but there will be no history available," Linda Kaat, president of Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates, said yesterday.
July 31, 2009 |
With the economy biting into the budget for getaways, late-summer vacationers could find themselves scaling back grand plans in favor of less exotic, more modestly priced destinations. A Philadelphia "staycation" offers a chance to rediscover the affordable and accessible charms of this city. "Philadelphia is an amazing value destination because we not only have history, we have culture, dining, and nightlife," said Caroline Bean, who works to promote the city for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.
June 18, 2009 |
The skeletal staff is looking for other work. The part-time site administrator is retiring. At Brandywine Battlefield - as at several other state-owned historical sites in Pennsylvania - "we are going from the frying pan into fire, from barely affording toilet paper to having none," said Linda Kaat, president of the battlefield's volunteer friends group. But with budget cuts and layoffs looming, state officials are banking on volunteer corps such as Kaat's to keep places like Brandywine open.
June 3, 2009
FURTHERMORE ... Tell Gov. Rendell to save historic sites in Penna. If Gov. Rendell had to write a school essay this fall about how he spent his summer vacation, it might have a long but accurate title: "How I destroyed Pennsylvania historic sites that teach us who we are as Americans and that bring tourists to our commonwealth. " It's up to parents, educators, veterans, and everyone who cares about why we fought the American Revolution to stop the governor from closing these five sites as part of his budget cuts.
May 14, 2009 |
About six in 10 likely voters in New Jersey would support a $600 million state bond measure to support the preservation of open space, farmland, and historic sites, according to a new poll. A diverse coalition of more than 100 groups that favor the ballot question, including the two that commissioned the poll, hailed the results, announced yesterday. In the poll, 59 percent of the respondents said they would support a bond measure based on draft-ballot language, and 80 percent said they would like their state legislator to put the measure on the ballot.
March 19, 2009 |
Washington Crossing Historic Park got a reprieve yesterday when state officials postponed a vote on closing its crumbling visitor center. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission unanimously voted to put off the decision on the Bucks County site until its June 17 meeting in Harrisburg. The news was darker for the Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site near Chadds Ford. The commission yesterday identified it as one of six state historic sites where staff and programs will be slashed or eliminated due to budget cuts.
February 27, 2009
Save Pa. museums Just when I was beginning to think that Gov. Rendell wanted all the state's history museums to go away ("Budget cuts endanger historical sites in Pa.," Sunday), I read with interest his plans to commit millions of dollars to the American Revolution Center - a museum not yet built, but already marked by battles more recent than the revolution ("Millions more pledged for Valley Forge museum," Tuesday). If I understand correctly, Rendell has eliminated some of the few precious operating dollars from hundreds of historic sites and small history museums that manage priceless collections and structures, employ thousands of people, maintain acres of beautiful grounds, and provide educational experiences for thousands of Pennsylvania school children, to say nothing of the tourist dollars.
February 24, 2009 |
Denis Michael McDowell Sr., 62, of Mount Airy, the director of technical services for the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office who helped crack cases as a a video-surveillance expert, died of brain cancer Thursday at home. "Denis was the go-to guy for radios, beepers, cell phones, cameras, computers - any kind of technical gadgets," District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham said. "He was so helpful to young lawyers who needed technical assistance in court as well as to investigators in the field.
February 22, 2009 |
The Chester County Historical Society has already cut all salaries by 20 percent and reduced its days of operation to four a week. Johnson House, a way station on the Underground Railroad and now a National Historic Landmark in the 6300 block of Germantown Avenue, is open only three days and has no executive director. Nearly two dozen state-run historic sites in Pennsylvania, including the Daniel Boone Homestead in Berks County, Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks, and Lancaster's Ephrata Cloister, face closure.