Originally created 09/19/06

Museum funding must be left alone



Proposed budget cuts to the Augusta Museum of History are not appropriate in a community that is concerned about preserving its history and culture.

The city administrator has recommended that the city appropriate zero funds to the Augusta Museum of History and the Ezekiel Harris House for fiscal year 2007. This is disgraceful, and I hope it is unacceptable to the CSRA.

In the past two years, the Augusta museum has received one-third of its budget from the Augusta government. Without this level of funding, the museum cannot continue to operate.

The Augusta museum is a cultural gem, and a necessary educational tool for schools. In addition to being a repository and showcase of area history, it is a service to the community. It has brought numerous outstanding traveling exhibits to Augusta - Come Fly with Lindbergh, which was in only seven U.S. museums; and The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie, the story of a slave ship, which was seen by 12,500 patrons, including most Augusta students.

The American Association of Museums accredits only about 700 museums of the over 13,000 in the United States, and the Augusta Museum of History is one of them. Only 17 Georgia museums have this accreditation. Accreditation recognizes museums' commitment to excellence, accountability, high professional standards and continued institutional improvement. In 2001, the museum received the Governor's Award in the Humanities, one of only three humanities organizations to be so recognized.

The museum has a contract with the Augusta government to maintain and interpret the Ezekiel Harris. This 1797 house museum's interpretation and hours of operation have greatly improved since the Augusta museum began handling this historic treasure.

How can the Augusta Museum of History perform the outstanding job they have been doing without that 30 percent of the budget supplied by the Augusta government? Let the powers that be know what the voters want!

Lyle M. Glascock, Evans