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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 2, 2019 03:25 PM
From: Senator Patrick M. Browne and Sen. Jay Costa
To: All Senate members
Subject: Establishment of PA Museum Preservation Act
In the near future, Senator Costa and I will be re-introducing legislation, SB 775 of last session, to establish the Pennsylvania Museum Preservation Act.

Co-sponsors from last session were Senators Aument, Baker, Yudichak, Hughes, Killion and Farnese.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee issued a report on the economic impact of museums in Pennsylvania. Tourism is one of Pennsylvania's largest industries injecting approximately $33 billion annually into the Commonwealth's economy and museums play a large role in this sector. By one estimate, 13,000 staff persons are employed by Pennsylvania's museums and more than 25,000 Pennsylvania's businesses are involved in arts and culture related creative enterprises.

In the last few years funding has been reduced for both state-owned and nonstate-owned museums. As a result, the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee recommended the exploration of creative funding strategies for funding museums and cultural activities.

Therefore, we are proposing the establishment of the PA Museum Preservation Fund to provide a consistent source of funding to assist Pennsylvania museums that do not receive general operating support from other state sources. This is a first step in funding a program that is streamlined, uses a verified, accepted list of museums, allows for operating support and multi-year funding, and is distributed on performance-based, verifiable criteria to eligible museums aligned with national standards.

Funds would be distributed by the PHMC to qualified Pennsylvania museums that commit to the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) Pledge of Excellence.”

The following are the types of museums that would be eligible to apply: Botanic Gardens and Arboreta, Children’s Museums, History Museums, Historical Societies, Historic Houses/Sites, Military and Maritime Museums, Natural History Museums, Nature Centers, Planetariums, Science and Technology Centers and General Museums with two or more equally significant disciplines.

Also eligible are multipurpose organizations and individual museums within multipurpose government or tax-exempt organizations may apply for grants if they function as a discrete unit within the parent organization.

Museums that meet the AAM definition of museum and with operating budgets of more than $100,000 may apply for grants of up to 15% of their operating budget. AAM accredited museums will be eligible for an additional grant of up to 1% of their operating budget. These grants will not exceed $500,000 each.

We hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB718