Piccola Comments on Proposed Admission Fees to State Museum, Calling It a ‘Disincentive’ to Pennsylvania’s History

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Recognizing that the Commonwealth is faced by difficult economic times, yet continuing to balance the needs of Pennsylvania’s residents, communities, and visitors, Senate Majority Whip Jeff Piccola (R-15) expressed today his opposition and concerns to admission fees being established to The State Museum located in the heart of Dauphin County.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has announced its plans to institute the museum’s first admission fees. Effective September 6, The State Museum will charge $3 for adults and $2 for children and senior citizens.

In an August 1st letter to the Chairman of the Commission, Piccola outlined his concerns for the decision. “Even though the proposed fees are just a few dollars, I believe the idea of a fee should be rejected on principle alone. Any fee will be a disincentive to view the Commonwealth’s rich history and will result in fewer visitors.”

Piccola also noted in his correspondence the decision’s impact on local families in the community. “There are many low and middle-income families in the City of Harrisburg that use the museum, especially in the summer, as an educational experience. Some of these families will not be able to continue this experience if these fees are implemented. This is just one example of the impact fees will have on visitors.”

Understanding that a decrease in state funding is the primary reason for the fee consideration by the Commission, Piccola explained his concerns for cuts to the state’s museums in the recently enacted budget. “The cuts to our museums were proposed by Governor Rendell and were actually higher than what was contained in the final budget. That’s why I voted against the budget – because the state’s fiscal priorities were out of step this year and represented another example of misplaced priorities under this Administration,” he added.

“The items on display in The State Museum are considered public property and the museum has a long history of allowing the public to view these items at no cost. This will be sure to have an impact on tourism as our teachers and school groups, not to mention Pennsylvania residents, bear the burden of this increase,” Piccola said.

“This reduction in state funding is very difficult for The State Museum and requires tough choices, but I hope that the Commission will reconsider its decision to charge admission fees for the sake of Pennsylvania residents and its tourism industry,” said Piccola.

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