Last week, GTMS President, Jeanne Defliese and Board members, Howard Pyle and Peggy Harlow attended a public hearing at Alexandria City Hall regarding the proposed FY11 budget cuts for Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and most other city departments and services.
The proposed FY11 budget for GTM would significantly reduce the Museum's budget and the ability for museum visitors to tour the Museum. The current proposal would greatly reduce the hours that the Museum could be open and even recommends closing the Museum entirely during the months of January and February. Ms. Defliese asked the members of City Council to reconsider closing the Museum especially during the month of February because of the citywide celebration of George Washington's Birthday, a three-day weekend that attracts many visitors to Alexandria and to the Museum.
These suggested museum closures would only affect public tours allowing the Museum to remain open for special events and private functions. However, Ms. Defliese noted that closing the Museum to public tours would only decrease revenue while saving little or nothing in expenditures. She pointed out that the Museum had more than 25,000 paying visitors last year, and that was in a year that the Museum was often closed for more than two weeks at a time because of painting the interior of the Museum, repairs to the Assembly Room ceiling, and replacement of the Ballroom floor. Ms. Defliese also noted that she often works at the Museum and on many occasions has observed visitors waiting to take tours before the Museum opens or when an earlier tour is already in progress. It would be a shame to lose all those revenue opportunities. The Society does not see how closing the Museum for the months of January and February will serve the best interests of the Museum or the City.
Ms. Defliese asked City Council to consider working with the Museum’s Director and Staff to develop a solution that would save money and yet allow the Museum to remain open to public tours.
What can you do about proposed budget cuts for GTM? Speak up online!! Comments about the budget can be made on the City's website. To post a comment, go to http://apps.alexandriava.gov/WebComments/CommentBoardSummary.aspx?id=15. You will need to log in through a Google, Yahoo, or myalex account. Alternatively, email the City Manager and City Council directly concerning the budget. http://www3.alexandriava.gov/contactus/mailto.php?id=562 will take you to an email form with the subject of "Budget": The Operating Budget is scheduled for to be voted on by the Alexandria City Council on May 3, 2010. Please speak up now and let City Council know how much we care about Gadsby’s Tavern Museum!!
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