Tacoma Mayor's resolution aims to keep Washington State History Museum open

Tacoma City Council is prepared to vote Tuesday on a resolution that would show strong support for keeping downtown Tacoma’s Washington State History Museum open. On Dec. 15, Gov. Chris Gregoire unveiled a proposed biennium budget that would save $5.2 million by closing the history museums in Tacoma and Spokane, eliminating state-funded education programs and outreach activities through state historical societies, and providing “skeleton staffing” to oversee facilities and collections (see “Is History Museum History? Governor’s budget proposal would close state museum in Tacoma,” TDI 12/15/10, http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1893567&more=0 ). The move is part of a larger effort to close a $4.6 billion shortfall.

According to a request for the resolution prepared by Mayor Marilyn Strickland, the museum, which opened in 1996, draws 105,000 people annually and is the anchor of Tacoma’s museum district. “[The Washington State History Museum] enhances Tacoma’s ability to attract conventions and supports local retailers who have invested in small businesses,” wrote Mayor Strickland in the request. “It contributes to the economic, cultural, and educational vitality of Tacoma.” The resolution itself, No. 38173, states the museum “is a massive archive of Washington State history, making it like no other history museum in the Pacific Northwest; is a showcase of our collective heritage, plays a key role in educating the City’s youth with extraordinary exhibits, and is a key link in the latest revitalization of downtown Tacoma; maintains a permanent exhibit of Pacific Northwest history; and supports local retailers who have invested in small businesses, making it an immense contributor to the economic, cultural, and educational vitality of Tacoma.”

Councilmembers are scheduled to vote on the resolution during their meeting Tues., Jan. 4 at 5 p.m. in the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St. The meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and on http://www.tvtacoma.com . For a copy of the agenda and meeting materials, visit http://cms.cityoftacoma.org/cityclerk/Files/CityCouncil/Agendas/2011-FullAgendas/Full20110104.pdf .