Due to a 25 percent withholding in its fiscal year 2010 state appropriation, the State Historical Society of Missouri is decreasing its hours open to the public to Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m., effective immediately. The Society will no longer be open for research on Fridays or Saturdays. The withholding ($364,010), caused by the continued downturn in Missouri state revenues, was made public last Wednesday, October 28. The State Historical Society’s response to the withholding, determined by its board of trustees, was announced at the annual membership meeting in Columbia on Saturday, October 31.
To continue operations and implement the withholding, the Society’s twenty-two staff members have voluntarily taken a 20 percent pay reduction, and three staff positions have been eliminated. These positions included one unfilled position left temporarily vacant due to a 10 percent reduction in the Society’s FY2010 budget on July 1, 2009, one retirement, and one layoff.
The Society will seek private funds to continue its newspaper microfilming program and to print the award-winning Missouri Historical Review. The microfilming program annually preserves over 250 Missouri newspaper titles and adds these papers to the fine collection available for research at the State Historical Society. Missouri newspaper publishers, libraries, and local historical and genealogical societies also rely on purchasing these microfilmed papers for in-house use and to add to their research collections. The Missouri Historical Review is sent quarterly to over 4,800 members of the State Historical Society in Missouri and throughout the United States. Scholars, students, and the public use the journal for the study of the state’s history.
The popular Missouri History Speakers’ Bureau, which furnishes speakers to local civic, historical, and genealogical groups, will be discontinued. The State Historical Society has sponsored 34 Speakers’ Bureau presentations around the state since the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1. A MoHiP (Missouri History in Performance) Theatre production on the life and times of John William “Blind” Boone already scheduled for March 19, 2010, in Columbia will be held. Future performances by MoHiP, the State Historical Society’s reader’s theatre offering original productions based on historical characters and events, will not be scheduled.
“The reduced hours will have a significant impact on genealogists, students, and scholars who make use of the State Historical Society’s collections,” said Gary R. Kremer, the executive director. “And local organizations that have used scholars well-versed on a variety of historical topics will lose access to a much-needed source for speakers.”
The 25 percent withholding reduces the Society’s state funding to 65 percent of the FY2009 appropriation.