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Museums suffer from budget cuts

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona History Museum
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona History Museum

Some effects of budget cuts to the university, like reduced staff or course offerings, are hard to see. Others, however, are on display.

Not only have UA museums had to cut staff, cut hours and charge entrance fees because of recent budget cuts, but now they must also be more selective in choosing what to put on exhibit, a museum official said.

Charles Guerin, the director of the UA Museum of Art, said budget cuts are an ongoing issue for the museum, but have recently become more significant, forcing the museum to make critical changes.

Along with cutting staff and charging a new $5 entrance fee for community members, the museum is now cutting down the amount of work on display, Guerin said.

“”We’ve had to approach the exhibition programming that we do in a very different way, forcing us to focus primarily on things that are still of high quality but are much more reasonable for us,”” Guerin said.

The Museum of Art has cut the number of exhibitions it shows by 20 percent, Guerin said.

Guerin said budget cuts have also affected the range of work that the museum is able to display.

“”We’re not bringing in artists from other countries, so we’re limiting the scope of what we’re able to bring in, but we feel that the quality is as high as it’s always been,”” he said.

Working on a low budget isn’t new for the smaller museums on campus, such as the History of Pharmacy Museum, located in the College of Pharmacy building.

“”The good news and bad news is that we have never had any funding,”” said Richard Wiedhopf, curator for the museum.

Wiedhopf, also the assistant dean for finance and administration for the College of Pharmacy, explained that because the pharmacy museum does not receive any funding from the university, it has not had to deal with the university’s budget cuts. Still, the museum suffers financially.

“”We are budget-cut-free, but have substantial material to display for which we need sizable amounts of money,”” he said.

The museum operates on funds from a donor to the museum, but mostly on Wiedhopf’s and pharmacy students’ volunteered time, he said.

Wiedhopf said he does not anticipate receiving funds from the university, but hopes for more funding in order to put more of the museum’s collection on display.

“”We also have thousands of items that are not on display that are in storage,”” he said. “”It will just have to wait until times are better.””

Guerin said that though the museum has had to make changes to its exhibitions, they have tried to think about student needs when cutting the budget.

“”We’ve tried very much for (students) not to be affected,”” he said. “”We feel that the museum is here primarily for their enlightenment and their educational efforts, so we have done our best to make certain that the budget cuts we have encountered do not affect the students’ immediate experience when they come to the museum.””

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