[Source: Jim Walsh, Arizona Republic] — Even as Arizona prepares for its centennial in 2012, the state’s history is becoming less and less accessible to the average citizen. Museums across Arizona are cutting hours, restricting programs, merging or closing altogether in the face of drastic budget problems. The State Archives, which had been open only two half-days a week, is trying to figure out how to go to a four-day schedule with a diminished staff.
And state parks, many with historical significance, can’t turn enough money at the gate to maintain aging and sometimes-dangerous facilities and stay open. The impact is significant: In a state where so many people are newcomers, the institutions that can help them connect to their new state’s history are harder to access. “The more people know about their place, the more likely they are to be good citizens,” said Dan Shilling, an expert in civic tourism and a former executive director of the Arizona Humanities Council. Museums play an important part in extending that knowledge, Shilling said. [Note: To read the full article, click here]