Release Date: March 20, 2013
Contacts: Jane Cowley, e-mail us, 215-597-0060
Philadelphia - Effective March 1, 2013, Independence National Historical Park was required by "sequestration" (a series of automatic, across-the-board permanent spending cuts) to reduce its annual budget by five percent. The park must absorb that cut in the remaining seven months of this fiscal year that ends September 30. The federal law imposing sequestration requires that each park take this cut.
For Independence National Historical Park (which also manages the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site and the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial), this amounts to a $1.21 million reduction from a budget of $24.3 million. The park cut travel, training and supply purchases and reduced the number of permanent employee positions to meet the required spending reduction.
While we take the actions necessary to comply with sequestration, the park remains open, welcoming visitors and continuing to protect the resources entrusted to our care.
Following are the major actions being taken to implement the cut:
Staffing (Note: 89% percent of the park's budget pays for salaries and fixed costs like utilities)
· 16 permanent positions that are currently vacant will remain unfilled.
· None of the staffing reductions require extending previously planned furloughs.
Park Operations: Reduced staffing will reduce park operations in the following ways (number of visitors affected is based on visitation to these sites in 2012):
· Visitor Services:
o Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell will be closed to visitors after 5pm, eliminating evening hours previously offered during the summer months. This reduction of hours will affect 43,600 visitors who will not get to see the interior of Independence Hall.
o The Liberty Bell Center will be closed to visitors after 5pm, eliminating evening hours previously offered during the summer months. This reduction of hours will affect 112,000 visitors.
o The following five buildings will be closed to visitors in May 2013 and will remain closed: the Bishop White House, Todd House, New Hall Military Museum, Declaration House, Fragments of Franklin Court (318 Market Street). This will affect over 63,000 visitors.
o The Germantown White House (including the Deshler Morris House and the Bringhurst House) has not opened as planned in March 2013 and will remain closed to visitors. This will affect over 1300 visitors.
o The Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site will be open 3 days per week instead of 5. This will affect 3400 visitors.
o The Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial will be open 2 days per week instead of 5.
o All National Park Ranger-led walking tours and programs will be cancelled. This will affect 2200 visitors.
· Maintenance Activities: The park maintains 51 historic and non-historic structures, 54-acres of landscaped grounds and nearly 13.2 miles of lighted brick pathways and sidewalks.
o As a result of reduced staffing levels, maintenance and repair activities will be delayed and deferred maintenance will be further delayed.
· Resource Preservation: The park has 8,542 museum objects currently on display, plus an additional 576,842 in museum storage. As a result of staffing levels, some of the items in our collection will not be maintained to NPS museum standards.
o Museum object and exhibit cleaning schedules for items on display and in storage will be reduced, which will lead to visible deterioration within 2 to 4 years.
· Independence Visitor Center: The park will reduce NPS contributions to the Independence Visitor Center Corporation by 5%.
A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall. For more information visit the park's website, http://www.nps.gov/indeor follow us at twitter.com/independencenhp.