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The Philadelphia History Museum Might Be Closing For Good

Travelers Today       By    MJ De Castro

Updated: Jul 02, 2018 05:40 PM EDT

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Philadelphia History Museum
Home to the rich past of the city, the Philadelphia History Museum is set to close down after Temple University pulled out from its partnership. The museum cannot maintain its operation during public visiting hours, and its future is uncertain.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Philadelphia History Museum, mandated by the City Charter, will close down after its partner institution, Temple University, dropped out.

A must visit when in Philadelphia, the said museum has been having trouble to make ends meet for years now. City officials were expecting to form a partnership with Temple University which could possibly keep the museum afloat.

However, the university abruptly threw away partnership discussions, which has left the museum's future uncertain.

About The Museum

Known to engage the people of Philadelphia and other regional visitors, the Philadelphia History Museum is home to amazing collections that reflect the city's rich past and diverse culture. The museum was founded in 1938 and was opened to the public in 1941.

The museum is filled with artifacts including toys, furniture such as President George Washington's desk, sports equipment such as Mike Schmidt's batting helmet, portraits, and even a native Lenape tribe beaded wampum belt.

The museum also houses the basketball shoes spray-painted gold for the 2005 Mummers Parade up Broad Street, and the compass that was used during the first survey of Philadelphia over 300 years ago.

Additionally, it also has the taxidermy remains of a dog that earned two Purple Hearts during World War I after it served as the mascot of the "Philadelphia's Own" 315th Infantry, as well as the 1980 Phillies World Series championship commemorative program.

About The Partnership

Temple University initially expressed its desire to partner with the museum, which left the city officials with a sense of optimism. City managing director Michael DiBerardinis expressed his disappointment after learning about Temple's decision to back out.

According to museum officials, the end of the partnership, coupled with the decrease of the city's financial support for the coming year has left the museum, formerly known as the Atwater Kent Museum, incapable to maintain its operation during public visiting hours.

Museum executive director and chief executive Charles Croce said the city will provide a funding of $250,000 for the next fiscal year. The amount is $50,000 less than the previous annual subsidy.

However, officials of the museum added that non-public operations which include an intensive assessment of its collections will continue.

Dean of the Temple libraries Joe Lucia said in an email that after careful study, Temple has decided not go through with any organizational merger of any kind with PHM because of other institutional priorities. Nonetheless, it will still continue to collaborate in some activities. Additionally, the university wishes the important institution all the best as it continues with its restructuring plans.

According to DiBerardinis, although its options are limited, the city will try to find a way to maintain the museum and its collections and give the best access for its visitors in the future.

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