UPDATE: Historical Society back to normal hours, more donations needed

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 | 10:52 a.m. CST; updated 10:40 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

COLUMBIA — Thanks to more than $90,000 in private donations from members nationwide, the State Historical Society of Missouri will again be able to open its doors on Fridays and Saturdays starting this week.

Gov. Jay Nixon cut 25 percent of the society’s allotment last October because of declining state revenues. The cut prompted the society's decision to close to the public for research on Fridays and Saturdays.

The money raised so far is less than one-third of the amount necessary to restore the society to its operating status before the funding cut, Executive Director Gary Kremer said. But he said he was grateful for the outpouring of support.

“It doesn’t fill the positions we’ve lost, but it does get us back to being open our normal hours,” he said.

After the fiscal cut, the society issued a "$75 Challenge" to its members, Kremer said. If each of the society’s members, numbering 4,867 at the time of the funding cut, were to donate $75, the society could raise $365,025 — more than enough to replace the $346,010 lost in October.

Kremer said the $90,000  came from members all over the country. Some members wrote in to donate $10 because it’s all they could afford.

“We’re very encouraged,” Kremer said.

Still, not all society programs have been restored, and more donations will be needed if the society is to remain open six days a week.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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