Politicians and bureaucrats are generally happy to give cultural institutions the short end of the stick in times of economic distress, so right now historic sites and museums across the country are taking hits. Check out this news story describing the situation in states like Arizona and Illinois. In addition to providing a rather wide-ranging overview of the situation, it also touches on the subject of local economies’ dependence on historical tourism:
“For a lot of these smaller communities, these historic sites were huge income generators,” said Hostetter, staff representative for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 in Springfield, Ill. “That’s a huge blow to a lot of these economies.”
Vandalia (Ill.) Mayor Ricky Gottman estimates that closing the Vandalia Statehouse where Lincoln was a state representative will cost his community as much as $50,000 a year in sales and other taxes.
Call me simple-minded, but it sounds like this is just a means of compounding the problem.