Harkins, Merski: More than $17,500 in grants awarded to fund historical society, children’s museum

ERIE, Dec. 2 – Grant funding of $17,563 will support the operations of the Erie County Historical Society and the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said that funding from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission includes $10,436 to the historical society and $7,127 to the museum.

“We all appreciate the unique place Erie is, but it’s the artifacts and documents – the physical pieces of our history – that give us the perspective and understanding that explains how we got here and how far we have come,” Harkins said. “By archiving and chronicling our past, the historical society keeps us in touch with our roots and with the things that make us proud to be Erie residents. This funding is going to help it continue operating so it can preserve that history for generations to come.”

Merski said, “In addition to supporting the Erie County Historical Society, the funding today is helping fund operations of the expERIEnce Children’s Museum, which provides incredible hands-on opportunities for learning. Kids are incredibly receptive to information they can process with all their senses, and the museum’s vivid events and displays offer experiences they will remember far longer than simple textbook lessons.

“Today’s funding comes at an important time for both the museum and historical society, as both have suffered losses due to COVID restrictions.”

The funding is part of a package of nearly $2 million in grants awarded to 155 museums and county historical societies statewide under the Cultural and Historical Support Grant Program. Administered by PHMC, the program’s goal is to strengthen the commonwealth’s museum community by supporting the operations of eligible museums and county historical societies that are not supported by other state agency funding programs.

An eligible museum must have an annual operating budget exceeding $100,000 (excluding capital and in-kind services) and at least one full-time professional staff person (or approved equivalent).

More information about the grants is available here.