Gov. Wolf Awards $20 Million in COVID Relief to PA Museums

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced yesterday that $20 million in relief grants had been awarded to museums and cultural sites throughout the state to offset lost revenue from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding was made available through the COVID-19 Cultural and Museum Preservation Grant Program. The funds may be used by cultural organizations to offset revenue lost due to closure after the Governor issued a proclamation of disaster emergency on March 6, 2020. A wide range of cultural organizations were eligible for the grants including history museums, children’s museums, natural history museums, zoos, planetariums, and performing arts organizations.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved funding to 164 organizations in thirty-six counties of the state. Grants ranged from $500,000 to $25,000. The state based the size of the awards on a calculation that used the organization’s operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year. In Philadelphia, recipients included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Betsy Ross House, and FringeArts, among many others.

In a press release, Governor Wolf described the importance of Pennsylvania’s cultural organizations. “Pennsylvania’s museums and cultural organizations provide education, entertainment, and meaningful experiences to both residents and travelers alike, and the COVID-19 pandemic severely inhibited their ability to fulfill their cultural mission. This funding will be used to offset the impact the pandemic had on these organizations and will help them move forward in their recovery efforts as they begin to welcome visitors back in their doors,” the governor said.