Planned museum move is stonewalled

    The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia has been homeless since August, and it will continue to be into the indefinite future. A long-planned move into the historic First Bank building downtown has fallen through, so the three-thousand objects in the collection remain in storage.

    The Civil War Museum of Philadelphia has been homeless since August, and it will continue to be into the indefinite future. A long-planned move into the historic First Bank building downtown has fallen through, so the three-thousand objects in the collection remain in storage.
    Caption: The historic First Bank.
    Listen:
    [audio: 090421pcmuseum.mp3]

    The museum would have brought the largest Civil War collection in private hands right into downtown. Since 2003 the state had promised there was $15 million available to reestablish the museum in the First Bank building, but a state spokesperson now says there isn’t enough money to fund every project. Museum President Sharon Smith says not enough alternative funding is in place.

    Smith: All of the major funders in Philadelphia were well aware the centerpiece of the building fund was going to be the state money. So all the funders said, get the state money, then come back and talk to us about major grants.

    When the money didn’t come, the First Bank building pulled out of the deal. But Smith says she is not considering selling the collection. She has hired a real estate consultant to investigate other possible sites while she pursues other funding sources.

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