As we reported here a few weeks ago, due to the budget cuts by the State Legislature, the Governor and the Department of Cultural Affairs in Carson City, beginning today, all state sponsored museums will have curtailed hours of operation.
The staffs of these museums were the only state employees to be hit with a 20% pay cut. They were not furloughed from their jobs as other state employees were. They are now part-time workers, working only 32 hours a week.
There is no sunset clause on this legislation so these changes could stay in affect for the next two years until the Legislature meets again.
What does this mean for those of us who think that museums are a vital cultural link to our communities?
Well, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas used to be open seven days a week, excluding Thanksgiving Day and Christmas day from 9:00 am - 5:00 am. The staff there worked forty hours a week, five days a week and were there Monday through Friday to help patrons with research and to answer questions.
At least four times a year, there were educational programs that took place in the evenings.
That all ended with the cutbacks.
Beginning today, the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas will only be open Wednesdays-Saturdays, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. There will be no evening educational or cultural programming.
These changes affect schools and their bus tours for children, our ability to do educational and cultural programming with the Museum and anyone who is doing research on the history of Nevada, Southern Nevada, Clark County and/or Las Vegas.
It is our understanding that the board members of the Department of Cultural Affairs in Carson City did not take any pay cuts or have their hours curtailed. They passed that misery on to the staffs of the state sponsored museums and those of us who patronize museums in Nevada.