Berks Co. historical group grapples with budget shortfall

Written by Craig Layne, Morning Edition Host/Reporter | Jan 10, 2013 5:00 AM
Money dollars

(Reading) -- A midstate non-profit could cut services or lay off workers to make up for a substantial budget shortfall.

The Historical Society of Berks County has a roughly $150,000 deficit in its $730,000 annual spending plan.

Executive Director Sime Bertolet says the society's already cut its 13 employees down to nine.

He says the organization's value can be seen in the visitors, whom he says are drawn from all 50 states and many foreign countries.

"When they get here and they look at our museum and they see the wonderful assets we have that adds something to a community," Bertolet says. "For most of those people, that's the first impression they have of this community."

Bertolet is hoping an appeal to the community will result in more donations.

The 144-year-old historical society has an archive of 20,000 artifacts including a car built in Reading in 1902, a Conestoga Wagon, and various art pieces.

It's seen funding from government sources, like the state Historical and Museum Commission, dwindle since 2008.


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