ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Historical Society announced plans to accommodate a $1.6 million cut in state government funding for annual operations of its programs. That includes its 26 historic sites and museums, library, collections, state archives, educational programs, historic preservation and statewide outreach.

“We are doing everything we possibly can to keep the impact on our visitors and patrons as slight as possible,” said Steve Elliott, director and CEO.

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Beginning Dec. 1, 2011, admission fees for the general public will increase by $1 at most historic sites and museums. The last admission increase was in 2008.

In addition, the Minnesota State Capitol will begin encouraging voluntary donations for its free public tours.

Minnesota Historical Society CEO Steve Elliott On Cuts

The change will mean that museums like the Minnesota History Center, Historic Fort Snelling and Mill City Museum will charge $11 for adults and $9 for students and seniors.

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“We’re going to do our darndest so that we can maintain the service levels to the people of Minnesota,” Elliott said.

In total, through attrition, layoffs and a voluntary separation program, the society eliminated about 19 full-time staff positions due to the state budget cut.

Over the years, they’ve seen a number of budget cuts.

“The number of employees supported by state funding has shrunk by half,” Elliot said

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He said in the coming year, they will assess all that they do and how to chart a course for years to come. Elliot also said it is important to continue the multi-faceted work of history that has distinguished Minnesota’s Historical Society for more than 160 years.