(August 4, 2022 — Reading, PA) The Reading School District and the Foundation for the Reading Public Museum are pleased to announce progress on securing the future of The Museum by forging a collaborative relationship for the benefit of students and the entire community. Reading School District students will continue to enjoy free access to The Museum.
In accordance with the directive of Judge Fudeman, Reading School District Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Murray and Reading Museum Foundation Board Member Dr. Anna Weitz have met five times over the last four months to form a relationship characterized by mutual trust that has covered issues essential to The Museum and the District.
Ensuring Safety of the Collection
The District administration and the Foundation agree to a shared commitment ensuring the safety and integrity of The Museum Collection. Both welcome the June 16, 2022, Pennsylvania Attorney General’s opinion that the collection is protected from creditors of the District or the Museum Corporation. The opinion states in part, “… the collection constitutes property committed to charitable purposes held for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of the public.” The Museum’s collection is a community treasure, one in which both organizations take great pride.
Assessing the Condition of the Museum Campus
The District and the Foundation also agree on the need for a comprehensive, independent engineering assessment of the entire Museum campus including its buildings and issues associated with the Arboretum’s hydrology. Both organizations agree that the County’s recently commissioned study by EnTech Engineering will be a helpful component toward fully understanding the capital issues associated with improving and maintaining the buildings and the Arboretum.
Assuring Access for Students
All Reading School District students will continue to be granted free Museum and Planetarium access and they may be accompanied by two adults at no cost. Students must show a District ID card, and the adults who accompany them must show proof they reside in zip codes within the District. The District is responsible for informing its students and families of the ID requirement. Through June, more than 1500 RSD students and accompanying adults have visited The Museum using their school issued ID.
Reading School District teachers and their schools schedule field trips to The Museum without charge. The Foundation provides admission to the Museum and a professional educator/guide for school field trips at no cost. For 2022 summer camps, District students were eligible at a discounted rate. The District and The Museum will discuss arrangements for camps in 2023 as well.
Working in Partnership
A system of regular communication between operational staff at both the District and The Museum is being established to work through details on future educational opportunities.
The District and the Foundation are optimistic about the future of the Reading Public Museum, and while the 1991 Agreements for its operation provide a solid foundation for a mutually collaborative relationship, neither party expects The Museum to limit its vision nor its offerings to what they were in 1991. The shared hope is for the Reading Public Museum to continue to serve Reading School District students — for whom it was originally bequeathed — and the entire community for generations to come.
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