Saratoga For the second year in a row, Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa will close for the month of January due to financial issues.
Brookside’s Board of Directors decided to close the museum again after it learned funding from both Saratoga County and the New York State Council of the Arts would be partially cut.
“Brookside operates on a shoestring budget,” said Brookside’s Executive Director Joy Houle in a statement. “To take a loss of 55 percent and 10 percent from two of our biggest funders calls for extreme measures.”
In early December, a proposed budget plan for Saratoga County called for a complete elimination of the funds usually provided to Brookside, home of the county’s historical society. Museum employees and members of the public were dismayed.
“The proposed cuts represent what it would take to run the museum’s utilities for a year,” said Jeanne Obermayer, president of the museum’s Board of Directors, at a public hearing on the budget on Dec.1. “It’s also comparable to a Native New York program, which serves a couple thousand kids each year.”
In the final version of the budget, $5,625 in funding was restored from the previously allotted $11,250. County Board Chairman and Town of Saratoga Supervisor Tom Wood said those organizations that had funding restored should not expect any money next year, due to the budget deficit the county will face.
Several days later, Brookside’s board of directors learned NYSCA would reduce the museum’s funding by 10 percent.
Obermayer said the board is thankful to the county supervisors for the restoration because it was not an easy decision to make.
Brookside’s board chose to close the museum in January because it’s the slowest month for visitors. It’s also the most expensive month to heat the facility. In previous years, no educational programs were held at the museum because of the low visitation numbers.