It seems the hidden effects of passing Amendment 9 keep appearing. Now, historians are worried about losing control of artifacts and museum collections because a new proposal threatens their ability to control them. They are trying to stop Gov. Jeb Bush’s proposal, a merger of the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of State, because it would change how the state manages its cultural and historic resources.
History is the link to the past, and it would be wise to preserve it. While the state’s budget must be cut, one thing that shouldn’t be sacrificed is the chronicling of the state’s culture.
Bush’s proposed merger would result in the new Department of State and Community, which would relocate, reorganize or cut other agencies, including the Bureau of Historic Preservation and the Department of Archives, according to a Tampa Tribune report on Monday. Bush also proposed that half of the state’s volumes be moved to a new library. Where the 500,000 volumes of the state’s libraries circulating collection would go has not yet been determined.
The merger may result in jobs being cut, and Robert Austin, president for the Florida Archeological Council, fears that archaeologists won’t be able to do their job correctly.
Both the Florida Historical Commission and the Florida Historical Society have meetings planned during the week for strategy and information sessions.
Bush may want to consider listening to the suggestions of those who work closest with the artifacts. They realize the need for a smaller budget. However, they also recognize the importance of preserving Florida’s history.
Instead of eliminating the programs and people who work closest with the artifacts, all the programs should be kept, and the budget should be reduced and redistributed among them. This way, the necessary budget adjustment will be made, and Florida’s rich history will be preserved for years to come.