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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Circus World board hammers Historical Society
from: wiscnews.com
By Ben Bromley, News Republic
April 19, 2013
As state legislators begin budget deliberations next week that could chart a new course for Circus World Museum, the historic site’s leaders say they continue to fend off a misinformation campaign waged by the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Members of the Circus World Museum Foundation’s executive committee reported in a meeting Thursday that the Historical Society is misleading legislators about the museum’s finances. They surmised the Historical Society covets the $3.7 million it would receive over the next two years if it absorbs Circus World, as Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposes.
“It’s fascinating what the Legislature is being told,” Circus World executive director Steve Freese told the committee.
Historical Society executive director Ellsworth Brown, who wasn’t available for comment Friday, has said the state’s goal in the process is to ensure the museum’s long-term viability. He has expressed concern the foundation uses creative accounting methods to make its financial picture appear rosier than it truly is.
In February, the governor unveiled a budget plan that would roll Circus World into the Historical Society. As part of this change, the state would earmark $1.2 million in tax money over the next two years for Circus World. Plus, the Historical Society would take in Circus World’s profits.
“That’s a way for them to drag that money back into Madison,” said Jonathan Lipp, chairman of the foundation board.
Since Circus World’s inception in the 1950s, museum operations have been run by the foundation, a private nonprofit. But the site’s grounds, buildings and collections are owned by the state.
Historical Society leaders say taking over Circus World would enable them to stabilize the museum, given that foundation leaders reported in December that they might not might not be able to keep operations in the black after this performance season.
read more:
http://www.wiscnews.com/baraboonewsrepublic/news/local/article_d892f794-a952-11e2-aa7d-0019bb2963f4.html

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