OLYMPIA -- The Legislature may find a way to keep the Museum of Arts and Culture and the state museum in Tacoma open, despite Gov. Chris Gregoire's proposal to close them because of budget problems.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said today a coalition of Spokane and Tacoma legislators is working on a strategy to reduce state support over time, but provide a "bridge" of state money while the museums look for financial support elsewhere.
For the MAC, Brown said, a possible source of funding would be the region's tribes because the museum has an extensive collection of Native American artifacts.
The Washington State Historical Society operates the museum in Tacoma and the separate Eastern Washington State Historical Society operates the MAC. In 2008, Gregoire tried unsuccessfully to merge the two societies; the proposal wasn't introduced in the Senate.
Brown said Thursday she didn't see a merger as part of conditions for the Legislature keeping money in the budget.
The two societies serve different areas and seem to work better as separate entities, she said.