Attendance dips, revenues rise at New Mexico state museums

New History Museum
** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, MAY 17 **This photo taken Sunday, May 10, 2009 shows a sculpture called Rio Grande Colcha that decorates an exterior wall of the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, N.M. The new $44 million museum _ a 3½ story, 96,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art space awash in light from its walls of windows _ opens May 24. The sculpture represents the Rio Grande river which runs through New Mexico. (AP Photo/Jeff Geissler)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – A decision to raise ticket prices and eliminate some free-entrance days at New Mexico’s world renowned state museums and historic sites has provided a boost in revenue to the state’s cash strapped culture agency since the start of July.

The changes also have been accompanied by a drop in ticketed attendance at a network of eight state museums and eight cultural sites that are an engine of the state tourism economy, where more than a million people flock each year learn about Billy the Kid and admire international folk art, oil paintings and space rockets.

Cultural Affairs Secretary Veronica Gonzales said the agency is on track to raise an additional $450,000 from ticket sales and special events this fiscal year – not enough to offset state spending cuts.

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