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Independence Visitor Center cuts days due to government shutdown

The center at 6th and Market Streets is usually open every day of the year, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A maintenance worker locks the doors of the Independence Visitor Center at 5 p.m. last Wednesday.
A maintenance worker locks the doors of the Independence Visitor Center at 5 p.m. last Wednesday.Read moreTOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

The Independence Visitor Center is scaling back its days of operation while Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell remain closed because of the partial government shutdown.

Starting Wednesday, the center at Sixth and Market Streets will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and closed Sunday and Monday.

Its usual hours were 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. It had scaled back its hours to 9 to 5 earlier during the shutdown.

The center is a federal building on federal land operated by the nonprofit Independence Visitor Center Corp. in cooperation with the National Park Service, which contributes $850,000 to its operations. The Park Service is among the agencies closed by the partial shutdown.

The nonprofit has been covering the cost of keeping the building open daily since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

“We believe it is more important than ever that the Visitor Center remains open to provide visitors with information and encourage visitation to other attractions that remain open,” James J. Cuorato, the corporation’s president and CEO, said in a statement. "However, with the shutdown approaching one month, the IVCC cannot continue to support daily operations and maintain financial stability.”

Cuorato said the center had already instituted other cost-saving measures, including canceling special programming, reducing hours for part-time staff, and asking full-time employees to work without pay one day per week.

The center was closed Tuesday after having been open Monday for Martin Luther King Day, but will be open Tuesdays going forward.

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