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HELENA — The Original Governor's Mansion will be open two days a week this summer, despite an announcement earlier this spring by the Montana Historical Society that it couldn't afford to open the facility at all.

The society said last month that guided tours of the Original Governor's Mansion and Capitol would be eliminated because of budget cuts made during the recent legislative session.

But the mansion will now be open from noon until 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 27 to Aug. 30.

"(We) believe it is important for people to be able to enjoy the mansion, which is so much a part of our history," board member Crystal Shors said. "But we understand that it has to be balanced with the society's other priorities."

Opening the mansion, providing security and leading guided tours of it costs about $1,000 a day, the society said. The board of the Original Governor's Mansion agreed to make up the difference between fees the mansion takes in and the cost of running the place.

The board will use money it raised from projects like the annual Holiday Home Tour and its Good Old Summertime event. Society Museum Services Director Susan Near said the society is grateful to the Original Governor's Mansion board for keeping the mansion open at least through the summer months.

Self-guided tours of the Capitol are available daily during the summer. Tour brochures are free at the Capitol or the society.

The historical society is offering large group tours of both the mansion and the Capitol by appointment and for a fee. Call Deb Mitchell at 444-4789.

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