Everybody who works at this museum is thrilled. They have a nice job with benefits. But financially, the nice museum which I have visited is a financial bust even though originally financed by a grant from the the State of Iowa for $50 million. The Chamber of Commerce supports the museum as do all chambers everywhere, support projects using taxpayer dollars. Since it received the large lump sum grant, it has received other taxpayer funded grants and at least $1 million dollars from the gambling boat next door. Despite drawing 301,000 visitors the first year it still failed to meet it's operating budget by $500,000. The second year, the museum drew 250,000 and the third year, 220,000. Since then, the museum will not release numbers to outsiders.
The Peoria Museum Committee gave the county a list called "Museum Benchmark Matrix" listing the attendance figures of 9 museums. Dubuque was listed but missing were attendance figures. Hmmmm. Only one museum listed figures more than Peoria and that was the Louisville Science Center at 315,000. Louisville has three times the MSA population of the Peoria area of which 83% of the visitors are expected to yearly visit the Peoria Museum.
I revisit the Dubuque Museum, I've blogged on it several times, because someone commented on the JS website that they had talked with museum officials who were pleased with their workplace.
Remember, they work for the museum. So, why do you suppose the are mum on attendance and their inability to meet operating costs without more private and taxpayer dollars?
It's a nice museum and well worth the visit. I paid $9.50 or $9.75. Peoria plans to charge less and still meet a yearly operating budget of $4.3 million.