Friends of the Zeiss Statement Before Board of Directors,
Electronic Mail: < email@example.com >
Internet Web Site: < http://www.friendsofthezeiss.org >
Good evening, I am Glenn A.
Last month, Children’s Museum Executive Director Jane Werner waved a business plan before you and promised that Museum finances would be “in excess” with no deficits, once the expanded Museum opens. This business plan based this assumption on rosy projections of attendance, once the expanded museum opens.
According to this business plan, attendance in the first year of the expanded Children’s Museum will leap from 95,000 to 150,000! The following year, attendance is expected to jump, again, to 170,000! By the end of the business plan, in 2007, the attendance is supposed to level-off at 160,000! To put this in perspective, in the 1980s, the Buhl Planetarium building had an annual attendance of about 250,000, in a building half the size of the proposed Children’s Museum after expansion!
Let’s look at the record. In Fiscal Year 2001, the Children’s Museum claimed an attendance of 110,000. The following year, attendance dropped to 92,488. Last year, attendance bounced-back somewhat to 104,672.
The problem is that this plan
assumes the old adage, “build it and they will come.” Just because the
Children’s Museum increases capacity by four times, the plan assumes that there
will, automatically, be a huge increase in attendance. This did not happen with
the 1991 opening of The Carnegie Science Center or the 1996 opening of the
If economic development
leaders in the community succeed in increasing foreign immigration into the
area, and to succeed there will need to be good jobs for these immigrants, then
ten to fifteen years from now there may be more children to visit a Children’s
Museum. However, right now, with
The Children’s Museum business plan is faulty, due to the very optimistic attendance and revenue projections included. And, considering that the Children’s Museum paid a consultant to provide a business plan for a desired expansion project, is it any surprise that the completed business plan told Children’s Museum officials exactly what they wanted to hear?
If the Children’s Museum expansion project must go forward, then additional revenue sources must be found for operating the expanded building. To maximize the revenue potential of the Buhl Planetarium building, and attendance to the expanded Children’s Museum, we ask that this Board insist that the historic Zeiss II Planetarium Projector and 10-inch Siderostat-type Refractor Telescope be returned to the Buhl Planetarium building for historical presentations in the expanded Museum.