Abilene, Texas - Frontier Texas! completed a two million dollar facelift to their Blood and Treasure exhibit.
Is it enough to increase traffic?
After being closed since January, the museum re-opened March 2. This, after attendance took a sharp decline of almost 50 percent. Executive Director Jeff Salmon said the decrease was not a surprise.
"Over time with static exhibits you're going to lose some of your local audience, a good percentage," said Salmon.
Where did the funds come from to renovate?
Salmon said, "It was raised from private funds. It was raised from families, businesses and local foundations. It was all private sources so we could present this to the community."
Salmon said if you've already been to Frontier Texas! you should definitely visit again. He compares the renovation to part two of a movie.
"The sequel is a continuation of the story," said Salmon. "It's learning more about the characters that you met before. It's similar to that."
The museum has plans for a robust marketing push to help attract visitors. Their largest group is out-of-towners.
One visitor from Lubbock, Stephanie Marshall said, "I just learned a lot about Texas history. I learned some in seventh grade and that was a long time ago. It was good to refresh my memory."
Although attendance is important Salmon said it's not the only priority.
"We wouldn't have just redone this just for more numbers," said Salmon. "We're here to educate people, to make people proud of their community."
Frontier Texas hopes to see a jump in attendance of 20,000 people this year as a result of the renovation.
At it's highest attendance reached 53,966 visitors for the year 2004 to 2005 when the museum first opened. Fast forward to 2012-2013, they estimate about 27,873 have visited for 2012-2013. Salmon said these numbers do not include the Farmer's Market or rental attendance.
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