Museum Of Arts And Sciences Makes Financial Strides

11:15 AM, Oct 4, 2012   |    comments
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The Museum of Arts and Sciences can boast several markers of success this year. For instance, it's on track to at least break even for the first time since 2007.

Director Susan Welsh says they offer a mix of fun, art, and education, and people are pulling out their checkbooks in support.

"I think there's been renewed energy this year surrounding the Museum of Arts and Sciences because of the capital campaign," she said.

The capital campaign is a fundraising effort with a goal of $1.85 million for improvements. Since 2010 they've raised almost $1.5 million, and $1.2 million of that bought a pretty cool planetarium.

"Our planetarium now is one of the finest in the United States," said Welch. "It's the third largest dome in the state of Georgia."

Since the planetarium opened in March, there've been 70 percent more visitors, and a 33 percent boost in new or renewed members.

The planetarium fits in with the museum's mission to bolster science, technology and math education.

Of the 65,000 visitors each year, Welsh says 15,000 are students on field trips from all around the state. Docents tailor their visits to their grade and what they're learning in class.

"We're operating every day and offering these hands-on immersive experiences that will help the students perform better in areas of math and science," said Welsh.

She says donors and supporters recognize the Museum of Arts and Sciences fills a gap in Central Georgia, and in Bibb County, where test scores show students struggle with Math and Science. But the fine art collection also offers something for grown-ups.

"The Dixie Stewart collection on display is a great example," she said.

Over the years, due to budget constraints, Bibb County has cut its contribution to the museum by half. Welsh says they still appreciate the $250,000, but their ultimate goal is to be fiscally self-sufficient. She says they can get there with quality exhibits, entertaining events and facility rentals.

"Throughout November and December, our largest gallery will be fully decorated with stunning professionally decorated christmas trees," she said. "So it's a wonderful opportunity to host a Christmas party here, and that's a wonderful way to help the museum."

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