March 13, 2005

The Museum - The City vs. Everyone Else

The location of a new Sioux City Public Museum has been a hot(?) topic over the past few months and will quickly come to a head with presentations of prospective locations rollin out in the next few weeks.  Two sites are on the table...the lot next to the Art Center and the old JC Penneys building. 

In general the Council and City staff are pushing the Art Center location, presumably because they are intrigued by a new building, "synergies" with the Art Center (read elimination of positions down to one director, less maintenance, etc), and possibly future "better" use of the Penneys building for some large employer (or something).  

Pretty much everyone else under the sun outside of City Hall prefers the Penneys Building.  Thanks to a proposed donation of 1/2 of the space by the building owner, the pricetag of this option is roughly half of the Art Center site.  Behind the scenes there appears to be almost no support for the Art Center site. Representatives of the Museum Board and the AC Board both have expressed lack of interest in the AC site.  Since nobody with a vested interest appears to be stepping up to endorse the new building, and since someone will have to raise the $ for the project, the city should drop the AC location post haste (unless they want to toss in $4-5 million to make it feasible - which they don't) and embrace the Penney's location, giving the Museum some things it desperately needs like a big breath of fresh air, the ability to raise some form of endowment, and its own identity (since the museum entity would undoubtedly be absorbed over time by the AC in the other scenario). 

One thought in closing for the City and Museum Board - please spend a lot of time pondering and planning the content of the new museum and please DON'T just lob it off to some overpriced consultant to deal with.  The content is key and needs to be unique and Sioux City, we don't need the same science center crap everyone else has (a recent comment by someone closely involved suggesting a recreated stockyards exhibit with smell-o-rama and maybe animatronic cows getting slaughtered has great merit as it is our history - the smell of $).  Content is king.

And please don't try to raise private funds ($1 mil?) to reopen 4th Street as part of this project and campaign.  Let the City pay for that..


Anonymous Anonymous said...

gotta love the smell-o-rama stockyards...

9:23 PM  

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