Women’s Museum in Dallas to close

The Women's Museum, Fair Park, Dallas. Photo by Andreas Praefcke, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

The Women’s Museum, Fair Park, Dallas. Photo by Andreas Praefcke, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

DALLAS (AP) – The Women’s Museum at Fair Park in Dallas is set to close at the end of this month after a history of financial struggles.

The museum, which has been in operation for 11 years, has had 1.5 million visitors.

“This was not an easy decision to make,” Liz Minyard, president of the museum’s board, told The Dallas Morning News. “We didn’t take it lightly. But we have always had the mission of leadership and direction for girls and women and that’s what we will continue to do in the future.”

The nonprofit will continue offering programming for women and girls. Minyard said the details are still being worked out, but that could include summer camps and leadership workshops.

Museum spokeswoman Haley Curry said the museum has suffered a decrease in revenue during the economic downturn.

According to tax records, the museum reported a deficit in 2007 of nearly $600,000, and that shortfall doubled the next year. In 2009, the latest year for which records are available, the museum reported a $1.3 million deficit, after $2.6 million in expenses.

Salaries and upkeep of one of Fair Park’s oldest buildings were the museum’s largest expenses.

Curry said the museum’s collection, most of which is on loan, will be returned to its original owners. Board members hope to find a venue to house and display some historic memorabilia.

Some of the major items that will be returned include personal items from Eleanor Roosevelt, Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin and Mary Kay Ash, who founded the cosmetics company Mary Kay Inc.

The museum, located in an art deco building owned by the city of Dallas, opened in 2000 as a national women’s history museum. Several women, including the museum’s founder and first president, Cathy Bonner, came up with the idea for the museum in the mid-1990s.

Before its opening, the founders of the museum raised $30 million to transform the deteriorating building, said Craig Holcomb, executive director of Friends of Fair Park.

Holcomb said there probably will be several meetings with nonprofit groups that might be interested in taking over the building.


Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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