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The El Paso Exploreum closes its doors

The El Paso Exploreum is closing its doors for good at the end of business today.

Officials at the the El Paso Exploreum say closing the museum was a difficult decision but board members say they can no longer cover all the annual operating costs.

The Exploreum has been in operation for about two years. During it’s two-year run museum officials told ABC-7 in October each year the museum would bring in 40,000 visitors
–so why would they close?

“We’re at the beginning stages of a new children’s museum as far as progress on a timeline and so we are looking at 10 to 12 years before a children’s museum is open and it’s just not economically feasible to keep the Exploreum open for that length of time,” said president of the El Paso Exploreum, Michael Churchman told ABC-7 in October.

Churchman told ABC-7 the museum was supposed to be an interim option until the time city built a new children’s museum.

Exploreum board members planned to partner with the city in a public-private venture in which the city would help out with operating costs but Churchman says because quality of life bond issues that included a new children’s museum have been postponed, the museum can’t continue running without the support of the city.

“We’ve gotten nothing from the city and we have gotten some support from the foundations and the businesses in the community but it’s not enough to carry a museum,” Churchman said.

“Museums are a treasure they are a gem for the community,” said Mandy Kirchgessner.

Kirchgessner is executive director for Insights Museum. She says with city funds earmarked for newer and bigger attractions like cultural centers and museums, smaller private centers will have a harder time finding funding to keep their doors open.

Both Churchman and Kirchgessner agree with a timeline of a children’s museum 10 to 12 years down the road the impact on the youth is
long lasting.

“That is a big loss if you think about it. That age 6 to 8 years, the developmental time frame, that’s how long it takes to build a museum so that’s a whole generation that’s missing out on an opportunity to expand their learning bubble and their horizon,” Kirchgessner said.

300 W. San Antonio Ave
El Paso, TX 79901
Phone: 915-533-4330

10 am – 6 pm*
*Last entrance is 5:00 pm!

Ages 2 to 60 $8
Senior (61+) w/ID $6
Active Military w/ID $6
Educator w/ district ID $6
Babies FREE

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