By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Cosmosphere has reduced its hours for the winter following the Labor Day holiday.
"The pandemic has impacted all businesses," said Cosmosphere CEO Jim Remar. "It's especially hit the tourism and hospitality sectors, food and beverage. We made a decision to shorten our operating hours as a cost-saving measure, but those two days that we decided to close, Monday and Tuesday were two of our slower days and we felt that most traffic occurred Wednesday through Sunday anyway. We feel that if someone was going to come on Monday or Tuesday, they're also going to be inclined to come Wednesday through Sunday."
One of the difficult pieces for the Cosmosphere is the first time many kids come is on a school bus.
"The current restrictions are making school field trips something that we probably won't see as much as we would in the past for the foreseeable future," Remar said. "What we're doing to combat that is now working to develop more virtual content so if the school can't come here, we're looking at how we can get into the classroom."
Another source of struggle is that traveling exhibits don't travel to closed venues.
"Right now, the touring exhibition industry has been hit hard," Remar said Thursday. "In fact, I'll be on a webinar this afternoon with various individuals talking specifically about traveling exhibitions. We have obviously done a number of exhibits and artifact rentals over the years, in fact, rolled out our exhibit and artifact rental program early this year and began to gain some really nice traction, and unfortunately, COVID hit."
Remar expects things to bounce back for traveling exhibits, but it may be a year or two before it gets to where the Cosmosphere would like to see it. Currently, the Cosmosphere is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Masks are required at the Cosmosphere.