By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — CEO Jim Remar with the Cosmosphere spoke to the Hutchinson City Council on Tuesday and he actually sees some good news for the museum.
"We ended the year with a $600,000 deficit," Remar said. "We were projected to hit $150,000 profit. While the deficit to the P and L was significant, we actually ended the year in an incredibly strong cash position. We ended the year with over $700,000 in the bank thanks to the various COVID funding mechanisms that we were able to take advantage of."
The pivots forced by the pandemic will make the museum stronger, according to Remar.
"We had a robust digital presence, on Facebook, on Twitter and other different channels," Remar said. "During the pandemic, obviously, people weren't coming to the Cosmosphere. We were trying to figure out how we could take the Cosmosphere to the people. That's through virtual and digital opportunities, which really allowed us to determine that there's a business opportunity out there to create virtual and streaming products, specifically for education."
Remar wants to be sure that the Cosmosphere can stay viable, as he watched many sister institutions close their doors, never to reopen.
"How do we become financially stable?", Remar asked. "Obviously, the sales tax is a huge portion of that. Without the sales tax, last year it would have been dismal. As we go forward, the sales tax will continue to be a primary revenue driver for us. I want to look at how we can create new business that doesn't rely specifically on people coming to the front door."
The American Alliance of Museums estimates that a third of all museums who closed during the pandemic won't reopen their doors.