Recently, Nebraska City’s museums were awarded a grant from the Nebraska City Growth Fund, formerly known as LB-840. In its seventh year, the grant provides a stipend for the participating museums to hire a part-time attendant during the summer months. Primarily intended to allow the museums to offer regular visitation hours during the peak tourism season; as the funds come from the city’s sales tax, all residents in the 68410 zip code receive free admission to the museums.
While each museum receives $2,000 to pay an attendant, this is only half of what the actual cost of employing front desk personnel in addition to the added costs of operations by being open. Nationally, visitor admissions only make up roughly 15 percent of a museum’s operational budget; the rest must be raised through membership and fund-raising. The actual cost of having an employee even for the minimum of hours required by the grant, Friday through Sunday, noon to four, is roughly $4,000. Each of Nebraska City’s museums makes up the difference in their own way; some comes from donations, others from membership and finally the rest hold fund-raisers. Fund-raising events themselves are time consuming and often do not raise much money themselves. However, public events do two things; they show the public that the museum needs money and most importantly is willing to work for it.
A great example of this is the Nebraska City Museum of Firefighting’s Annual Super Bowl Soup Luncheon. Held in the Nebraska City Volunteer Fire Department, this year’s event will be Sunday, February 5, from 11:00 to 1:00. The volunteer firefighters each bring in a crock pot of soup which distributes the work and offers a great variety of soups as well as an opportunity to socialize with other community members during Nebraska’s cold weather. A free will offering for the luncheon is asked with all of the proceeds benefiting the Nebraska City Museum of Firefighting. And yes these funds will be used to pay utility bills as well as making up the difference in paying attendants.
So don’t think that the museums are just getting a free hand-out; they are working as well to ensure that the museums are open during the summer. Some just have to start earlier than others.
IF YOU GO
Nebraska City Museum of Firefighting
Super Bowl Soup Luncheon
Sunday, February 5, 11:00 – 1:00
Nebraska City Volunteer Fire Department
1409 Central Avenue, Nebraska City