Attendance numbers low for Peoria Riverfront Museum

By Beau Ebenezer

August 28, 2013 Updated Aug 30, 2013 at 9:05 PM CDT

PEORIA Ill -- After seeing low numbers in attendance over the last fiscal year, Peoria Riverfront Museum officials are working to turn things around for 2014.

Museum board leaders said the original numbers estimated for the Peoria Riverfront Museum were too optimistic.

However, with recent changes and improvements, they said they are on their way to bouncing back.

"We had no ability, we had never been involved. The budget for 2014 is now our budget. We ran it for eight months. Now we're going to run it for twelve months and we're going to run it better," said Dave Ransburg, Peoria Riverfront Museum Chairman.

There were nearly 44,000 fewer visitors to the museum than the 180,000 projected by White Oak Museum Planners and Producers.

This fiscal year, museum board leaders are aiming for a more realistic 200,000 in attendance for an entire 12 months.

"Now it is based upon ten or eleven months of working history. We are not speculating as much anymore. They actually have some numbers to look at and help them in moving forward," said Stephen Morris, Peoria County Board.

This year's greatest shortfalls were in Giant Screen Theater attendance, which was almost 50 percent less than expected.

Officials said they hope better marketing will solve the problem.

"I think we have a great product, but I don't think we did a good job selling it. We're going to work this year to do things with pricing, packages, and promotions to try and get more people to try it. People that do try it like it," Ransburg said.

Museum Board leaders said they have reduced staff, brought in more volunteers and will soon to take over management of the museum parking garage.

Officials hope reduced ticket prices along with the addition of beer and wine to the theater concessions will equal to future revenue increases.

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