Arts/Culture
4:06 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Detroit Science Center needs $5 million to re-open

The Detroit Science Center was supposed to re-open Wednesday after it closed late last month due to a shortage of cash. But now it looks as though the science center will remain closed until it can drum up $5 million.

Kelly Fulford, vice-president of Marketing and Development at the Detroit Science Center, says the museum is developing a new operating plan – one that’s lean and conservative.

"There is optimism among us here at the Science Center that we are going to get these commitments for the funding to reopen the museum," says Fulford.

She says museum officials have been talking to corporate foundations, individual donors, and partners in an effort to raise the money needed.

And if the museum doesn't raise the $5 million? "Well, we will not be re-opening without at least the commitment of support," says Fulford.

The museum ran a deficit last year  and defaulted on $5.8 million dollars in bank loans. 

About 100 science center employees have been temporarily laid off, and it's not clear how many will be brought back if and when the museum re-opens.

Fulford says the Science Center's re-opening is now slated for October 27. The Detroit Children's Museum, which is run by the Science Center, will re-open tomorrow, Oct. 12.

A story in The Detroit News details how the Science Center closed less than a month after the departure of CEO and President Kevin Prihod:

Prihod, at the helm since 2005, oversaw an expansion of the museum, the creation of two traveling exhibits, acquisition of the Children's Museum and the privately funded construction of University Prep Science & Math, a public charter middle school next to the science center.

But the for-profit offshoot, the Detroit Science Center Design and Exhibits, didn't make money; in fact it lost money, [Board chair Francois]Castaing said. Although board members were supportive of the company as a way to create exhibits and generate revenue, they had decided to close it, at least temporarily.