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The Future Of Iowa's Museums

Museums around Iowa have seen significant drops in attendance. The Science Center of Iowa says they are only seeing about 10% of their normal attendance rate during the spring and summer months.
Michael Van Kerckhove
Museums around Iowa have experienced a significant decline in attendance. The Science Center of Iowa says they're seeing about 10 percent of their normal attendance for the spring and summer months.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe speaks with museum professionals from around the state, including the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum, the Museum of Danish America, the Science Center of Iowa and the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, about how they see their futures.

Museums closed in March, along with everything else. Some have reopened, many have not and the future of these largely non-profit institutions is uncertain. A national survey released in July by the American Alliance of Museums found that 33 percent of museums were “not confident” they’d make it to fall 2021.

This hour, the future of Iowa’s museums and the unique challenges they're facing, including high-tech, hands-on exhibits that are no longer safe to touch and the expense of housing extensive collections even when no one can come to see them.


Tom Schwartz, director, Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch

Tova Brandt, executive director of the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn

Curt Simmons, CEO, Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines

Kurt Strand, president and CEO, The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River