Originally created 08/06/99

Museum will receive $50,000 grant



A $50,000 tourism grant through the Convention and Visitors Bureau will make up for lagging income in gifts, admissions and memberships to the Augusta-Richmond County Museum, director Scott Loehr told trustees Thursday.

The grant award was one of nine given out from hotel-motel tax receipts, and will be used for marketing and promotion, board president Cobbs Nixon said.

A mid-year look at finances shows that the museum has received little more than $1,000 of an anticipated $15,500 in cash gifts.

Admissions and membership fees are running about $5,000 less than expected, according to figures released at the board of trustees meeting.

On the other hand, grants and income from special events have been higher than expected. Operating expenses have been low, which means the museum's net-income at mid-year -- $18,417 -- is about twice what was anticipated.

"I would certainly say there isn't any cause for alarm," Mr. Loehr said. "But we are behind in certain areas of income."

Money from the tourism grant will pay for a new brochure, marketing on Peach State Radio and ad campaigns for billboards and regional newspapers. BellSouth has agreed to donate an Internet site that will be developed as part of the marketing campaign.

Trustees also voted to ask the museum's endowment board to release $20,000 for a feasibility study that would gauge how much money a capital fund-raising drive could garner.

An Atlanta-based company that also did studies for the Golf Hall of Fame and the Woodrow Wilson House would conduct the study.

"They've got a good track record," said board treasurer Julian Osbon, who headed the Woodrow Wilson House campaign. "With the Wilson house, we wanted to raise $3 million, and they did the study and told us, `You're looking at about $1.2 million to $1.4 million. It's coming in at about $1.6 million, so they were pretty well on target."

Alisa DeMao covers transportation for The Augusta Chronicle. She can be reached at (706) 823-3223 or ademao@augustachronicle.com.