MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - FOX10 News is digging deeper into the financial status of Mobile's Exploreum Museum. The Museum's board president says its tough to juggle costs and expenses when demand for exhibits is high, but funding is low.
Board of Trustee's President David Trent said sometimes it seems like they struggling just to keep the Exploreum's doors open. But Trent says they manage to do it because everyone is working hard to overcome the challenges.
"It's tough. Giving is down; foundation giving is down," said Trent.
It's all in black and white in the non-profit's tax filings.
In 2009, the science center brought in a little more than $3 million, but the cost to keep it running was more than $4 million.
The trend continued in 2010. Revenue was reported at $3.3 million while expenses rose to $4.7 million. That's a $1.4 million loss.
"It's been a money loser. There is no back up fund. We make it through the generosity of our donors, through the generosity of the members of the Exploreum, and we make it. We get by, and it causes us some challenges," said Trent.
The Exploreum only reported $519,000 loss in 2011.
"We are probably in the best situation financially as we have been for a while. It's not perfectly it's not great, but were coming up out of it," said Trent.
To get there, the Exploreum made cuts that included positions and salaries.
"We have had to make sure we have the right sized organization for the revenue that's coming in, and we have had to make some tough decisions as with any organization. And we're trying not to make anymore of those tough decisions," said Trent.
In 2009, the executive director reportedly made $105,000. That was cut to just more than $56,000 in just a year.
The Exploreum's has made changes to the exhibits it offers.
Trent said they are focusing on more cost-efficient in-house exhibits.
"We haven't had a major blockbuster exhibit for a long time, because those things cost a lot of money and don't make a lot of money, so we're readjusting," said Trent.
Trent said last quarter was the best they have had in years, and there is no sign the Exploreum will go down.
He said the long term goal is to get the museum operating where there are no admissions fees and no deficit. To get there, it takes support; people stopping by and seeing what the Exploreum has to offer.
The Exploreum does get some tax money.
The City of Mobile gives more than $400,000 a year. In 2012, the county gave $16,500. The bulk of the funding comes through donations.
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