At the Feb. 5, 2018 McPherson City Commission meeting, the commission heard the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation Annual Report from Anna Ruxlow, the Director of the McPherson Museum and Arts Foundation.
Ruxlow used “The Little Engine That Could” to describe the progress that the McPherson Museum has made over the last few years.
“When I think about the museum, when it was first built and the struggles that it has had, the little engine that could applies to what they’ve done,” Ruxlow said. “When I got there, we were $2 million in debt, we decreased that by $1.3 million so far, we’ve refinanced it, we now have a mortgage to start paying off the principle instead of just interest every month.”
The Museum completed the Innovation and Discovery area over the last year, which is where the fossils exhibit is.
Over a three-year period they’ve been able to increase their admissions by $1,700, their store sales by $2,200 and their fundraising by a baffling amount.
“In 2014 from our fundraising events we only raised $125,” Ruxlow said. “In 2017 our fundraising events raised $22,000. So we’re working and moving, we’re a long ways from the top of that mountain but we’re getting there.”
Since Ruxlow started, they have increased their memberships from 67 members to 340 members. Ruxlow’s goal has always been to have 400 members, so the McPherson Museum is close to reaching that goal.
Ruxlow also commented on the success that they have had by renting out space in their building to the McPherson CVB.
“Together we’re providing an outlet for McPherson to promote downtown McPherson and bridge that gap between the interstate and downtown McPherson,” Ruxlow said. “We have great events together and we work to together to find those big events that we need in McPherson.”
Although the Museum has had a great run in the last four years, they still need all the help they can get from the community to keep the lights on.
“We need more volunteers and we could use a volunteer coordinator to help with all those volunteers,” Ruxlow said.
The McPherson Museum is open from 8-5 p.m. Monday – Friday and from 1-5 p.m. Saturdays.