Archive for Thursday, December 17, 2009

Poultry museum offers ray of hope

December 17, 2009

Many question how the Poultry Museum, a new addition to the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame museum that opened in May, could have opened while the center was facing such financial hardship.

Loyl Stromberg, who was the main force in getting the Poultry Museum to the center, says he donated about $142,000 for the project, which completely paid for the museum – the artifacts were mostly those donated by the Stromberg family – but not the maintenance and utility fees the building incurs per month.

Tim Daugherty, the center’s CEO who was laid off this month as part of a money-saving effort, said those fees were absorbed by the center as the governing board hadn’t yet established a monthly maintenance fee that would be charged to the Poultry Museum account. About $45,000 remains in that account, Daugherty said.

Work got started on the museum, Daugherty said, before the September 2008 stock market plunge. He said had board members known they were to take such a large hit on the Ag Hall’s investment accounts, they might have voted to defer construction until times were better.

“Had we known what we know today, we would have tried to figure out a different approach,” Daugherty said.

Stromberg, who lives in Minnesota and is now in his 90s, refused to comment on the center’s current financial situation, except to say that “it’s one grand mess.”

He says he hand picked the location for his museum after only one visit to the Ag Hall of Fame and after spending 15 years raising the entire donated sum through fundraising done by mail, he retains a strong sense of pride in what he was able to accomplish.

“(The Poultry Museum’s) been a heck of a lot of work,” Stromberg said, “and it’s well worth it, and I’ve considered it the number one accomplishment of my life.”

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