The U.S. Space & Rocket Center held a news conference on Tuesday at 11 a.m. to announce its “Save Space Camp” campaign.
“The U.S. Space & Rocket Center and its internationally beloved Space Camp are in jeopardy of permanent closure due to devastating economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” a statement released Tuesday morning said.
The center says the campaign must raise a minimum of $1.5 million to keep the museum open past October and to reopen Space Camp in April 2021.
On March 13, the center closed due to the nationwide surge in coronavirus cases. It reopened in late May, but “with far fewer than normal visitors,” it says.
Space Camp reopened on June 28 with only 20% of its usual attendance. With limited admission from international students and school groups this fall and winter, the center says Space Camp will again close for weeklong camp programs in September.
The rocket center says it’s lost two-thirds of revenue. In May, it laid off a third of its full-time employees and was unable to employ an additional 700 part-time employees who typically work in all areas of Space Camp and the museum, Tuesday’s statement says.
A majority of remaining full-time employees have been furloughed since April.
“At this time, local, state and federal agencies have not been able to help the Rocket Center through these difficult times. However, we firmly believe that failure is not an option, and we are turning to the public for support,” the statement goes on to say.
The center says according to recent economic impact studies, it generates $120 million in annual revenue for the state of Alabama. It’s been the top paid tourist attraction in the state for seven years.
For more information about the campaign and to donate, click here.