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The financially beleaguered Chapel Hill Museum is set to close its doors.
Founded in 1996 and housed in the former public library building not far from the campus on Franklin Street, the museum has relied primarily on volunteers and never has had a solid financial footing. According to The News & Observer of Raleigh, a budget request to the town for $49,000 that failed to yield even half that was the last straw.
The museum posted a closing announcement online that detailed the factors leading to this decision.
“We told the town as long ago as last summer that, depending on whether they could absorb the museum or otherwise help with operations, this could be either our finest year or our final year,” the museum’s executive director, Traci Davenport, told the paper. “We are very, very disappointed that we weren’t able to work things out.”
After announcing the closing, Don Boulton, the museum board’s co-chair, told the newspaper the board was dissatisfied with the town’s response to its requests and that the possibility of keeping the museum open was being kept alive.
The museum said it needed $34,250 for current upkeep and $15,000 to cover deferred maintenance. The town budgeted $20,250 for the coming year, according to The N&O.
Davenport told the paper the museum relied on private donations and was in part a victim of the economic downturn. “We’re a prime example of what’s happening to museums nationwide,” she said. “We’ve been a living a hand-to-mouth existence for some time.”