Lou Wyman, owner of the Wyman Museum, has decided to keep the lights off for a few days a week.
The museum has closed its doors Mondays through Thursdays during the typically slow months of March and April.
“A lot of museums close throughout the winter months because it is slow,” Wyman office manager Nicky Boulger said. “Nobody is traveling, traffic isn’t high, and we’re a new facility, so we felt things out for the last four or five years, and … it does cost to have the lights on and be open for the day.”
Wyman said the closure is temporary and that the museum most likely will return to seven days a week at about mid-April.
The museum also is experiencing a lag from the Winter Festival, Boulger said.
“It takes a lot to put on a festival,” she said. “I don’t think a lot of people realize how much money it does cost to put on. We don’t make anything off of it at all.”
Although Friday through Sunday are the museum’s busiest days, the traffic wasn’t sufficient to remain open seven days of a week.
In the past four or five years, March, April and May see the least amount of museum visitors, Boulger said.
Wyman foots the bill personally for the nearly $100,000 annual operating cost of the museum.
“Money is tight right now,” he said. “The darn thing doesn’t stay open if I don’t put money into it.”
Although the museum receives private donations, it can’t apply for grants because it is privately owned and non-profit.
Despite the bills, Wyman wants to keep the museum free to the public.
“We don’t charge and never have,” he said. “I hope we can do it so we don’t charge.”
Wyman sometimes wonders why he foots the bill for the museum but ultimately does it for the community.
“For me, the big thing really is that I’m doing it because I like to do it,” he said. “Whether it’s restoring something or saving something, and if the community gets to come along with me, then that’s the bonus.”
Boulger admires Wyman’s zeal.
“His passion is that he has collected this stuff for many, many years, and he wants it to be available for the community,” she said. “The facility itself, it’s for the community. It’s not for Lou; it’s not for me. It’s for the town of Craig.”
Wyman remains hopeful the temporary closure will cease with the busier season approaching and an economic rebound.
“I want to see it work,” he said. “We think we’ll come into a little more money here before too long to make it work.”
“It’ll turn around.”