A year after opening, Jewish history museum steps up call for donations
PHILADELPHIA - Nearly a year after its celebrity-packed opening, the National Museum of American Jewish History has sharply reduced its attendance expectations and stepped up the call for donations to support its day-to-day operations.
The slumping economy and a cold, snowy launch season combined to depress ticket sales at the $142 million gallery overlooking Independence Mall. In addition, officials say, the initial projection of 250,000 visitors annually was unrealistic. They have set a new benchmark of 125,000, which they anticipate reaching by the first anniversary on Nov. 26....
At the same time, though, Rosenzweig noted in an interview how precarious those successes may be, given the institution's unusually heavy reliance on philanthropy, large and small, to keep the doors open. Half of its $10 million operating budget has come from donations - well above the national average of 37 percent, according to a 2009 survey by the American Association of Museums....
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