COSI’s New CEO Not Worried About Museum’s Funding Woes

COSI Columbus CEO David Chesebrough is getting adjusted to his new job this week. Chesebrough, who served as President and CEO of the Buffalo Museum of Science, comes to COSI in the midst of the museum’s financial unease. Right now COSI is trying to recover from a $1.7 million deficit in 2004. But the science and educational expert said the museum’s money problems do not worry him.

“It’s not uncommon, frankly, for science centers after they open to go through a period of adjustment. Sometimes that adjustment is programmatic, sometimes that adjustment is financial, sometimes that adjustment is image, and so we’re going through that as well. And again, fortunately my experience is that I have been part of a team that built and opened a science center before. So I’ve been through this. I;m not alarmed, I’m not surprised, I’ve been through it and I know the dynamics. And I’ve also been a student of the field and I’ve seen this played out over and over again,” Chesebrough said.

While COSI had a $631,000 surplus last year, this year’s projected surplus is 40 percent less. Chesebrough said COSI’s had a tough time repeating 2005′s success which was fueled by the popular Titanic exhibit. He said those kinds of high revenue attractions are rare.

“This year’s budget is probably more reflective of our normal budget than last year’s budget that with a large surplus that was driven in large part by a special exhibit with special qualities,” Chesebrough said.

Cosi expects another boost in revenue when it opens its star wars exhibit in June. Chesebrough said exhibits such as the Titanic and Star Wars should NOT be counted on as a means to make budget, but as a way to boost it.

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