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Mayhew Cabin Faces New Challenges

2011-07-26

 By Bill Hayes, Acting Manager, Mayhew Cabin

I would like to thank everyone for the support you have given the Mayhew Cabin Foundation in efforts to fulfill its mission.I regret to announce that the status of the Mayhew Cabin has changed dramatically over the past month.Two major developments have recently taken place. The initial matter is that I, Bill Hayes, have resigned as full-time paid Director of the Mayhew Cabin foundation and museum. I took this step voluntarily in early May because major fundraising efforts have not been sufficient to financially sustain the position.Due to my deep commitment to the site, I am volunteering to keep up with most of the position's duties and continue to serve as the acting museum manger to assist with many of the day-to-day operations. However, I have had to find employment elsewhere in the area, and have less time to devote to the Mayhew Cabin's success.

The second issue involves the impact to the site from major flooding of the Missouri River.Attendance and visitation has decreased dramatically this summer due to the flooding.The closure of major highways in the region such as Interstate 29 in southwest Iowa and northwest Missouri, and Highway 2 in Iowa (and there were rumors that Nebraska Highway 75 was closed for a few days) have limited access to the site.Most of the site visitation draws from southwest Iowa and Omaha-so the impact of these road closures has been significant. The resulting drop-off in attendance has created a major decline in revenue for the museum this season. The month of May saw a 20% decrease in general admission compared to the same month in 2010 and June saw a 50% decrease in attendance compared to last year. With this decline, the museum has reached its budget limit on many of its operational expenses. The main expense that the museum cannot maintain is the docents' payroll. At this moment, the museum will reduce its hours of operation and remain open with the help of volunteers.

NEW Hours of Operation

Thursday through Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

The current docents have agreed to volunteer part of their time to help the museum. That means that all revenue will go towards covering our basic operational expenses. Grants that were awarded this spring are safe and will be or have been used for the specified projects.

How to Help

If anyone would like to help the Mayhew Cabin at this time with a donation or volunteering, please feel free to contact us at the following phone number or mailing address. The Mayhew Cabin is a n 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation so donations are tax-deductible.

Volunteers call: 402-873-3115

*the phone does have voicemail so please leave a message.

Donations: Mayhew Cabin, 2012 4th Corso, Nebraska City, NE 68410

*make checks payable to Mayhew Cabin Foundation.

*At this time, we can only accept cash or check

Direct Impacts of Flooding to the Site
In addition, to the loss of visitation and revenue, the exceedingly high level of the Missouri River is affecting the site.While the cabin and cave along with the historic village are not directly threatened by water, the visitor center building is flooding during heavy summer rains when water cannot drain properly.Landscaping and grading issues are exacerbated by storm drainage systems that cannot operate properly due to the high level of the Missouri River.Correcting the landscaping and grading problems to avoid water penetration in the visitor center building is estimated to cost $3000.

The Future

It is unfortunate that I am writing this since the Mayhew Cabin has made such great progress in its development. The board of directors, the docents and I are committed to the site. The current goals are to:

1) Develop the Center for Nebraska's UGRR

2) Create an endowment fund

3) Restore the other historic structures at site

Finally, I repeat that the museum will REMAIN OPEN. We will continue to serve the public in telling about the history of Nebraska's Underground Railroad.