As you all know, we close to the public in January and August, the two months that feature our worst weather and our lowest attendance. A few years ago when we analyzed the cost of staying open to the public versus how much revenue we generated during those months, it was clear that we were losing money being one of the only outdoor museums in the country that operated twelve months a year. So, we now close to the public during those two months.
But that does not mean that we are all in hibernation. Our administrative, education, and curatorial staff and our maintenance contractors continue normal working hours. We always have post-Candlelight chores, like putting away the decorations and stowing the candles and stanchions. Of course, work on Gone To Texas really picks up in January, and various board committees continue working as normal. The education staff works ahead, knowing that Spring is their busiest time of year. This year Melissa and Johna are reworking our Girl Scout workshops and planning for the big March 31 Girl Scout Centennial event that will be held on our grounds. Lots of other Spring education programs are in the works as well.
Building repair projects continue with, for instance, Jason currently working on repairing carpenter ant damage to the Guest Services Office and beginning work to fix up the Shotgun House. Some tasks are eternal, such as the need to feed the animals every day and the need for the Park Department to pick up trash.
One January project that we are very excited about: we are getting a new internet and telephone system, featuring fiber optic cabling that will connect our offices, including the Guest Services Office. Yes, for the first time in years, we will all be on the same phone system! And, we think that we can now maintain communications with the outside world even when it rains! Thank you Hillcrest Foundation for your generous support!
So, we stay very busy here and look forward to our reopening, but we will also admit that we enjoy our peaceful buildings and grounds for a few weeks.