The Bob Feller Museum sits in Van Meter, Iowa. Or it has. Now, due to lack of attendance and memberships, it is closing and becoming the Van Meter, Iowa city hall:
So last fall, the museum’s members — including Feller’s widow, Anne — unanimously approved a plan by the board to close the museum and sell the building to the city of Van Meter, Brandon L. Sawalich, the board president, said. Van Meter is converting it into its city hall. City officials hope to move in by mid-March.
The linked article is interesting thanks to the background it provides on single-player museums — there aren’t many of them — and the models they employ for their vitality. Or the models which break down and lead to their demise. Even players as famous and great as Feller and Ted Williams are not big enough draws once they and their most ardent fans pass away. Especially if the museums are off the beaten path or are otherwise unaffiliated with a larger institution.
All of which is something the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown should bear in mind. No, it’s not going anyplace. People will always go there. But fewer will visit if they don’t feel a strong connection to it. If they feel it doesn’t speak to them in some way.