The Detroit Science Center will open its doors to the public for one night only to join in on the city's annual Noel Night festivities. Midtown Inc., which sponsors the annual event this Saturday is helping to foot the bill with a small grant of an undisclosed amount.
The museum had to close its doors on Sept. 26 because it had accrued a $5.8 million debt, due to a failed side venture in a Ferndale shop called Design & Exhibits and low box office returns on its Mexican mummy show, the Free Press reports.
Each year on Noel Night, local galleries and museums open their doors for a big public holiday-themed gala full of performances and special events.
Sue Mosey, president of Midtown Inc., told HuffPost the Science Center is one of the evening's most popular venues, so it made sense to offer the struggling institution a little help. "We want to make sure we have the best experience for people, and the Science Center for families is about as good as it gets."
Mosey said the Science Center will be packed with activities for visitors this year. About 10,000 people visit the Science Center over four hours each year during Noel Night, compared to about 14,000 who visit the Detroit Institute of Arts.
"They have a lot of great shows over there. They have the dinosaur exhibit, they have their planetarium, they have their engineering theater, they have their IMAX theater, so they have a lot of the infrastructure that makes this event, quite frankly, popular and successful," Mosey said.
The Science Center is a popular draw for schools and families. Patience Young, 22, lives near the Science Center in Detroit and was happy to hear the news about the Noel Night event.
"I'm excited. I'm very excited its going to be open tomorrow," she said. "I just got a membership and it closed right afterwards, so I haven't been able to spend as much time there as I wanted."
She said she bought a membership with her boyfriend, so they could visit the museum with his son.
"In the winter when there's not much to do we could walk over there and hang out there, watch a movie, hang out at the planetarium, check out the exhibits and live shows or whatever," she said. "I wanted to support and have access to something that I thought was a very important part of my neighborhood."
The Detroit Science Center, its CEO and Vice Chairman John Miller and its board are working to raise the money needed to reopen the institution, Crain's reports.
"It is a real critical piece of the fabric of Midtown," Mosey said. "So, we're hopeful as everyone else is that funding will come together to reopen it soon."
Eighteen of the center's furloughed employees will be on hand to run Noel Night activities.
The Science Center will feature numerous free-of-charge Noel Night activities including a a performance of Michael Cooper's "Masked Marvels & Wondertales," showings of holiday children's movies, a choral group and an opportunity for kids to take a photo with Santa. The Science Center's special exhibits will also be open for a small fee.
Noel Night will take place in and around over 60 of midtown Detroit's Cultural Center institutions from 5 to 9:30 pm, this Saturday. Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre and dance groups, including a show by the Blind Boys of Alabama.