The center’s website calls it a temporary closing, and that 47 people will be laid off.
A statement says:
“The financing model developed two years ago, combined with the world economic situation, just doesn’t work”, states CEO Mike Andrews. “Our overhead costs, not fundable by grants or sponsorships, are considerably higher than our declining subsidy and endowment interest. Although we experienced an increase in visitor attendance, it is not enough to make that up difference in a limited market.”
Officials said they’re reviewing all options and are “optimistic about the future of the facility.”
It first opened in 1977 as the Iron Range Interpretive Center with 34 exhibits and a nominal admission charge. The Hall of Geology was added in 1979, followed by the opening of the Research Center library and archives in 1980. A name change in 1984 made it Ironworld USA in 1984, followed by rebranding as Ironworld Discovery Center and then Ironworld, before the Discovery Center moniker.