The 3rd annual Iowa Museum Week is underway and facilities across the state are encouraging patrons to stop in for a visit.
Executive Director Cindy Sweet with the Iowa Museum Association says the goal of the week, which is designed by proclamation from the Governor, is to raise awareness of what museums bring to local communities.
She says there are between 450-600 museums in Iowa, with that number continuing to grow.
Sweet says it's important to note that museum has a broad definition of a "collecting institution.
"That includes things like zoos, with their living collections, nature centers and aquariums," says Sweet, "as well as art centers, historical societies and art museums. There is a very broad coalition of organizations that fall under the 'museum' umbrella."
Sweet says the biggest challenge facing Iowa's museums is money, in particular the lack of it. She says most cities and counties do not support local museums, so they rely on private donations.
Another signficant need is for volunteers, especially in areas with smaller museums.
Some of the local members of the Iowa Museum Association are the Art Guild of Burlington, The Henry County Heritage Trust, and the North Lee County Historical Society.