Kearney archway museum to reopen Saturday

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KEARNEY, Neb. (AP) - After a two-month closure, the archway museum that straddles Interstate 80 in south-central Nebraska is scheduled to reopen on Saturday.

The Archway will be unveiling its revamped gift shop and the Frank Morrison Theater, the Kearney Hub reported (http://bit.ly/1c4Qu88 ).

Visitors will be able to start their tour in the theater, watching a video about the establishment of The Archway. Known since its opening as the Great Platte River Road Archway, in December the Kearney monument was renamed The Archway.

The Archway foundation’s board of directors said the name change was one of many steps that will be taken to rebrand the facility. Foundation officials said the change will help promote and market the attraction and will simplify Internet searches, travel guide directories and other promotional materials.

The museum has exhibits that commemorate the Oregon, Mormon and California pioneer trails, and it honors the nation’s highway systems and railroads. It has struggled with disappointing attendance since its opening. Nearly 250,000 people visited in 2001, but last year’s attendance was 49,960.

The Archway emerged from bankruptcy in September after it settled more than $20 million in debt with bondholders, vendors and businesses by paying $100,000.

Officials have said they hope that a new interstate exit that opened just east of the arch last year will boost attendance.

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Information from: Kearney Hub, http://www.kearneyhub.com/

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