- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A Fairbanks museum dedicated to Alaska’s state sport is struggling to attract visitors and might close if business doesn’t pick up.

The Bouchard’s International Dog Mushing and Sled Museum has been in Fairbanks for two summers. Owner Kyia Bouchard said she is $30,000 behind on rent and having trouble attracting visitors who are willing to pay $10 to view thousands of dog mushing artifacts, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://bit.ly/29nq6cS).

“I don’t know what it is. I just know that they are not coming into the museum,” said Bouchard, who is a dog musher.

Bouchard moved the museum to Fairbanks from Dawson City, Yukon after not having much success with the business in Canada.

“It wasn’t doing well there,” Bouchard said. “Dawson is small.”

Bouchard had hoped to capitalize on Fairbanks’ summer tourist season, but she says she’s far short of the 100 visitors per day she needs to cover the bills. The museum sees an average of around 40 visitors each day.

Bouchard said the museum may have to close if business doesn’t improve by the end of the summer.

“Somebody throw me a life preserver or else I am going down,” she said.

In the meantime, Bouchard says she’s seeking corporate sponsors to boost visitation.

Bouchard’s dog mushing collection includes items from around the world and is valued at about $150,000.

“Anybody that does come and do the experience is overwhelmed,” Bouchard said.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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