Aurora Fossil Museum hits 20,000 guests for 2018

Published 7:06 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2018

AURORA — On Monday, Andrew Cake walked through the doors of the Aurora Fossil Museum. With the day off from work due to the cold and rainy weather, Cake had driven to Aurora for a day of fossil hunting. Unbeknownst to him, as he crossed the threshold of the museum, Cake helped the museum staff meet a monumental goal — he was the museum’s 20,000th visitor of 2018.

“Twenty-thousand museum visitors have walked through the museum door this year, which is a major milestone for us,” Fossil Museum Director Crane said. “Years ago, they had a high amount of visitors similar to that and in past years it had been going down. But it has been going up in the past four.”

Since Crane started as director in 2014, the museum has set goals each year — 15,000 visitors in 2015, 16,000 in 2016, 17,000 in 2017 and 18,000 for this year. Every year, the museum has exceeded its goal.

“A lot of the interest has to do with the museum gaining popularity, exposure through our social media account and word of mouth,” Crane said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s good to see that work come to fruition with these numbers increasing every year.”

With 20,000 people coming to the museum this year, that number represents almost 40 times the population that lives in the city limits of Aurora. As the museum brings visitors to the town, Crane sees a beneficial relationship with the town as a whole.

“We have to look at the museum as a focal point, a catalyst and a contributor to the community to work with the town to help grow it and bring more interest to it,” Crane said. “Getting 20,000 people to come here is a lot.”

All told, the museum has hosted guests from all 50 states, 23 countries and five continents this year. Visitors have come from Canada, New Zealand, Holland, Poland, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Guatemala, Mexico, France, Singapore, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Brazil, Malaysia, Sweden, Hungary, Australia, Indonesia, the Caribbean, American Samoa and Scotland. Crane says she hopes to have a visitor from Africa by the end of the year.