So Matt and I were doing some research on the City Museum and the story behind it is also really interesting. Bob Cassilly is the artist/"serial entrepreneur" who's behind it, who also, probably not coincidentally, created our other favorite thing in St. Louis, Turtle Park. Anyway, he and his former wife bought the old St. Louis Shoe Factory for 69 cents a square foot and created the City Museum in it. Matt tells me that originally, it was a non-profit, and the wife was president of the board. Later, however, Cassilly insisted on buying the building back from the board to make it a for-profit enterprise, and his wife was forced out of the business and they divorced and all kinds of scandal.
You know, though, this might be a little Green Party of me, but I think the idea of a for-profit museum, as long as it doesn't go all McDonald's/Disney World, is fine. Cassilly is clearly, after seeing the City Museum, a creative genius, and not only might a board of directors stifle some of his artistic decisions ("You want to stick an old plane where?!!! And let people climb on it?!!!"), but the museum seems to have an ethical system that's both eco-friendly and local, it's not crazy expensive to visit (although it is sort of non-crazy expensive), and hell, brilliant artists deserve to make good money.Check out this great article on Terrain about the City Museum--Through the Dragon's Mouth. I found it really insightful, both in the philosophies behind the museum that the author uncovered and in her observations about how adults and children interact there. I wonder if I'm so drawn to the place because it's perhaps the first public place I've visited that seems to share my own guiding beliefs.
Oh my gawd, y'all--the City Museum is my church!