Friday, December 23, 2016

Western Museum cuts ties with Haunted Mines after 10 years

Posted By on Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 3:38 PM

click to enlarge Haunted Mines actors zombify the grounds of WMM&I at last year's haunt. - ROBIN SCHNEIDER / THE GALLERY BELOW
  • Robin Schneider / The Gallery Below
  • Haunted Mines actors zombify the grounds of WMM&I at last year's haunt.

It may seem a little early to be thinking about Halloween, but the folks at Haunted Mines, a local favorite Halloween attraction, need to start planning for it now.

The organization announced on Facebook this morning that the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (where they have set up their haunted attraction since Haunted Mines began in 2006) has decided to go in a different direction, and has asked that Haunted Mines use 2017 as a “teardown year.”

The letter, delivered by a WMM&I board member last night, came as a shock to Angel Nuce, executive director of Haunted Mines. She says that the museum board hadn’t expressed that any kind of contract termination was on the horizon, and she doesn’t yet know the reason for it.

“All we have is that letter,” she says. At the moment, she hasn’t made any moves to follow up with inquiries to the board. “I spent the evening placating my volunteers, taking care of my staff. That’s the most important thing to me right now.”

Once the holidays are over, the organization will seek clarification from the WMM&I board and begin the process of moving on out, but so far they aren’t sure exactly where they’re going. Considering there are some large pieces to transport, including carnival rides, it’s important they find a new partner — and fast.

The optimistic Facebook post that announced the termination reads:

After 10 years and over $1,000,000 donated into our community - $340,000 in last 3 years alone to the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, they no longer wish to continue to be the recipient of our generosity. Excited for new possibilities - anyone need a roommate?

But Nuce is confident they will find a place, and their plans to do extra events (such as setting up a tent haunt at the Tiny House Jamboree) have not changed. Moreover, it looks like Wescott Fire Department may allow them to set up an office in an unused fire station, where they can start searching in earnest for a more permanent location.

Nuce’s dream is to have two or three acres of property to establish permanent attractions like a corn maze, but she said that if someone has a space — whether it’s an empty field or a warehouse — they’ll make it work.

“We’re not going anywhere,” she says. “You can slow us down, but you can’t stop it.”

When reached for comment, Executive Director Rick Sauers of WMM&I said that the decision to cut ties with Haunted Mines was “a board decision, purely business."

"It has nothing to do with Haunted Mines except the board would like something better professionally managed,” he said.

The museum will be seeking proposals soon.

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