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Peoria Riverfront Museum and Caterpiller celebrating 5 years

Today marks five years since the Peoria Riverfront Museum opened it’s doors.


Though it's seeing success now, things haven't always been easy.


Less than a year after it opened, the museum board fired President and CEO, Jim Richerson.


Low attendance numbers and poor finances were credited for his departure.


In November of 2013, Sam Gappmayer was named the second president.


Things started to look up, when the museum began attracting major exhibits like Ripley's Believe It or Not.


Gappmayer left late last year and John Morris took over.


Earlier this year, nearly 44,000 people went to the museum over a 4 month period to see the Titanic exhibit.


“Everybody that comes through here to see an art exhibition, planetarium show, or giant screen movie. We're hoping to inspire visitors to be the best version of themselves,” said CEO, John Morris.


Throughout the past five years the museum has strived to keep the community the main focus when they pick exhibitions that will educate visitors.


Board Chairman, Sid Ruckriegel said, “You see kids take what they're seeing here and relating it to their every day life or they're taking that spark and dreaming about what it can be those are the things that make me happy.”


The museum leadership says the plan to continue to bring exhibits that will draw in the community for years to come.


“We've seen an amazing outpouring of support from the community more than four thousand members strong,” said Morris.


The Caterpiller Visitor’s Center is also celebrating their 5th year anniversary this weekend.


They recently announced that they are changing the name to the Doug Oberhelman Caterpiller Visitor's Center.


Within the past 5 years the center has seen over 350 visitors from over 50 countries.


The center has lowered admission to $5 this weekend to celebrate.

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