Southwest Florida museum shuts down

Barry Miller

Photo: Video by fox4now.com

Southwest Florida museum shuts down

CREATED Jul. 17, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Art Of The Olympians museum in downtown Fort Myers has closed its doors until further notice.

Visitors looking to take a look inside the Art Of The Olympians Museum today were surprised to find a sign on the door stating that the exhibits were closed. 

"It's closed, we were too late," said Christine Summa. 

Christine and her friend Robin are too late, and so is everyone else. The doors at the Art Of The Olympian Museum downtown are closed for the foreseeable future.

The museum posted a statement on its website yesterday announcing the changes. 

The announcement read, "It is time to reorganize and restructure the foundation. A new direction focused on National and International Exhibits and Education programs will further the vision of the founder."

So far, there is no word on when doors will re-open or if they ever will. 

This is of course sad news for potential visitors. 

"It's sad that it was closing and now it's actually closed so we can't see it, very sad," said Robin Swartley. 

After the museum announced that the format of the exhibits would change, the CEO of the museum unexpectedly resigned. 

Olympic gold medalist Bob Beamon released an open letter directed to the museum's board yesterday, announcing his resignation. 

Beamon said that with the new change in direction of the museum, "the programs that were being supported by the foundation will suffer."

While most people are disappointed about the doors of the Art Of The Olympian closing, local leaders are excited about the possibility of a business replacing the museum and bringing big bucks to the local economy.

"We've been in more than casual discussions with Colombia restaurant cooperation, out of Tampa," said Mayor Randall Henderson. 

Colombia restaurants is an upscale regional chain with several locations in Florida. 

Mayor Henderson also told Fox 4 that since the museum began leasing the location back in 2009, city officials were looking for a business that could take full advantage of the waterfront property.

 

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