Chamber hopeful for museum in national contest, could generate tourism dollars

Decatur
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DECATUR, Ala. – The Cook Museum of Natural Science is still in the running for USA Today’s title of Best New Museum.

The museum is up against facilities across the United States and Canada and, before rankings were hidden online, was in second place.

"Population by population we're holding our own,” explained John Seymour, CEO of the Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce.

The Decatur-Morgan Chamber of Commerce said the number one spot could mean a big boost in visitors.

"It brings in a lot of tourism dollars, and tourism dollars is good money,” said Seymour. “The people who bring in tourism dollars don't take up a job and they bring in money and they go to your restaurants, they buy gas, they shop in your retail stores, and it creates a great opportunity for revenue for the city."

But in the grand scheme of things, the chamber said it’s about the experience and knowledge a carefully curated museum provides to its visitors.

And the Cook family created the ultimate attraction.

“They're now very concerned about the environment, they're very concerned about education. So they put those two things together and created this museum and it makes us very proud to have something like that in our community,” Seymour added.

Win, lose or draw the Cook Museum said it's only going to get better with time.

But Seymour said if someone’s keeping score, naturally you want to win.

You can vote here for your favorite new museum once a day until the polls close on February 17 at 11 a.m. CT. The winning 10 Best museums will be announced on February 28.