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Freedom Center draws more than expected



Published: Sat, August 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Freedom Center drawsmore than expected

CINCINNATI -- The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center drew more people than expected in its first year, receiving 280,000 guests rather than the anticipated 260,000.

Now the museum must build its endowment, raise its national visibility and work on encouraging repeat visits.

The center got about 40 percent of its funding from local, state and federal government contributions. Construction costs were put at $110 million, and operating costs at $7 million a year.

The center cannot survive on admission fees alone, so fund-raising will be an important part of its future.

The center is dedicated to the network of safe houses and escape routes that slaves followed northward to freedom. It hosts seminars and programs, and has artifacts and displays such as murals, quilts and 1830s-era slave pen made of roughhewn logs.

Dodge City will toast'Gunsmoke' anniversary

DODGE City, Kan. -- Dodge City will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic TV show "Gunsmoke" on Sept. 10 and 11.

The show, set in Dodge City, was first broadcast in September 1955 and went on to become the longest-running TV show of all time.

Events include a symposium called "'Gunsmoke' -- 50 Years: Reliving the Legend," with appearances by some of the folks associated with the show.

While Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty were purely fictional characters from the show, the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday actually did walk the streets of Dodge City.

You can explore Dodge City's real history by visiting the Boot Hill Museum, Fort Dodge, and the Santa Fe Trail.

For more information, visit www.DodgeCityTrailofFame.org or www.dodgecity.org, or call (800) 653-9378.

Officials aim to boostfall tourism in Hawaii

HONOLULU -- Autumn is the slowest season of the year in Hawaii, but tourism officials hope to change that by luring activity-seeking travelers to the islands this fall.

At www.gohawaii.com visitors will find an interactive itinerary feature that allows users to plan their vacations by choosing from more than 180 activities and adventures on six Hawaiian islands.

Hawaii welcomed a record 3.6 million visitors in the first half of this year, 7 percent more than the first six months of 2004, officials said.

Map puts visitorson dinosaur trail

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- If you're interested in dinosaurs, follow the Montana Dinosaur Trail.

A map from Travel Montana and the www.mtdinotrail.org Web site can help you find the state's 13 dinosaur museums via the state highway system.

The new Fort Peck museum is home to one of the world's most complete T. rex skeletons.

Since it opened in early May, the museum has been host to more than 19,000 visitors, thanks in part to the dinosaur trail promotion launched earlier this year, according to the Great Falls Tribune.

Attendance is also up at the Dinosaur Field Station in Malta; the H. Earl Clack Memorial Museum in Havre, which features 75-million-year-old dinosaur eggs; and the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman.

Marketing Director Jamie Cornish said that's largely because of new exhibits and the announcement that famed Museum of the Rockies paleontologist Jack Horner and other scientists discovered soft tissue inside a 70-million-year-old T. rex fossil.

The Museum of the Rockies is considered Montana's premier natural and cultural history museum and houses permanent exhibits on dinosaurs, geology and Montana history, as well as a planetarium and a living history farm.

Associated Press




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