The U.S. Pizza Museum was packed with guests in August in the South Loop as the Internet raged if Chicago was America’s true capital of pizza. The museum was meant to last through October with the option of extending its stay. The museum’s founder on Tuesday said the future of the museum is up in the air as they haven’t decided if the exhibition will last beyond the rest of the month.
Museum founder Kendall Bruns said the situation isn’t dire, but improved attendance would help as they’re discussing the museum’s future with the space’s management. The museum is a way to bring in people to the Roosevelt Collection, a residential development with a movie theater and retail stores. Admission to the museum, a space filled with nostalgic pizza-related items from limited-edition pizza boxes, to pizzeria menus, to toys, is free. The museum makes money from gift shop sales. However, guests need to reserve tickets prior to their visit.
August quickly sold out and that received lots of media attention. But when September rolled in, fewer people showed up. People just didn’t know that tickets were available. They think all tickets have been sold out since August.
“It’s more about perception; there’s plenty of opportunity for people to come,” Bruns said.
They’ve added items to the museum including a wood-burning oven. That helps Bruns better illustrate the differences in pizza as ovens help define crusts. They’re also hosting events. On Saturday, comics from the Arguments and Grievances podcast will debate pizza, discussing topics like “Chicago versus New York” and “Dining in versus take out.” Dimo’s Pizza will supply slices and Pretty Cool Ice Cream from Logan Square is making a special pineapple flavor for the event.
Not only is Bruns trying to add programming to entice bigger attendance, he’s now saying that October may be the last chance for people to see the exhibit. He might “do something different” if they can’t negotiate an extension with the owners of the current space.
Keep it here for any updates on the pizza museum’s future. Fans can get tickets at the link.