The Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville is cutting back hours and will only be open three days a week starting April 1.
The museum is normally open six days a week.
The museum's website reads, "The United States Army has notified the ASOM Foundation of a change of hours of operation for the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. Due to fiscal constraints" the museum will only be open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The museum opened in 2000, and it is full of displays with audio and video that have made the place a must-see for many people in the area. The museum director said Friday the 2 millionth visitor came through the door earlier in April. He said there are often up to 500 visitors a day, especially during the summer season.
Some visitors said Friday they worry about the school children who may not get the chance to see the museum if it is only open one weekday. Museum volunteer Al Alvarez said he also worries about the surrounding area if the schedule change means fewer visitors. He believes the museum has been a major to key to downtown Fayetteville's revitalization. He said many visitors, including those on large bus tours, leave the museum and go to just a few blocks to eat and shop in Downtown Fayetteville.
"Here we have probably 25 restaurants - all the way down the street over here... fabulous ones - French ones, German ones, Greek ones, you name it, and that's the attraction, but the museum is what pulls them," Alvarez said. "We send them out to all these places over here. I wonder if all those restaurants were created because of this place right here."
Alvarez and other volunteers said the museum is rescheduling or opening especially for all sorts of prescheduled tours now – tours such as bus groups and school field trips. they already know they will have to be open just for a scheduled tour on Wednesday because that tour has planned to stop at the museum for weeks.
Ultimately Alvarez hopes people who enjoy the museum will push for a change to the schedule cutback.
"I think that within a short space of time they'll come to their senses and restore us as they did the visiting of young children to the White House," Alvarez said.
You can find the museum's website here.
Link to the museum's website (with the new hours posted): http://www.asomf.org/