Sparta Teapot Museum
The museum was intended to draw tourism - and money - to this small town near the Blue Ridge Parkway, but organizers say now that the region cannot support what was initially proposed.
"Of course, our first plan was a wonderful dream. It was an absolute dream museum. The problem was we just couldn’t afford our dream," said Sandy Carter Herndon, a member of the museum’s board of directors.
The board decided earlier this month to reduce the size of the building by more than half, cutting the cost from $14 million to an estimated $6 million.
The move could jeopardize an arrangement to permanently display Sonny Kamm’s more than 7,000 eclectic teapots - a collection considered to be the largest of its kind in the world.
"There would be less teapots displayed, and it is unclear at this time what level of involvement we will have from Mr. Kamm right now,” said Bryan Edwards, the town manager of Sparta, who is also a member of the museum’s board of directors. “It could be minimal, and it’s possible that there would be none."
Museum officials raised about $1.1 million in public money but were unable to raise enough from private donors to build the museum as originally planned. They say that if they lose the teapot collection they would display regional crafts instead.
Kamm could not be reached yesterday for comment.