As the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium continues its capital campaign to Preserve the Wonder, the museum’s team is sharing why a contribution helps more than just the museum. 

“The museum directly generates $16 million annually for the greater Dubuque area,” said Nate Breitsprecker, Director of Sales & Guest Services, at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. “We get visitors from all over the county, the state and the Midwest, but we’ve also had visitors from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. We love to see them and share our passion for our rivers, this area and conservation.” 

Breitsprecker noted those visitors don’t just stop at the museum. They dine at local restaurants, stay at nearby hotels, and visit other businesses and areas in the community. 

“I don’t know if I would have stayed if it wasn’t for the museum,” said Breitsprecker, who after returning to Dubuque after college, will be celebrating 19 years with the organization in July. “The economic development project was cranking up, and seeing the efforts from the city, state and federal levels to develop this area was quite the opportunity. Dubuque has really become a destination for travel in the state and region because of the opportunities that now exist for people.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium employs more than 45 full-time staff members, 90 part-time staff members, and 100 active volunteers. To Breitsprecker, that shows more than just a profitable impact for the area, but also a social impact of people who work, live, and partake in the community. 

“I think we’ve really done a great job of developing this place. It’s a point of pride for everyone in the community, and it’s unique for a community of our size. We can grow upon that and continue to share stories of the river and region with our community, country and the world,” said Breitsprecker. 

Now Breitsprecker is looking to the future, so his 13-year-old son can be proud to call this area home. 

“We’re really serving a higher purpose, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” said Breitsprecker. “I want this community to be a place my son wants to call home when he grows up and places like the River Museum help support that. It is one of those things we can be really proud of. It takes the support of many, which is why the capital campaign helps us deliver on our mission.” 

The Preserve the Wonder campaign goal is to raise $12.75 million towards newly expanded exhibits, an increase in endowment and an upgrade in maintenance and facilities while providing a more comprehensive approach to history, STEM, and conservation. Those who are interested in donating can visit