Friess said he's hopeful that the city will find more ways to help finance the exhibits. He said the blockbusters draw crowds that also spend money at local restaurants and hotels and generate a lot of sales tax revenue.

So, what are the chances of that happening?

"The possibility is close to zero," said Mayor Chuck Reed. "The city's general fund is looking at a gap of $100 million." Reed noted that he's a fan of the Tech, and believes it has a strong board that will find some creative solutions.

Then there is the final disadvantage facing the Tech: San Jose.

"I've never seen a city as empty as San Jose," Friess said. "It's a disaster. As a museum director, it takes a lot of effort to get people in the door."

Right now, I don't see Friess getting the extra help from Silicon Valley that he needs to overcome the logistical and financial hurdles weighing the Tech down. And without that elusive support, the museum will continue to fade.