Starting your Own Museum

  1. One-Page Description. Compose a one-page description of this museum. Which kind of museum are you generating? Science centre? Art museum? local history? You may often find that the character of the creator of a museum comes through in the style of the museum that is opened. It makes sense as this founder or the creator, builds a Board of Directors, the Board of Directors hires an Executive Director and the Executive Director hires employees. Most of us tend to gravitate to like-minded people, so the character of the creator is often much like the team of the museum going forward in the future. Be quite frank, is your personal character the character you want reflected in your museum to be opened?


  1. Community Meeting. The next step when establishing a museum should be to arrange a neighbourhood meeting, invite local parents, politicians, teachers, and property developers and inquire, “what kind of museum would you desire?”. Don’t reveal drawings of the proposed end result, don’t explain the type of museum you’re planning. Listen. Gather the names and email addresses of the participants and also inquire if they’d be prepared to attend future meetings. Don’t fall in the trap of “if I build it they will come”, learn what the neighbourhood wants and needs.


  1. Visit Museums. As part of the research process of opening a new a museum, try and visit twenty museums of this kind you’re interested in opening. Read notes and take (if possible) a lot of pictures. What are their annual patron numbers? What are their ticket costs? Learn their operating expenses. Notice the tiniest details from the décor and design to the heating and cooling, what exactly does the flooring staff wear? Request to perform a back of house tour if available”, do they have a museum gift shop? Which sort of ticketing system do they work? Write a thank you note to some staff you meet throughout your trip. Return to your community and reveal the findings of your own museum visits and decide what you can implement in your own project.


  1. Real Estate Developers can be of great help. Try to meet as many property developer and real estate agents in your local area as possible. Nearly all projects you will undertake will in some way involve property. Make friends with property developers, inform them of your own museum thoughts and plans. You’ll be astonished how your strategies will resonate with property developers. You’re providing a community source. Don’t make any arrangements with property developers until you’ve saved at least half of your calculated capital funding.


  1. Do some calculating. Building and beginning a museum is extremely costly, as a guideline, the display area is half of the general building area not to mention you’ll require art storage. Produce a thorough and well-researched business plan, will you get at least 50 percent of your annual expenditures back in the first year? Be conservative with your yearly attendance figures. A lot of museums have found themselves in some trouble using hopeful attendance amounts. Attendance at the second and third season of a brand-new museum can drop off 20%-30% (or more at times). Plan for the long-term as well as the short-term as many museums just plan for the introduction of this museum and discount the strategy ongoing. Strategise till at least your third season, not just till opening.


  1. Control the words. Research all the keywords which describe your intended museum, the more specific you are, the better. Utilise Google AdWords and buy domain names regarding the words which explain and describe quite accurately the nature of the museum. Create a title for your own organisation and be quite particular. Speak to a web design agency for assistance.


  1. Non-Profit. Up to this stage there’s not any requirement to form the business structure as non-profit, it’s in your best interests to wait patiently. Get people involved, build a community around the museum you want, then once you are consolidated, form the non-profit. The top museums are the ones which grow from a neighbourhood need to a community staple. Organise your Board of Directors. Your Board must comprise politicians, business people, investment specialists, property developers, specialists within the discipline of the building industry, educators, possible donors and investors. A bigger Board of Directors (20-25 people) is beneficial when you’re raising capital.


  1. Pre-View Facility. As part of beginning a museum, create a movie-trailer like facility, a more compact version of your yet to be opened museum. The preview museum display might be rather little and only momentary. This preview facility is very good for speaking with prospective donors, you can now walk donors via a little variant of the end museum. Talk to architects and exhibit designers. Inform them of your plans and further ideas, pick an architect and an exhibition interior designer, try to organise a deal such as “we’ve limited funds now, but if you assist us with the preview facility (pay them a lesser fee) you are going to have the contract for the museum proper”.


  1. Generate Funds. Utilise your Board of Directors. In order to be able to even get the idea of starting a new museum of the ground, money is key. Without cash flow, raising money from investors, the community or even museum donors are crucial and without it your project is unlikely to progress too far.


  1. Share the Vision. One of the best fund-raising tools you will find when beginning a new museum project is the formation of your preview exhibition. As you begin the planned procedure, start to walk possible donors throughout the preview centre armed with a potential museum brochure for further information and talk with them about possible exhibits and pieces that would work for the museum, your exhibit plans and link the donors together with the construction design and exhibit design team. Try not to create any guarantees for naming opportunities till you’re confident you will accomplish your capital campaign objectives.