Expansion plans

A plan for building is quite possibly one of the biggest commitments in the life of a museum.  From financial burdens to legal requirements, the process of procuring or constructing a new facility requires total dedication.  In a field where institutions are increasingly cash-strapped, this can be a nerve-wracking proposition to say the least.  With proper planning and an awareness of the challenges ahead, a museum can successfully manage the construction of a new facility.  Planning for expansion must not be a solitary quest; rather it should be an open-minded dialogue that involves community members, museum staff, contractors and potential donors.  Museum managers must be willing to take the time to examine their needs as well as the needs of groups who will utilize the facility.  In addition to considering the human needs of the area, finances must be planned out.  Can the museum fund the unexpected costs of a new facility?  Will donors and attendance keep pace with expenditures?  No one person can truly know the answers to these questions.  When it comes down to it, a museum must be willing to take a well-educated risk in beginning a new building project.

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One Response to Expansion plans

  1. ktcoin says:

    Geoff, I find this concept of a well educated risk a great concept for this topic. Because of my participation on the Building Committee I am starting to understand the idea of risk beyond the economic effects to the institution better than when you first posted. By committing to a community and becoming invested, they in turn become invested in you. The community interplay would be undermined were the building to be unsuccessful or fall short of their hopes. I fully see the benefit of involving the community in the planning stages of the museum building. However, at some point it becomes the museum professionals’ job to take that data gathered from community focus groups out of the hands of the community and create a feasible plan. And that is the educated risk, the risk of disappointing a party that has invested in the institution.

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