How do we make museums profitable, increasing both their social and economic capital?
The answer to this question is essential to the future of the museum field. Anne Bergeron and Beth Tuttle attempt to identify the way the most successful museums conduct their business in Magnetic: The Art and Science of Engagement. Bergeron and Tuttle argue that by looking at the business models of successful museums we can identify how they utilize their missions to create staff cohesion, engage diverse audiences, and stay in the black. Bergeron and Tuttle call museums that do these things and do them well “Magnetic Museums.”
According to Bergeron and Tuttle, Magnetic Museums achieve economic results by:
- delivering tangible cultural and civic value
- staying committed to service, engagement, and empowerment of others
- aligning around a compelling vision
- creating experiences that foster lasting bonds with their internal and external communities
When a museum’s vision is shared and nurtured by staff, trustees, stakeholders, and the surrounding community, the potential for economic success increases. But how do museums stay in touch with the needs of their community while balancing their budget and promoting a “culture of collaboration” among staff? What areas of magnetism should a museum attempt to achieve first in order to become essential to their community, thus guaranteeing continued success? In the business world a company’s success would be measured by their profits, but museums are in the people business. Museums must find a way to balance successful community engagement with successful bookkeeping.