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Museum Planning, LLC

What do you do?

No Comments 12 March 2013

MWMuseum Planning LLC

I receive several emails a week asking “what do you do?” (in addition to writing the blog).  The easy answer is “help kids who learn differently”, but that is not a direct answer.  All of the projects I will work on are for informal educational institutions (science centers, children’s museums, traveling exhibitions, natural history museums, art museums).  I will forever be thankful to the museums of my childhood.   My work and this blog has become a passion in support informal education.

My firm Museum Planning, LLC has been part of starting more than 35 museums.  Because of my previous experience working at museums, I think of my firm as a “Freelance Exhibitions Department”.  We join your team to, expand, energize and create a museum.  This approach has worked very well. We become part of museum team, always thinking of the benefit to the project.  The end of the day, I believe strongly in the mission of informal education and want every new museum to succeed.

Services Include, in order of process:

(a) Board formation and development
(b) Development of Museum Mission
(c) Development of Museum Charter
(d) Development of Board of Director’s bylaws
(e) Development of Board of Directors Sub-Committees

Museum Feasibility Studies 
Program Development
(a) Review of institutional documents;
(b) Creation of Exhibition Narrative
Phase II – Business Planning
(a) Create a preliminary project budget
b) Create a preliminary project schedule
(c) Museum staffing requirements (as related to museum operation)
(d) Market Research of area
(e) Facility Costing, Capital Costs (Preliminary Estimates)
(f) Costs to opening
(g) Initial Operating Costs projection
(h) Research of comparable institutions
(i) Recommendations

Museum Master Planning 
Phase I – Program Development
(a) Conduct interviews with the client and designated consultants
(b) Develop an organizational plan and organizational chart for Museum, including both
public and private (back-of-house) spaces
(c) Develop an architectural program. The program to include space use, size,
adjacencies, unique characteristics and specialized technical requirements necessary for
each space.
(d) Make recommendations for other consultants, engineers and design/technical consultants.
The result of the services during Phase I will be a Program Development Package, including, five case studies of benchmark Museums, Organizational Plan, Architectural Program, Project Schedule and recommendations for any additional consultants
Phase II – Master Plan
(a) Collaboration on architectural plans;
(b) Create Exhibition Narrative;
(c) Create Visitor Venn Diagram;
(d) Sample umbrella concepts;
(e) Sample style boards;
(f) Sample graphics for interpretation for “look and feel”;
(g) Renderings

Exhibition Design
(a) Refinement of Exhibition Layout;
(b) Design Development Exhibition Floor Plans;
(c) Drawings of thematic elements;
(d) Material and color palette;
(e) Information of specialty effects;
(f) Data Sheets: exhibition information for each exhibit to include exhibit description, electrical requirements and sources for purchase;
(g) Graphics for each area;
(h) Exhibit label copy; and
(i) Exhibition budget.

Project Management
(a) Negotiate and manage the purchase of custom exhibits;
(b) Coordination with building architecture during construction;
(c) Mark Walhimer on site for installation;
(d) Coordinate graphics with project architect;
(e) Coordinate casework and specialty effects with project architect and fabricators;
(f) Work with vendors to prepare maintenance and repair manuals
(g) Coordinate casework;
(h) Coordinate exhibits with project architect;
(i) Site visits to fabricators to inspect exhibits prior to shipment;
(j) Shipping Coordination
(k) Review of exhibits upon arrival at museum ;
(l) Supervise installation crews;
(m) Art direct on site changes;
(n) Supervise lighting aiming; and
(o) Coordinate with exhibition vendors
(p) Staff Training

Often museums will start with a traveling exhibition prior to a permanent location, or create a traveling exhibition once the museum is opened.

Creation of Traveling Exhibitions
Program Development
(a) Review of documents;
(b) Creation of Exhibition Narrative
Business Planning
(a) Create a preliminary project budget
(b) Create a preliminary project schedule
(c) Museum staffing requirements (as related to museum operation)
(d) Market Research of area
(e) Facility Costing, Capital Costs (Preliminary Estimates)
(f) Costs to opening
(g) Initial Operating Costs projection
(h) Research of comparable institutions
(i) Recommendations
(a) Press
(b) Social Media
Exhibition Design
(a) Conceptual Design
(b) Schematic Design
(c ) Design Development
(d) Construction Documents
(e) Project Management
(f) Negotiate and manage rental agreements
(g) Design of each exhibition layout
(a) Transportation
(b) Exhibition Installation
(c) Art Handling
(d) Staff Training

Museum Project Closeout 
Punch List, Project Accounting, Warranty Issues and Remediation
(a) Create project punch list;
(b) Work with vendors to correct issues of punch list;
(c) Work with vendors to address warranty issues;
(d) Approve final vendor payments; and
(e) Art direct any changes to the exhibition spaces post-opening

Please contact me if I can be of help, Mark


museumplanner.org had a great 2012 – Thank you all !

1 Comment 14 December 2012


museumplanner.org had a wonderful 2012 – Thank you all !

Accomplishments in 2012:

Plans for 2013

  • 2013 Museum Exhibition Cost Survey
  • Top Museums 2012 Report
  • 2012 Best Exhibitions
  • More content on kinetic sculpture
  • More content on “Museum 4.0″
  • museumexhibits.com to become the internets most respected website for “off the shelf exhibits and interactive sculpture”
  • Interactive sculpture installed at a museum
  • First draft of a book on museum planning
  • Museum U” - set up online museum class content
  • Apply for Hub Museum as a NFS Grant
  • Science Center project
  • Continue to build green-exhibits.org as a resource
  • Continue to build museumaccess.org as a resource
  • Continue work on “The Future of Museums” lecture
  • Continued success of “Alcatraz: Life on the Rock”
  • More great clients in 2013 !

Thank you for the great year!  Looking forward to completing more research on the topic of Museum Planning & Exhibition Design at museumplanner.org and working with more great clients in 2013.

~Mark Walhimer
Museum Planner


museumplanner.org is run by Mark Walhimer, Managing Partner of Museum Planning, LLC an exhibition design and museum planning company.

Mark is available for consultations. Feel free to contact him using our contact form.

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