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Why Are You Building A Museum?

Why Are You Building A Museum

Sound like an easy question?

Often I lead museum planning sessions for new museums.  The museum has part of the funds raised to create the museum, they have their non profit status, have created a Board of Directors and now are ready to take the next steps.

  • Create fund raising documents
  • Create an Umbrella Concept
  • Start to research potential exhibits

Often my my first questions is “Why are you creating a (insert Children’s Museum, Science Center, Visitor Center)?”

Often the answers are:

  • “Our kids are falling behind in the sciences”
  • “I went to the one in (insert city) and thought we should have one here”
  • “We can’t find workers that can staff our company”

Although they are all okay reasons, the mission of a museum is education and education requires more than a building in requires a culture that can grow and adapt along with the overall culture, that is the tough part of “building” any museum, the easy part is the exhibits and building.  So I often ask the question again why do “you” (each board member) want to create a museum and then the stories start.  Those are the reasons to create the museum.

“Building the building is easy, creating the culture is the tough part”

James “Walkie” Ray, Former Chairman of Discovery Science Center at the opening of DSC

About Mark Walhimer

Mark is Managing Partner of Museum Planning, LLC, a museum planning and exhibition project management firm of interactive educational environments for Science Centers, Children's Museums and Natural History Museums. You can reach Mark at

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