JMC Board Approves Next Step in Depot Plan, April 13, 2011

In a pleasantly surprising move, the Joplin Globe reports this morning that the boards which control the Joplin Museum Complex voted to approve a move forward to the next phase of the plan to restore the Union Depot as a new home for the museum. It was not without some concerns, however, as the boards did manage to find something to worry over; that being the cost of moving to a restored depot building and then, bafflingly, the cost of staffing it. Apparently, the new expected operating budget must be higher than the present one for the museum, or at least the Boards assume such.

None the less, we applaud the JMC boards for voting to go forward and hope that they continue to be bold and engage the future of Joplin and the museum.  The final result will only be beneficial to both.

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5 Responses to “JMC Board Approves Next Step in Depot Plan, April 13, 2011”

  • Comment from Old Crow

    I do not applaud the board’s actions. It seems like they are still playing games with Mark Rohr. Plus, it shows their unrealistic greed. If the museum can get by with volunteers, a cat, and Brad there is no need to substantially increase the staff.

    If anything, they should dump Belk, hire a museum professional to head up the JMC; hire a curator who has experience in print, organic, and photographic collections; hire a part-time exhibit designer (because God knows that those outdated, mothballed exhibits on cookie cutters and the circus needs to go); use a contract grant writer (if they can’t get one through the city); and find some nice docents.

    I suspect that they are resentful of the fact that Rohr, an “outsider” because he is not a Joplin native or local good old boy, came up with not only the idea, but has funding lined up. If anything, let the plan go forward. At the very least, if it fails, the boards can just blame it all on Rohr (who I do support wholeheartedly).

    The fact that the people of Joplin have allowed the museum to be overseen by a man who has no idea how to run a museum or how to fund raise is appalling.

  • Comment from Larry Cebula

    Wait…MOVE the depot? I have not been following the story, but is that really the plan?

  • Comment from Brown

    That’d be some plan. Unfortunately, the only moving involved would be the collections (maybe leave the circus and cookie cutter stuff behind – as Old Crow suggests) to the depot. I recall the museum expert who rolled through last year suggested adding some professional staff, but presumably the existing staff would also be moved for good or bad.

  • Comment from Conspectus

    I also agree with “Old Crow.” Just because someone is a great historian or curator does not necessarily mean they should lead an organization. If that individual must lead, they should have continuing professional development, a mentor, and a strong board of directors.

    Yes, the board should be concern regarding the long-term sustainability of the museum. However, cost of the move should not be a road block. The board should be working on securing financial support or soliciting in-kind gifts for the transition. A corner stone of fundraising is about building relationships and keeping everyone informed.

    Museums (and nonprofits) must develop multiple revenue streams, such as dynamic programing, retail, galas, community partnerships, sponsorships, grant funding, corporate & individual support. I doubt the museum has a sustainability plan or even the annual resource development plan written and in place. It might be why they are floundering with the potential move. While I agree a grant writer should be secured, another alternated is hiring a Director of Resource Development who is a strong grant writer. However, ultimately, it is the board of directors and the executive that are the leads in fundraising efforts.

    And during this transition is an excellent time to “re-brand” the museum and hire solid professional staff. If the museum plays its cards right, during the transition they would not have to shut down but implement a program like the Walker Art Museum. “Walker Without Walls” successfully engaged the community and built momentum for their new facility while all the while having no building. I have a feeling the museum has done very little in community engagement and partnering with other organizations. (FYI- story time is not community engagement in my book. The last museum I worked at held a community “Time Travel” day and we had donated costumes from costume warehouses, antiques cars from the auto club, photographers, etc… We engaged the neighborhood, businesses and schools, and built lasting relationships.)

  • Comment from Brown

    Very good points!

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