Art cultivates the love for creativity and learning. It also helps those without an artful eye develop subjectivity for art and creative expression.
When the passion for art has overtaken you, consider the business side of it. Start a small museum.
Museums are institutions that promote a deeper understanding of culture and tradition. They are landscapes for the preservation of history, society, and aspects of nature.
As far as education, museums teach critical thinking and broad knowledge of the world.
Take the power of displaying art in your city into your own hands by starting your own small museum. Here’s how to do it independently.
Getting to Know the Community First Helps When Starting a Small Museum
Every community has a history. All of the landmarks and historical buildings within it have stories to tell. But the most important aspect of communities is the people.
When you’re starting a smaller-sized museum, you need backing. That support is both physical and financial. Local business owners can help with investment and funding.
Leaders like teachers and historians can help direct the vision of the museum. Connect with community artists. They may be able to help you save on domestic art once you open.
Every museum has a purpose. Whether it’s fine arts, technology, or science, they all have a reason for existence.
You need to establish an intention for your museum.
Once you institute the purpose of the museum, move forward with incorporation and setting up its bylaws. Establish housekeeping standards—a mission statement and general policies and practices.
Join an alliance like the MA or the AAM. They have a standard code of ethics to help you set governance for your museum.
Budget and Fundraising
Whether you’re building from the ground up or buying preestablished, you pay by the size of the museum. Type and location matter as well.
To avoid any financial surprises, set a realistic budget.
For example, if you’re renovating an existing building or facility, expect to pay between $81 and $135 per square foot. For new construction? $297 to over $400 per square foot.
This doesn’t include the cost of equipment, supplies, exhibitions, and utilities. Also, consider security, insurance, and fire protection.
Knowing these figures up front can help you put together a sound prospectus for investors and grants.
Also, revisit local leaders for sponsorships and donations.
Most museums are non-profit organizations. Keep this in mind when your manning staff. Most staffers who work for non-profit organizations do so on a volunteer basis.
That includes retired educators, politicians, and local artists.
While getting to know key figures in the community, prescreen for potential employees.
Open a Museum
A small museum can pack as much punch as the Smithsonian if you set it up the right way.
Formulize a good marketing strategy and put art on in your city.
Want to learn more about establishing a museum? Take a look at our art features and become inspired by current success stories.