Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Museum Strategic Planning


Purpose, Mission and Vision Statements
Mission and vision statements are relatively easy to write and the best of them bring people together in a common purpose. They are safe to write because they embody abstract concepts. However, typically museum staff see themselves as being on top of the management aspects. Their vision does not always concur with a museum's Community of Ownership and Interest (COI) expectations/aspirations and as often as not they often do not see 'visioning' as having a real impact on how they go about their work.

More important that the 'vision' is the institution's 'purpose'. The purpose statement tells you – institution members and its COI – what the institution must do to be relevant – and can be help accountable for. On the other hand the vision is aspirational – and some elasticity can be allowed if the aspiration is not met.

The fundamentally important thing in determining how a contemporary museum is able to shift from the status quo where it wants/needs to be is having a clearly articulated strategic plan. Refining these plans is where the roles governance and management starts to be felt by curators and the institution's COI.

At this point the status quo gives way to new imaginings and new operational sensitivities and sensibilities. While they may be similar to earlier activities by necessity they need not be the same. New sets of accountability also come into play but people need to be both reassured and encouraged by change.

Overall there needs to be a sense of pragmatism in regard to revenue and the value of previous activities in relation to the delivery of cultural dividends and the financial strength of the institution.

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