"Look at the Museumpreneurs website. Many businesses and many retailers would jump at the chance to work with museums in this way. I was delighted to find their mission statement. For better or worse, that sums up my approach pretty well."
In 2011, I was engaged by Shire Books to create a project to deepen its relationship with museums. The result was Museumpreneurs - a site to showcase and encourage entrepreneurial activity in the museum sector.
It seemed to me - and still does seem - that museums have a very strong set of opportunities open to them to generate money. Museums have a range of very powerfully assets - they are often located in unusual and special buildings and locations; they house unique, visually arresting objects; they have a number of built-in audiences; they have retail, and often sell food and drink. Yet despite these assets, museums - and the museum sector - remains largely dependent on public funding and philanthropy. While this can work, it also leaves museums vulnerable to changes in funding policy.
Its my, strongly-held, belief that the golden age of the museum has yet to come, and that museums have all the ingredients they need to generate substantial income that can be used to open up new fields of work. Why has this not happened to date? Perhaps because museums don't believe it to be possible.
“We want to explore what it means for a museum to be entrepreneurial, we want to showcase museums already being entrepreneurial, and we want to help more museums be more entrepreneurial more of the time”
- Museumpreneurs mission statement