Museum: The McNeil Museum of Art (MMA) is a not-for-profit museum founded in the city of Universal, in the western United States. Originally chartered in 1925, under the founding name Fannel County Museum of Fine Arts, the museum went through a name change in 2000 to reflect the museum’s main benefactor, Jonathon A. McNeil. Before the museum went through a name change, however, in 1997 MMA benefited from a $28 million dollar bond election. This election allowed MMA to expand their facilities in a newer building located in the central business district of Universal City. The newer location was made available to MMA through Jonathon A. McNeil.
Upon Jonathon A. McNeil’s death in 2000, the museum received a $25 million gift from his will so long as the museum’s charter and name was revised. The updated charter stated that the MMA’s purpose was, “to provide an inviting setting for the appreciation of art in its historical and cultural contexts for the benefit of this and successive generations of Fannel County citizens and visitors (pg. 579, Kerin).” Visitors can visit the MMA seven days a week, with extended hours on Thursday nights and shorten hours on Sundays. While the permanent collection is free of charge to the public, visitors can pay a fee of $5.00-$7.50 to see the MMA special exhibits. The MMA has over 1500 works of art that are rotated in-and-out of exhibits throughout the year, occasionally loaning the works of art to other museums. Within the MMA collections visitors can view artwork from pre-Columbia, Africa, and European just to name a few. The artwork within each section is organized in a way that best accents both the MMA, as well as, the artwork itself. Image: The MMA is constantly worried about their public image. The image they hold in public is what Randall Brent III, the museum director, strongly feels drives traffic to the museum. After the MMA moved to their new location, however, the MMA began to suffer in what Brent refers to as ‘no image’. With the new building, the public began to mistake the MMA as a bank or a ‘marble box’. Brent is worried that there is nothing about the outside of the building that screams ‘I’m a museum!” While the MMA is barely making enough money from their endowments to cover their operating costs, Brent is satisfied that the MMA is a public building with free access. Brent feels that the MMA, “has more character than it thinks it has. It has the best balanced collection between Western and non-Western art of any museum in the country. …What we have are the makings of an institution that is very different from other museums, and we ought to be able to make that into an advantage rather than apologize for it (pg. 583, Kerin).” On the contrary of Brent’s beliefs, however, Ashley Mercer, director of development and community affairs, states that according to the MMA’s marketing research people are not aware of what the MMA is or they feel that the MMA is only for specific people. Research shows that the MMA’s main demographic is about 85% college-educated, 60% have household incomes over $70,000, mostly over the age of 40, and 98% white. Furthermore, people are not aware of the wide art collection that the MMA has to offer or that the MMA is located in a prime shopping area of Universal City. Currently with the amenities provided to members of the MMA, members can enjoy free limited/unlimited (according to their membership rank) at the MMA parking lots whenever they are in the downtown area. This is a huge negative for the MMA financially. The overall image of the MMA is highly important. The management team of the MMA must establish what type of clientele they wish to focus on recruiting and retaining. Currently, the MMA has an image that the museum is only for the upper-white-educated class. The MMA management team must establish an image that will draw a wider base demographic that will allow the MMA to boost their declining...
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