By CLAIRE ROGERS
In September of last year, the Fort Bend County Museum Association hired a strategic planning firm to help us plan for future growth. Our focus for this project was the Fort Bend Museum in Richmond; as the attendance for school programs and other activities has grown, the facilities
have proven to be inadequate. The basic question: How can we use our current facilities (and possible new buildings) in the most efficient and effective manner to achieve our mission?
The firm we hired, Museum Insights, took our question and expanded it, evaluating all the
possibilities and answering it in ways that we did not expect. And we are thrilled with the results!
One of the first answers was to a question we did not know to ask: What kind of museum is the Fort Bend Museum? It is a community museum, not a destination museum. (The George Ranch Historical Park is more of a destination, reaching out to visitors from all over the world.)
The second question: As a community museum, what is our mission?
The Fort Bend Museum enriches the lives of Fort Bend County’s residents and visitors through exhibits, programs and activities that preserve and celebrate the county’s rich and varied history and culture.
In order to be the best community museum, the Fort Bend Museum will be:
- We will continue to host a wide variety of programs, activities and field trips that educate and entertain children as they learn about the history of our county.
- An inspiring and welcoming place for residents and visitors that celebrates Fort Bend County. We will commit to providing exhibits and programs that celebrate the history of our entire county—not just the county seat of Richmond, but all our people and cultures— from the original Old 300 settlers to the new immigrants and everyone in between.
- A secure repository for the county’s cultural heritage artifacts and archives. We commit to preserve the history and the physical artifacts of that history, and commit to displaying items from that collection for the education and enjoyment of our community.
- A community landmark and gathering place that brings people together for a wide variety of public and private events.
A key element to the strategic plan is the use of space. The Museum Association owns many
historic structures in Richmond, both on the Moore Home property and in Decker Park several blocks away. These structures are not all well suited for the programs and exhibits that we seek to provide.
Museum Insights recommends that we:
1) Centralize the exhibits,
programs, collections and staff;
2) Focus on the facilities needed
for the Museum’s programs for school children and county
3) Minimize the number of buildings the Association owns and must maintain.
Further expansion of the facilities is necessary for our current and future needs. This expansion will be focused on the property surrounding the Museum’s most striking artifact: the Moore Home.
How these plans will develop is yet to be decided. But our staff and our board of directors are excited about the prospects! And we hope you are too!
Download the Museum Insights presentation here.