Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Museum troubles

The COURIER put out an article in today's paper examining the financial problems that led to the closure of the Claremont Museum of Art. The article also touched on some plans for the museum's future.

Last night I received a call from Janet Myhre, a CMA board member who was instrumental in finding donors from the museum. By the time we spoke, it was well past deadline and her comments couldn't be included in the article.

She spoke about the museum's major donor, a Los Angeles resident who's been the largest financial backer of the museum. Today's article notes that the donor "cut off her steady stream of funding to the museum, sending museum officials scrambling to find other funding sources."

The statement may be somewhat misleading, according to Myhre. The donor, who wants to remain anonymous, has given over one million dollars to support the museum over the last 3 years. She has also pledged $10 million in assets to the museum as a deferred gift upon her death.

The donor did not abruptly stop giving but offered to match funds raised by the museum in order to see that it was somewhat financially stable. Myhre was critical of those who tried to place blame the donor for the museum's failure as she's seen some negative comments from former staff or board members in newspaper articles.

"How can you blame a donor who'd already given so much and been so generous to the museum?" Myhre said.

In any case, the CMA is not the only museum with financial hardships. The Fresno Metropolitan Museum announced this week it was closing after 26 years in operation.

According to this article from KMPH, the museum had mounting debts, a declining endowment and was heavily subsidized by the city of Fresno.

1 comment:

  1. What a shame that the museum has failed. It was such a wonderful institution to have in Claremont -- and well run despite all of the criticism to the contrary.