Building Museums: A Handbook for Small and Midsize Organizations

An indispensable tool for renovating and building small and midsized museums, written for those who preserve and interpret our cultural heritage.

Perhaps your museum’s archives have run out of space, or its public programs have outgrown their facility. Perhaps a generous donor or an energetic campaign has provided the funding for a renovation, a new wing, or a new building. Whatever the circumstances, small and midsized museums can find themselves taking on a construction project. But those responsible for seeing that it’s done right—board members, museum professionals, and skilled museum volunteers—are seldom experienced in the high-stakes world of construction management.

This handbook outlines the processes and explains the complexities of renovating and building facilities. It highlights what issues to consider and what questions to ask; it outlines steps from needs assessment and project planning to design development, budgeting, construction, and, finally, settling into the new space; it provides the vocabulary and framework for the specific challenges of museum construction.

Written by staff members at the Minnesota Historical Society who have consulted on scores of building projects, this volume helps museum professionals and volunteers understand the construction process to achieve their goals in a time of tight budgets.

Advance Praise:

“This book is a practical how-to guide for both museum professionals and volunteers to help steer them through the complex and often intimidating issues involved in museum construction, renovation, or expansion. It fills a huge gap in the literature, and I highly recommend it.”

Richard Moe, president emeritus, National Trust for Historic Preservation

“Years of experience with museum projects large and small give the authors a deep understanding of the process of museum construction, which they detail with careful attention to questions sometimes overlooked by institutional planners. This invaluable reference will save museums time and expense.”

Carl R. Nold, president and CEO, Historic New England and chairman emeritus, American Association of Museums

Building Museums demystifies the planning and construction process and translates architectural and technical terminology into accessible and easily understood terms. A must read for any museum board or staff contemplating a building project of any scale.”

Barbara Franco, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

“This book belongs in the reference library of every architectural and engineering firm in America. Don’t contract with anyone until they have read it.”

Jerome Thompson, State Historical Society of Iowa

Robert Herskovitz, outreach and field conservator, Timothy Glines, former manager of outreach services, and David Grabitske, manager of outreach services, have a total of sixty years’ experience in their work for the Minnesota Historical Society advising museums across the state.

Available February 2012 from Minnesota Historical Society Press

Order the print book online at Amazon B&N Powells

Paper: $29.99 ISBN: 978-0-87351-847-5
176pp, 8.5×11, 31 b&w illustrations, glossary, index, appendices, bibliography, 14 tables

E-book: $19.99 ISBN: 978-0-87351-856-7

This MHS Press book is not affiliated with the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums annual symposium, Building Museums®