City Council to give Museum $125,000

Museum of Ventura County given temporary fix.

On July 10 The Ventura City Council voted to give the Museum of Ventura County $125,000 dependent on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approving additional funding and set other conditions.

The Council specified that funding could last up to five years, assuming the museum meets specific benchmarks and Ventura has the money. The Museum must show how it will one day be able to support itself, start assessing a collection of 181,000 documents and artifacts, begin the process of developing an $8 million endowment and look at ways to turn its programs and offerings to be more appealing to all age groups who will visit often .

The Ventura City Council didn’t specify where the money would come from, instead directing the city staff to return with either potential sources of funding or cuts. City Manager Mark Watkins said the money could come from the general fund reserve which
the council is trying to build up to equal three months’ worth of operating expenses.

They agreed that the new half-cent sales tax should not be used to help fund the Museum.

The approval also stipulated that the Museum provide a detailed budget and plan for how it will change the way it operates, as well as meet fundraising milestones.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors Foy the no vote)a one-time contribution of $125,000 to help fund the Museum’s reorganization plan to stem a five-year trend of deficit spending and create a new business model.

The Museum’s Board Of Directors will meet to set a course to accomplish that the City and County stipulated. In part Elena Brokaw Interim Executive Director, Museum of Ventura County stated “With deep gratitude to our community, I’m delighted to report to you that yesterday the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved a one-time contribution of $125,000 to help fund the Museum of Ventura County’s reorganization plan to stem a five-year trend of deficit spending and create a new business model for the museum.’’

“This giant step forward means the museum will be able to implement an aggressive capital campaign and strategic plan for a sustainable operational mode, all while we continue to deliver fresh programming to the community and visitors.”
Including:
A capital campaign to secure an $8 million endowment within the next five years.

Engage a museum consultant to help develop an improved business model that incorporates the endowment income and reduces dependence on private donations.

Assess, inventory, catalog and properly house the museum’s one-of-a-kind collection of Ventura County history and art, which includes the County of Ventura Historical Collection.

Attract an expanded audience to diversify who the museum serves, where the museum provides programming and how the museum engages its audience in museum activities.

MVC exhibitions tell the story of the County’s past and celebrates the art and artists of our community. It operates two museums, the Main Street Museum and the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula, as well as the MVC Research Library. In the past five years, MVC has faced significant operating deficits. In an effort to operate the County’s two most important historical museums, MVC board and staff have worked to reduce costs and expand both earned and contributed revenue, and still faced a budget gap.

“With widespread community support and funding from the County and City, we’re optimistic that our reorganization plan will be successful and the Museum will continue to be a major asset to our community’s quality of life,” Brokaw said.

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