A Museum Calibrated For Success


A crucial part of Rankin’s job is working in concert with the museum board of 24 trustees and 10 advisory council members that have monthly board meetings, committee meetings and an annual retreat to plan for the museum’s future. The board is very much a part of the fundraising that happens at the museum and raises well over $400,000 annually for the museum budget through two events — an annual campaign that culminates with the Heritage Ranch Gala and ¡FANDANGO!, a fall fundraiser that took place this year on Oct. 11 at the museum.

Rankin advises that the $1.5 million budget is made up of one-third earned income, one-third fundraising and one-third government support. According to her, it’s consistent with industry best practices and is the appropriate mix because it spreads the risk. The museum is not too heavily dependent on either of the single items, but like a three-legged stool, each area must be strongly supported or the entire process could fail.

“A huge part of the trustees’ and advisors’ fundraising success is due to the generous response from the local community when contacted about donations. Without the community’s commitment to making the museum a priority in their giving, the museum would not be what it is today, nor would it have a future.”

A  big part of the museum’s appeal is the role it plays in preserving our regional heritage and sharing it with local school children. Contracts with local school districts assure 4th and/or 7th graders studying Texas history supplement classroom learning with a field trip to the museum.  Museum visitor studies have established there is a positive link between visiting museums and academic success, so Rankin believes it is imperative for children in the RGV to get to experience this firsthand at MOSTHistory. “A child’s exposure to museums early in life has a tremendous impact on his or her development of a love of learning, and that is really key to success in life.”

When museum leaders and staff were raising funds to expand the museum, they told foundations they were trying to bring the kind of experience one would find in a major metropolitan area to the RGV. By touring this beautiful facility filled with so much historical inspiration, one can clearly see they succeeded. Don’t miss this grand museum!

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