Thursday, August 4, 2011

Budget Busters

Forget those boneheads in Washington wrangling over finances!  Here are some practical ways to stretch your own museum and exhibit budgets.

• Adapt things "Off the shelf" (OTS).  Many excellent exhibit and program starters can be found on the actual (or electronic) shelves of hardware, auto supply, and toy stores.  Take a stroll for inspiration, and check out some of my favorite OTS items here.

• You could also latch on to somebody else's "used but usable" exhibit items.  Here are two examples:

Get your own "Garden of Gizmos."  My pal Clifford Wagner, is selling his popular traveling Garden of Gizmos exhibition.  (EDITOR'S NOTE:  We were a little sloppy in the initial wording of this post --- the exhibition is retiring, NOT Clifford!) So here's your chance to get a batch of wonderful kinetic exhibits (interactive art pieces really) at a bargain price with a full one year warranty.  Get the full story here.

Bend Time to your Will  Or at least make a deal for the cool tile sundial pictured below (cute kid not included) from the Brooklyn Children's Museum.  Erik Fiks, BCM's Exhibit Manager says the museum's roof (where the sundial currently resides) is being redone, and they want to find the piece a good home.  Email Erik directly for all the details.

• Solve Design Problems "On the cheap"  Contrary to popular belief, prototyping and exhibit design testing does NOT have to be an expensive and time-consuming proposition.  Learn how to become an "Office Supply Ninja."

Have some other tips to stretch a museum budget?  Share your ideas in the "Comments" section below.

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