Tacoma Art Museum: Will Less Be More?
Paula A. Wilson, Cameron Fellows
May 1, 2015
Strategy & General Management
Not-for-profit management, not-for-profit accounting, and managerial accounting.
Journal of Case Studies
The Tacoma Art Museum was a regional, mid-sized museum in Western Washington dedicated to collecting and exhibiting Northwest art. The Museum’s leadership had worked hard toward achieving its vision as a national model for regional museums. Elements of the vision included engaging, inspiring, and building community through art. Recently, the Director and the Deputy Director of Finance discussed whether to offer free admission to all visitors all the time. The Director supported the idea of free admission, as she believed it would increase the number of visitors in total and from targeted underrepresented groups. However, the Deputy Director expressed concern over the financial impact of free admission. The decision would require using money from the endowment to cover the lost revenue. The Director and Deputy Director had less than one week to sort through the issues, reach agreement, and to prepare their case for presentation to the Board of Trustees.