Planning Museum Renovations

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You’ve just been appointed to renovate a rather dusty old room in Dade County’s fabulous Vizcaya Museum and Residence. After all the award-winning Florida residential renovations you’ve performed, you finally are in a position to do what you’ve been advocating for several years: a complete renovation of the room. The only problem is that you’ve never managed a museum renovation before. Therefore, you need to carefully plan the project and make sure you are working with experienced partners. Here are the steps you will need to succeed:

1)    Establish a committee: You can’t do this by yourself so choose allies within the museum and the community. Try to pick people you get along with, since this will be a trying and arduous task. Each committee member will be expected to give a significant amount of time to the project. Knowledge of business, management, budgeting, and/or architecture are a significant plus when evaluating candidates. A refined sense of taste wouldn’t hurt, either.

2)    Establish a budget: You renovation will be grand or modest depending on how well it is funded. As lead renovator, you know one of your jobs is to wisely spend philanthropic gifts, so you need to gear up for some phone-calling to thank rich patrons. The best weapon in your arsenal is naming – a donor can name anything from a water fountain to a wing, if the price is right. Use a spreadsheet to help you set a realistic budget, based on small, medium and large renovation projects.

3)    Refine proposals: You will have received a Request for Proposal (RFP) that sets out the scope and alternatives for the renovation. You will have to factor in requirements and constraints, both budgetary and time-wise. Specify which sections of the museum room you wish to renovate, and what new features are to be added to the room.

4)    Hold presentations: Each board member will want to have a set of initial meetings that culminates in a formal presentation. Always take notes and keep track of each member’s issues and concerns. Give freely of your time and knowledge if you want to get the best possible result.

5)    Evaluate suggestions: You will receive back suggestions often composed of pages of text and drawings. The suggestions may contain details for everything from ceilings to carpets. Pay attention to materials and finishes, and ask to use local vendors where possible.

6)    Go to work: Now that everyone agrees on the final vision, have at it! Your years of experience will no doubt yield a smashing result and will be a real feather in your cap!