COUNTY and CITY OF VENTURA EACH APPROVE $125,000 FOR MUSEUM; REINVENTION PLAN MOVES FORWARD

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has 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. Earlier this month, the city of Ventura also approved a $125,000 investment to the museum.

Part of the plan includes appropriately cataloging and storing the museum’s collection which includes many archives from the County. The funding also helps the museum continue operations for the next six months and helps fund a capital campaign and develop a sustainable operational model.

“The funding from the county and city of Ventura will enable the museum to remain open and take crucial steps forward to ensure a healthy fiscal future for the museum,” said Museum Interim Executive Director Elena Brokaw. In the museum’s proposal to county and city officials, she outlined an action plan that will make significant progress toward several outcomes.

Key outcomes of the plan include:

  • 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.
  • Establish partnerships with education agencies throughout the county to better serve young audiences and expand the museum’s footprint to serve the entire county.
  • 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.

Founded by the County of Ventura in 1913, The Museum of Ventura County (MVC) serves county residents and visitors, caring for a vast collection of 180,000 historical artifacts, art works, official documents and agricultural machinery and implements. The MVC collection is unlike any other in the County – it holds more than a century of our county’s history and art.

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 in Ventura and the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula, as well as the MVC Research Library, which is located at the Ventura Museum. The library is a branch of the County of Ventura Library system and the repository for County and newspaper archives.

With a fiscal year 2016 – 2017 operating budget of $1,164,670, the museum offers educational programs and exhibitions that serve approximately 50,000 people annually.

The museum provides unique services that enrich the community, its residents and visitors:

  • Care and housing for the County of Ventura’s one-of-a-kind historical collection, which has been combined with more recent acquisitions to amass over 30,000 artifacts and pieces of fine art that span more than a century.
  • MVC’s County Library branch and repository houses over 150,000 historic documents that range from the time when the Chumash Indians were the predominant culture in the county, through the Mission and Rancho periods, early settlement, commercialization and industrialization to the present.
  • Educational hands-on tours serve thousands of children annually.
  • Free access for all members of our community to exhibitions and programs on the first Sunday of each month.
  • Thought-provoking exhibitions and gallery talks and lectures that tell stories, help build understanding of the past, celebrate the present and act for a better future.

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.

The Museum of Ventura County, through its collections, exhibits, educational programs and publications, celebrates the history, art, and culture of Ventura County and the Channel Islands. Located at 100 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001, the museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed Monday). Admission is $5.00 Adults (18 years and older), $3.00 Seniors (62 and over) and Students with ID, $1.00 Children (17-6 years old); Children 5 years old and younger are free. For information, visit venturamuseum.org or call 805-653-0323.