How Crowdfunding can help Museums

    In the past couple of years, crowdfunding has come to India in a big way, and it hasn’t remained restricted to just NGOs or causes. From athletes to musicians, artists and even upcoming designers – crowdfunding has helped many people finance new projects and lend support to ongoing ones.

    Museums, in fact are perhaps still to hop on the bandwagon and explore this medium of raising funds. It only makes sense, because Museums are learning spaces meant for the “crowd”. In conducting even a small fundraiser, Museums can connect with their audiences and make them feel a part of their projects.

    I feel crowdfunding is never limited to the one goal of raising finance. It is also about building a participatory approach to your campaign, and you can end up spreading so much awareness about a Museum and its vision.

    An important part of crowdfunding is the rewards – and this is also a great chance to build interesting memorabilia around your collection which people can collect in lieu of donations!

    But most importantly, crowdfunding is about crowd-mobilising! This is perhaps the best way to understand what audiences think of your museum, what they want and how they champion your vision.

    Here’s an important example I recently came across. Do you remember Dorothy’s ruby shoes from the Wizard of Oz? Yes, its housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and widely popular amidst visitors. The Smithsonian recently launched a Kickstarter campaign of $300,000 to repair and conserve the shoes that were crafted 80 years ago. The campaign “#KeepThemRuby” will study and repair the leather, sequinned and glass -beaded shoes made by the MGM Studio prop department. Curators and Conservators want to understand how best to display them in a new exhibition tentatively titled “On with the Show” scheduled for a 2018 opening. Check out the campaign, and figure if the rewards seem tempting enough!

    The Smithsonian's campaign for Dorothy's Ruby Shoes : #KeepThemRuby
    The Smithsonian’s campaign for Dorothy’s Ruby Shoes : #KeepThemRuby – crowdfunding for conservation.

    In fact, also check out the Smithsonian’s maiden Kickstarter campaign from last year which was again, super successful and indicative of the museum’s popularity as well as their people-connect. The campaign to conserve Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit raised more than they had imagined ($719,779 as against the goal of $500,000); and they raised their goal amount in just 5 days! Isn’t that inspiring?

    But again, we aren’t very far behind either. The Partition Museum, slated for an early 2017 opening in Amritsar, has already started to get people involved in contributing to the museum in cash / kind – or perhaps in memory. Their campaign on Ketto has 17 contributors and Alia Bhatt is one of them! Together they have raised 3,26, 947 [yes,someone actually gave 1947/- as donation]! You too, can do your bit and contribute as small as Rs. 100/-.  Check out their campaigning on twitter!

    Have you tried crowdfunding for your Museum yet? Do share your experience with me here in the comments section or I’m at [email protected]






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