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Strategic Restructuring Plan - October 2012

Museum L-A announces a strategic restructuring plan for Efficiencies and Growth

October 12, 2013

Museum L-A announces a strategic restructuring plan designed to enable it to meet current financial challenges while moving toward enhancing its future services, programs and spaces.  This plan includes a restructuring of staff, hours, programs and events, greater emphasis on earned revenues, and an ambitious multi-year fundraising campaign called “Bridge to the Future” with the goal of raising $85,000 a year for three years to help the organization continue current operations while moving toward the objective of moving closer to its vision for a new home for the Museum. 

Our commitment to the community is unwavering. We are on a bridge to the future with a BIG and BOLD project, a new museum that will have huge significance in our communities and tells the rich stories of us as a people.  We invite the community to become part of this worthy project that will leave a living legacy to our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Federal, state and local grant opportunities have declined and the museum has lost nearly 50 percent of its income from grants which it still relied heavily upon.  We are showing growth in almost all our programs but are still too young to have gotten to a full potential of resources to sustain everything that we do.  It’s created a “perfect storm” of challenges for the museum, however, throughout it all; the Museum has remained debt free.

When Museum L-A first opened its doors in 2004, plans called for a small downtown museum to preserve and showcase the rich and storied history of the textile industry in the greater Lewiston-Auburn area.  As the benefits of having a community museum began to be felt, so did requests and demands for new exhibits, programs, events, and community interactions.  The Museum collections include over 8,000 documents, photographs and artifacts that are priceless for telling the story of our communities.  Every day, community members bring in more artifacts adding amazing richness to that story but also requiring time and resources for the care and preservation of these important collections.

In the City of Lewiston’s recent Riverfront Island Master Plan, Museum L-A’s plan to build a new museum on the riverfront of Lewiston-Auburn was cited as being not only a catalyst but a needed anchor to the future revitalization of the downtown areas by city consultants. 

“Museum L-A is a beacon that draws people to our community, a destination that is enjoyed by all ages”, says City of Lewiston’s Mayor Robert Macdonald.  “It celebrates our proud heritage and is an interesting, educational venue for visitors, schools, college students, and residents to experience.  We are very fortunate to have such a treasure in L-A, as history comes alive and positively impacts those who walk through the Museum’s doors.” 

People often ask:  “What will this mean to our younger generations that do not have a relationship to our past or our present day world class businesses?”  The Museum can show it is having an impact with children, young adults and visitors.  Our message is not just about machinery but the strong Spirit of our working ancestors as we connect generations who learn from each other and are inspired by this spirit.  It is thrilling to watch students of all ages become innovators, gain leadership experience, develop a work ethic and discover self-confidence or visitors moved to reexamine their own take on life.

Guests from 41 states and 12 countries have visited the museum which averages nearly 3,500 attendees per year plus over 5500 attendees to special events.  Tickets sold at the door account for just 2 percent of revenue since much is done free for the community at this point.  Having invested nearly $1.3 million into the 1864 built former Camden Yarns Mill and future home of Museum L-A, museum officials can show that programs and events hosted by a small staff of four employees and nearly 50 volunteers, the lifeblood of the organization, has brought in $4.3 million to the community so far.

We realize that sometimes restructuring to become stronger is the responsible thing to do. Museum L-A is weathering a “perfect storm” of events while becoming a more significant community project than originally anticipated.  It needs to become a major part of the cities as most other cities do.  The Museum needs to have people in the community see this as “our museum” or run the risk of losing the museum through these trying times. 

Moving forward reflects Museum L-A’s significance in the community – now and in the future. This includes:
• Capacity to contribute to Lewiston-Auburn’s distinctiveness, pride, sense of place, and competitiveness as a place to live, work, play, and visit.
• Serving as a community change agent, helping boost Lewiston-Auburn and encourage people to build on its past, celebrate the present and invest in its future.
• Sustainability as an institution.
• Becoming the launch pad to participate in community development affairs to help shape the experience of Lewiston-Auburn today and tomorrow.

Our ancestors said:  “We can do it!” and did it.  With the communities help, so can we.

We need you believing in us like:  our elderly supporter who sends $2 each year and apologizes she can’t do more; the nine year old who left our program saying – “I didn’t know learning could be so much fun”; the local businessman who stopped in and gave us a $5,000 check saying “this is too important for the community-here’s a beginning to your $85,000 quest”; or, the young man who called to see if he could help by becoming a board member.  Come see for yourself and tell us how we can become more vital, more important and reflect you, your family, your business and our community better. 

Share where you see us fit in the scheme of a future vibrant community.  Call me at 207-333-3881 or email with questions or comments.   

Rachel Desgrosseilliers,
Executive Director

About Us > Strategic Restructuring Plan - October 2012