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More FAQs

Additional questions have been received and responses will be posted soon.


What about a museum of science or art?
How will the museum be funded? By who?
What steps are needed to start the museum?
Is Arlington interesting enough to have a museum?
Will subjects in the museum interest sports fans?
Will the museum reach a broader audience than sports?
What renovations or changes are needed to the stadium?
What are the potential visitor statistics based on?
How can we learn more about the museum concept?
How will the museum impact the Cultural Arts District?
Is it important or useful to learn about the past?

Additional questions and answers will be posted as needed.



What about a museum of science or art?


Dallas and Fort Worth have excellent science and art museums. A
Museum of Culture is highly versatile in that it may host exhibits and topical presentations that are related to science and art, but it may also host unique exhibits and presentations that don't fit well in the areas of science or art. There is a growing trend of science and art museums hosting exhibits about culture and anthropology, conspicuously outside of their subject areas, in order to increase public interest. This is also partly because there is a lack of museums of Culture in some major cities, like Dallas and Houston.

Though the broad topic of Culture is not entirely new as a museum subject or theme (as mentioned earlier, the overall content of the Smithsonian Institution can be broadly described as the national museum of culture), but it is an area in which Arlington can establish a pioneering vision and precedent that will interest many other cities, much in the way the movement toward children's museum expanded across the nation. There were fewer than 40 children's museums in 1975; 80 more opened from 1976 to 1990.



How will the museum be funded? By who?


There are similarities and differences between funding museums and sports teams. Like sports teams, museums rely on admission fees, special events, memberships (sort of like season ticket buyers) and sponsors. But museums also rely on gifts from individual donors and private foundations, as well as merit-based grants that are usually offered through public agencies.

There are many models for funding activities within museums and parks, including matching grants, basically enabling the museum to increase the value of its programming by providing subsidized funding to university and community producers, who provide additional matching funds through their donor channels, making it easily possible for them to meet their matching fund requirements and providing access to exceptional museum and event facilities, and interested audiences, at extremely low costs and reduced efforts.

Grants to the museum from state and federal government agencies will increase funding and economic activity coming into Arlington and surrounding communities. Currently, substantial funding is distributed to cultural assets in many other major American cities, while Arlington and many other Texas cities miss this opportunity for lack of substantial cultural assets. Local funding can also be used for incentives to increase economic activity for the city.

There are numerous other funding sources and benefits, which will be described in future presentations.



What steps are needed to start the museum?


Having a potential location is the first and most important step. This requires visionary leadership in Arlington or another ambitious Texas community. Steps that will follow include: Establishment of a capable museum founding board; Establishment of university and community advisory boards; Establishment of foundations to support certain museum costs (such as touring exhibit development) and specific aspects of operation; Hiring professional museum staff; Exhibit and program development, along with hospitality services; And, implementation of operations, such as membership, marketing and community relations offices.



Is Arlington interesting enough to have a museum?


Admittedly, Arlington lacks the history, architecture, natural environment, or significant world heritage sites of many U.S. and international tourism destinations. But Arlington, along with its neighboring communities - Grand Prairie, Irving and others - has world-leading diverse populations. Though it was once thought to be key to the identity of global cities, like New York and San Francisco, and important to American heritage, diverse cultures have been critical in the development of Texas and its unique identity, as immigrant populations that passed through the port of Galveston were only outnumbered in the Nineteenth Century by those who arrived at Ellis Island.

Arlington is also in the unique position of being the geographic center of the Metroplex, with Dallas and Fort Worth being like two gravitational stars in a solar system. The fascinating historic events, cultural developments and contributions to civilization that have occurred in the two cities, while sometimes taken for granted in Texas, are of great interest to people around the world. The Metroplex lies in a distinctive transition zone between eastern and western natural environments and indigenous cultures of the United States.

And consider the vastly different places and cultures of the broader region (drawing an imaginary circle with a 500-600 mile radius), with the Metroplex as an important hub and communities across the southcentral United States (Santa Fe, Kansas City, Memphis, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Brownsville, El Paso and many more) having interesting, symbiotic relationships with Dallas and Fort Worth throughout their histories.

It's true, a museum about Arlington would struggle to attract visitors, but a museum about the civilizations and cultures of the region and the larger world, which Dallas-Fort Worth is closely connected with, is the best subject matter to attract wide participation and satisfy visitor's interests.



Will subjects in the museum interest sports fans?


Yes. Most sports fans have diverse interests - music, engineering, geography, transportation history, heritage, media, climate, or others - in the broad subject matter of Culture. In fact, sports and athletic activities are part of several important aspects of our ways of life - health, pastime activities, media influences, social life, etc. - and certain to be represented in the museum.

The museum will have a critical role in the event that Arlington, Dallas or Fort Worth wish to bid on significant international events, such as the Olympic Games or World Cup, in the future. Search committees for major national and international events expect communities to be able to provide much more than athletic facilities and general entertainment. They are looking for world-class interests, valuable cultural resources, reputations as tourism destinations, excellent quality of life, transportation options, and more.

In most prominent American cities (like Washington DC, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles), and certainly in the top international cities (London, Paris, Beijing...), cultural institutions attract more visitors than athletic events. The attendance numbers for cultural institutions in world class cities include significant local participation and very prominent international tourism.

Cultural attractions - museums, festivals, arts and cultural programs, and innovative parks - are also important for cities to successfully attract prominent conferences and conventions. With Arlington's desire to increase and maintain convention business, the establishment of museums and cultural activities is critically important.

Additionally, museums are accessible many more days than seasonal sports activities (museums usually open 360+ days, four times as many days as Arlington's regular season sports events - 82 baseball games and 8 football games), providing activities and interests for conference participants, as well as support for local businesses and transportation services.



Will the museum reach a broader audience than sports?


Certainly. In Texas, sports may be thought of as the top attraction, but cultural tourism is a greater attraction around the world, even in parts of the Lone Star State. The Smithsonian Institution units attract more visitors than total ticket buyers for all 36 teams during and NFL season. Museums like the American Museum of Natural History (NYC), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) and the British Museum (London) attract 5-6 million visitors annually. In Houston, the top three museums receive more visitors than the top three professional sports teams (a statistic that is true for most cities with significant cultural attractions).

Visitor numbers for all cultural attractions include many sports fans. But many people - local citizens and international visitors - seek much broader interests, including intellectual pursuits in humanities, history and other social sciences. Many of their interests are found in great museums of
Culture - the Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC), the British Museum (London), the Louvre (Paris), the Museum of Asian Civilizations (Singapore), the National Museums of World Culture (Sweden), the National Museum of Anthropology (Mexico City), the Museum of New Mexico (Santa Fe), the Palace Museum (Beijing), and many others.

Another major consideration is access to the museum by the general public. With the escalating costs in sports and popular entertainment, cities need to provide high quality activities for all of their citizens on all economic levels. The museum, as most do, is able to provide a free admission day or evening each week. A community outreach office can provide reduced fees and memberships based on need. The museum will likely be able to provide reduced fees in exchange for in-kind support of community members and organizations. And, of course, student discounts are critical to effectively engage schools and universities.



What renovations or changes to the stadium are needed?


About 1/4 of the stadium concourse is enclosed with glass. Windows and doors will be needed to enclose all or most of the remaining concourse levels, so they can be air conditioned and protected from the elements. There are many easy solutions and simple upgrades needed to retrofit the stadium, since it basically serves visitor needs for sports events in similar ways to highly active, program-oriented museums and other prominent event spaces.

There are a few cases where vision and innovative planning are needed, including: Interior pedestrian traffic flow during major events and simultaneous museum activities; Effective utilization of the top, roof-level concourse; And, conversion of a portion of seating areas to theaters. But remember, Texas sent men to the moon and built the first domed stadium, the Astrodome, so these are easily surmountable challenges.

Part of the logistical issues will be solved with allocation of space in the planning, including: Museum halls, labs and program spaces; Co-use community program spaces; And, a versatile education center. Additional information will be posted soon.



What are the potential visitor statistics based on?


The
Museum of Culture and festival grounds will serve 2-5 million visitors. Potential visitors are based on a variety of similar activities and and facilities, with many sources noted below. These are the basic visitor numbers, which have been forecast based on many similar operations:

Museum attendance, 1-2 million - based on numerous museums, including: National Museum of the American Indian (Washington DC) 1.2 million; Field Museum (Chicago) 1.4 million; Houston Museum of Natural Science (Houston) over 2 million.

Festival events, 1-2 million - based on data from various festival sites in prominent U.S. cities, including Lafayette Square (New Orleans), French Market (New Orleans), Eleanor Tinsley Park (Houston), Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park (Houston), Jay Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago), Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica), and others. Since the projects are based on events of various sizes, following are the projected numbers:

10 major weekend events (2-3 days near or at capacity) x 100,000 = 1 million
120 festival concerts (similar to Houston and Chicago) x 4-6,000 = 480-720,000
20-30 cultural celebrations (including vendor markets) x 2,000 = 40-60,000

Educational use, 600,000 - based on various activities produced by community and local education organizations at various sized venues, including Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago), New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Old U.S. Mint (New Orleans), New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (New Orleans), New Orleans Healing Center (New Orleans), United Way of Greater Houston (Houston), University of Houston (Houston), University of Texas (Austin), Fort Worth Community Arts Center (Fort Worth), Fort Worth Botanic Garden (Fort Worth), and others.

School group tours, 400,000 - based on school groups/student tours to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Due to Arlington's central location, a major educational museum may draw from a larger student population across the entire Dallas-Fort Worth region as it becomes an established national and international attraction.

More ambitious vistor numbers may be possible in the future. Cultural interests have much greater potential reach. The Smithsonian Institution (Washington DC) attracts 28-30 million visitors annually, with several of its museum units, like the National Museum of American History, attracting 5-7 million visitors each. The American Museum of Natural History (New York City) attracts 5 million visitors annualy, as does the British Museum in London, England.



How can we learn more about the museum concept?


Imagine a Museum will provide presentations. More details will follow.



How will the museum impact the Cultural Arts District?


Information will be posted soon.



Is it important or useful to learn about the past?


Information will be posted soon.



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GALLERY AND LINKS



Samba music and dance from Brazil
The museum is capable to present exciting international performances, such as Samba, the music and dance of Brazil's carnival celebrations.


Omani textiles and lifeways
An Omani woman demonstrates fiber arts and textiles, while offfering insights into the nomadic lifeways of some desert peoples.


Cabeza de Vaca commemorative statue
From Spanish explorations, Texas boasts the oldest written history of places inside the modern boundaries of the United States.


Science impacts our ways of life
Perhaps no aspect of culture and exchange has impacted our lifeways more since the Industrial Revolution than science and energy.


Space impacts our ways of life
Space exploration and the production of Space-Age materials are making rapid changes and raising new questions about our ways of life.


The Texas music legacy is diverse
The Texas music legacy ranks among the most significant in the nation, with many important artists and traditions coming from Dallas-Fort Worth, yet it is among the most underutilized cultural and educational resources. The diverse range of music traditions and innovations is a critical part of the Texas identity and our cultural influences.


The Texas music legacy is diverse
Across the United States, centers like the Smithsonian Institution, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Cleveland), Country Music Hall of Fame (Nashville), Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Experience Music Project (Seattle), and many others, serve to support thriving music industries and create substantial economic activity.


Omani textiles and lifeways
While many may think of culture based on traditional activities and arts, counter-culture movements are similarly interesting and important to understand.




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