Kitchener, ON – After an audit by BDO THEMUSEUM held its Annual General Meeting on September 16th, when it was announced that the not-for-profit charitable organization experienced one of the most successful fiscal years in its twelve year history. THEMUSEUM’s fiscal year ended June 30th, 2015 and saw an 18.4% ($160,312) increase in earned revenue, for a total annual earned revenue of $869,621.
“We had an extremely successful year financially, in terms of programming as well as engaging the community of South Western Ontario,” said David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM. “Throughout the year we presented world-class content, received international recognition for our exhibitions, held prominent events for the public and the public responded.”
In the 2014-15 year, THEMUSEUM’s attendance grew by a staggering 41% as 89,917 visitors came through the building to experience the many attractions and events. THEMUSEUM offered multiple exhibitions, including Unwrapping Egypt, which was made possible through international partnerships, Getting Naked, which garnered both national and international acclaim, and its current Dinosaurs | The Edge of Extinction, which has attracted thousands of students and families from Waterloo Region. It has also become a tourist destination for those from outside the region.
“THEMUSEUM offered various accessibility programs ensuring visitors from low-income families have access to all its exhibitions and programs. In addition we offer $5.00-Wednesdays and free programming at numerous public festivals and events,” continued Marskell.
“We could not be more proud of our entire team at THEMUSEUM,” commented Frank Boutzis, President of THEMUSEUM’s Board of Directors. “We believe that David and our staff continue to awe, inspire and enlighten our community through their relentless pursuit of cultural content which was relevant and validated by our attendance.”
THEMUSEUM’s educational program’s attendance also improved, with approximately 13,000 students visiting; a 44% increase from last year. These twenty-five programs are designed to meet Ontario curriculum standards by THEMUSEUM’s Teacher-in-Residence, and are taught by interpretative staff members, which includes six Ontario Certified Teachers.
While THEMUSEUM is underfunded compared to other cultural organizations locally and across the country, it has remained in control of its operations, making difficult and strategic financial decisions to ensure its continuance.
Last year, THEMUSEUM received approximately 27% of its funding from local municipalities meaning it had to generate in excess of 70% of its operating budget to achieve the level of programming the community has come to expect. Municipal or per capita funding is currently under review by the municipalities with a report to the various councils being released in October.
“This community deserves world class cultural attractions and corporate leaders must begin to understand the value of a vibrant cultural community,” said Marskell. “One outstanding example comes from Gerry Remers of Christie Digital who continues to show leadership in supporting THEMUSEUM and many other cultural organizations. This goes a long way to maintaining and attracting skilled workers for the technology community.”
The Christie Entertainment Series, introduced last fall, was a major success in attracting thousands of young professionals and university students downtown.
THEMUSEUM will soon be announcing details for a number of new initiatives over the next year including its upcoming exhibitions LIGHT Illuminated, which celebrates the United Nations Year of Light (2015), The Havana Dialogues | 70 Years of Canadian-Cuban Diplomatic Relations, Ice Age Mammals and The Aging Dialogues. In addition THEMUSEUM will launch a new restaurant, Underground Studio MakerSpace and continue building upon its Web Panel.
“From a short term perspective, THEMUSEUM had a very successful year and from a long term perspective, THEMUSEUM remains optimistic,” continued Marskell. “Next year will have its challenges with ION construction, uncertain financial markets and the review of per capita funding by the municipalities.”