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Museum Business Idea

If you have a unique collection of interesting items, you might be interested in learning how to start a museum. This would allow you to turn a hobby into a new business.

A museum can be made from virtually any area of interest. In addition to the standard art museums, you’ll find institutions like a Turkish museum dedicated to hair, a Texas museum filled with dead cockroaches dressed up as celebrities, and the Tokyo museum that honors parasites.

The primary operation of a museum involves collecting and displaying related items of interest. You’ll also be required to act as host and tour guide to the visitors who are intrigued by your offerings.

How To Start A Museum – Getting Started

To get started, you’ll need a display location. Many new museum operators will operate out of their home. If you’re not comfortable with the general public parading through your primary residence, a small outbuilding will work well.

As your collection grows, you can add on to your building or relocate. You will need shelving, glass cases, or other display areas to house your items. While most collectors feel that they could name each and every item that they own, an inventory and organizational method will be required if valuable items are included in the museum.

If you plan on charging an entry fee or running a gift shop, you’ll need computer equipment and software to track your income and expenses. A gift shop will require a cash register, bags or boxes, and a steady supply of interesting items for sale.

Your Museum’s Keys To Success

While you won’t need any special licensing or training when learning how to start a museum, intimate knowledge of your specialty area is critical. You, or your representative, should be prepared to answer every question imaginable about your area of interest.

A written description in front of each item will help, but guests will always come up with a new question. If you plan on becoming a non-profit organization, you’ll need to apply for government approval for that specific designation. You may also be eligible for government grants to help you learn how to start a museum.

The key to a successful museum is generating public interest. An interesting subject matter will create curiosity about the contents of your museum. While you might not be too wild about Turkey’s hair museum or Tokyo’s parasite museum, who could pass by the Texas celebrity cockroach museum without taking a quick peak just for the ability to say you were there?

The visit might even be worth a commemorative T-shirt. Even if your collection is sedate, find something unusual about it for your marketing material. There is always something that will make people think that your museum is a must-see.

Advertising And Promotion

Once you’ve learned how to start a museum and your doors are open, you’ll need to find some visitors. While local interest is always a good thing, you’ll also want to attract tourists to your museum. Create your own website to provide information about your museum. Request to have your museum added to online sites that list popular attractions in your area.

Your local chamber of commerce or regional visitor’s center is another source of information used by tourists. Make sure these centers are aware of your operation. If you are charging an entry fee, create some pamphlets with discount coupons that you can leave with local hotels and car rental agencies. Contact the local school systems and offer group discounts for school groups if your collection is remotely educational.

Now that your museum is a success, you may want to expand. You could add a new section dedicated to your primary subject matter, or you could choose a whole new area of interest. If you’ve become the known expert, you could write a book detailing your knowledge or create a product line related to your museum’s signature contents. If your collection is overflowing, you could open a second museum in a different town.

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