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Museum Finance: What Investors Require 

The feasibility study is the first step in starting a new museum. Leisure Business Advisors LLC (LBA) specializes in conducting this study, which is generally required by financing institutions. The study provides market and financial analysis and projections that will be used in the developer's business plan.

The study also provides critical physical planning recommendations for the business plan. It is critical that design plans are in line with market needs and expected financial returns. These planning guidelines need to be established before financing is in place. Designers and managers can also benefit from the guidance provided in the study, in addition to the project's investors.

As part of the feasibility study, LBA can work closely with you in preparing the initial image package that would assist designers in the planning stage of development that follows the feasibility stage. We could provide a walk-through description and color artist conceptual images of your new museum seen through the eyes of a typical visitor. These would suggest its general "look and feel" in financial and marketing presentations. 

John Gerner, LBA's managing director, has conducted feasibility studies for many museums and cultural attractions over the past 20+ years. These include:

  • Nanshan Buddhist Cultural Park: This is a major themed attraction in China's Hainan Province. As a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates, he evaluated the feasibility of developing this cultural attraction.
  • Interpretive center for Canadian Geographic: Gerner Consulting (before it became Leisure Business Advisors LLC) evaluated the market potential for a museum showcasing Canada that would be located in Ottawa near Parliament Hill.
  • Biography museum for Celebrating Patsy Cline, Inc: Gerner Consulting prepared attendance and financial projections for a museum showcasing the life of Country Music singer Patsy Cline to be located in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia.
  • Museum village celebrating Walt Disney's childhood for the Industrial Development Authority of Marceline: As a subcontractor to International Theme Park Services (ITPS), he evaluated the potential of a museum village that would include Walt Disney's childhood home in Marceline, Missouri.
  • Ice Cream Capital of the World Visitor Center for Well's Dairy: As a subcontractor to ITPS, he conducted the feasibility study for this combination museum and visitor center. It was the Travel Federation of Iowa and Iowa Tourism Division's 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2005 Attraction of the year Award Recipient.
  • Virginia Marine Science Museum expansion: as a subcontractor to Economics Research Associates (ERA), he prepared market and financial projections for this $35 million expansion that tripled the museum's size in 1996. The museum has been named the Travel Attraction of the Year by the Southeast Tourism Association.
  • National Aquarium in Baltimore expansion: With ERA, he evaluated major expansion alternatives that included both exhibit and theater options.
  • Great Biosphere for the New York Zoological Society: With ERA, he valuated the market potential for a new animal-oriented attraction in downtown Manhattan that would combine innovative themed exhibits and theaters. 
  • Science Museum for the City of Birmingham, Alabama. With ERA, he prepared attendance and financial projections for a new science museum in Birmingham.

His museum operations studies with ERA include evaluating:

  • Visitation trends at Smithsonian museums for Marriott Corporation.
  • Future visitor exhibit and theater needs at the Kennedy Space Center.
  • Ticketing systems at the Boston Museum of Science.
  • Visitor origin tracking system for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Click here to learn more about feasibility studies, a key part of museum finance. 



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