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The Manitoba Museum

I posted this in the nativeamerican community because I think that people need to know the Truth about museums. This is one of many. The Manitoba Museum made about $24,000,000 in 2003 and another $24,000,000 in 2004. They spent 75.8% of it on salaries and benefits and more on marketing and public relations (about 2.9%) than they did on education and interpretation (1.3%.) If anyone thinks that museums are designed and constructed to "educate" and/or to "preserve" indigenous cultures. They better think again:

In the 2003-2004 Financial Statement published online at their website at


Total expenditures:

75.8% Salaries & Benefits
8.4% Central Services
5.8% Museum Shop
3.0% Security
2.9% Marketing & Public Relations
1.9% Research, Collections, & Exhibits
1.3% Education & Interpretation
0.9% Fundraising & Development

Note that Salaries & Benefits outnumbers Research, Collections, & Exhibits & Education & Interpretation.

Also in 2003 they made about $24,000,000 and in 2004 they made another $24,000,000.

This should upset some people. Some more than others.

So far the deleted post raised my suspicions in looking into the Financial Statements of the Bishop Museum in Hawai'i. So far they have the same pattern. More towards salaries and benefits than to research, exhibits, and interpretation. Not sure if this is universal or not but so far they are making money off some of our ancestors. That is, millions of dollars.

Also there are still people who think this way. This person supposedly works at the Manitoba Museum:

"I just got boourned by some chick who has a thing against museums because she's indigenous. Oh well. It's not my fault that white people stole shit and didn't return it. All we're trying to do now is educate, and so then she pulls up a list of the museum's expenditures to prove to me that museums are about making money. Hell, someone needs to pay the curators, guides, reception staff, conservationists, janitors, etc..."

Just something to seriously think about while drinking your Starbucks and while perusing museums that are built to "preserve" indigenous cultures.

I wonder how people feel about museums? Do you feel guilty? Do you care? *LOL*


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2004 12:01 pm (UTC)
Just playing Devil's Advocate here... "If anyone thinks that museums are designed and constructed to "educate" and/or to "preserve" indigenous cultures. They better think again:"

Okaaaay, then what are they for? Purely money making ventures? I don't think that's true. Many of the museums here barely make enough money to stay open.. maybe because of how much they have to pay employees..

But once they're set up and established, it doesn't seem like they SHOULD need to put too much more money into other things. It makes sense to me that the majority of the money goes to staffing it. I am not quite sure why you seem to suggest that that is unexpected or especially sad or deviant?
Aug. 28th, 2004 12:54 pm (UTC)
Those figures are quite typical of museums in Canada, so I really have no idea why people here like to defend them (they especially like defending the colossal and 'esteemed' museums who rape us all over and over again) except for the fact that they are colonized into adoring these "special places".

Hahaha. If people would prefer to have the HBC and Canadian fascilaties "protect" their valued cultural pieces, that is their own business; however, this does not change the fact it is one hell of a battle to get anything repatriated. It costs a lot of money and there is a lot of legislation that dictates how things will be done (i.e. even once ceremonial pieces are repatriated you have to house them in "museum-quality" cases and build a cultural centre for them). Is that not like a miniature museum? *L* People who defend these policies should tell me just how indigenous this all is.
Aug. 28th, 2004 07:36 pm (UTC)
1.3% of something is a lot better than 100% of nothing. **shrug**

I can understand self-determination and preservation, but the reality is museums are like zoos - we don't like them (in terms of control and captivity), but we need them in a chaotic, extinction prone world.

JMO, of course. :-)
Aug. 29th, 2004 08:56 pm (UTC)
Museums are important regardless of personal beliefs-learned and lived or however seemingly misguided they may seem. Staff members of museums should be paid for their job duties especially if they have degrees and other credentials to back salary justifications. I do not for a second feel museum staff should feel guilty or be underpaid just because they work in an educational institution (read between the lines--501(c)3 non-profit organizations). Of course, I am discriminating toward this view since I am a former employee of my tribe's museum and a former professional member of several national museum and historical and cultural associations, including, those geared toward educating tribal members to work in various museum professions. Yes, this includes receiving training from the SI, NMAI-SI, American Association of Museums, and the National Park Service.

Oh yes, even though I worked in my tribe's cultural center (museum), it was a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which received none or very little funding from the Tribe during some fiscal years. All or the majority of our funding came from federal, state, and corporate grants and family trusts where salaries were emphasized in our grant proposals and applications as much as the educational programs we provided to the public that actually received over 50% of our funds once we received the grant.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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