State Museum Board approves study of Louisiana Museum System

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

During a recent meeting with the Louisiana Museum Foundation Board of Trustees in New Orleans, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser made two announcements regarding the future of the Louisiana State Museum system. First, Nungesser announced the Museum Governance Study being conducted by Lord Cultural Resources. Secondly, he will support legislation that would ultimately return the hiring of the Museum Director back to the Museum Board of Directors.

"Over the last three years of asking people to put up money to support the museum system I have realized we have to remove the politics from the State Museum Director position. The director should be hired by and work directly for the museum board or boards," said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. "As soon as the study is complete and we can make sure the management of the museums is spending taxpayer money wisely. I will support legislation that will allow the board, once again, to hire and fire the museum director. I agree this is the best course of action for the future of our great museums."

Lt. Governor Nungesser informed the board of directors the study would focus on a governing structure and implementation strategy for museums. Some of the areas to be considered include reverting back to a structure where the board selects the State Museum director, not the Lieutenant Governor; determining a possible structure for multiple boards overseeing museums in their region; determining who should have oversight of other museums around the state; and, finding a way to cultivate collaboration between museums to better market museums to potential visitors helping each other survive and prosper.

Louisiana Museum Foundation President, Melissa Steiner says, "Louisiana Museum Foundation members were so thrilled to hear the Lt. Governor announce the Museum Governance study and that he is committed to returning the hiring of the Museum Director back to the Board that the whole room erupted in applause, as this has been a longtime hope of our organization. It is a rare day indeed that we hear of an elected official giving up this kind of control, and we could not be more pleased! This is indeed unprecedented and we applaud Lt. Governor Nungesser for his initiative and for realizing that in order for the Louisiana State Museum to thrive and reach its full potential, he must in effect let it go."

The study will be conducted by Lord Cultural Resources, a global cultural consulting firm experienced in planning services for museums, art galleries, and other cultural institutions such as The National World War II Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.

Part of the study will focus on whether the museums currently under the Secretary of State should be combined into one museum system, along with those under the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and finding a way to support and market all museums to drive tourists and Louisianans to visit.

The Lord Cultural Resources study is expected to be complete in May 2020.

Contributed by Louisiana State Museum