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Organizational Assessment Critical Issues Checklist

Mission and Planning

  • Do staff and governing authority members have a clear, shared understanding of the museum’s mission?
  • Is the mission one that the museum has the ability and resources to fulfill?
  • Are policies, procedures and resource allocation focused on fulfilling the mission?
  • Are staff and governing authority members engaged in an effective planning process for the museum’s future?
  • If there is a current plan, is it being used to address the museum’s major challenges, and is it guiding the museum’s actions?


Audience and Visitors

  • Does the museum clearly identify its target audiences and take appropriate steps to serve their needs?
  • Is the museum gathering information about its audiences and visitors and using it to evaluate performance and guide planning?


  • Does the museum have a clear understanding of its role in the community?
  • Is the community active in and supportive of the  museum?

Public Programs

  • Are the educational goals of the museum clearly articulated and appropriate to its mission, audiences and resources?
  • Do the museum’s programs meet the needs of audiences?


  • Do the exhibitions reflect the museum’s mission?
  • Does the museum have a process for exhibit selection and development that:
    • Makes appropriate use of collections and human resources;
    • Meets audience needs;
    • And serves the financial needs of the museum?

Research (for museums conducting or supporting research)

  • Does the quality and extent of research fulfill the potential of the collections?


  • Do the publications have appropriate goals for communicating with the museum’s audiences and community, and do they achieve these goals?

Marketing and Public Relations

  • Is the museum making good use of its resources to promote goods and services?
  • Does the museum have clear and appropriate goals for attendance?
  • Does it have a marketing plan that effectively supports these goals?

Collections Stewardship (for museums that own or borrow collections)

  • Are the collections appropriate to the museum’s mission?
  • Is the museum exercising responsible stewardship of the collections?
  • Is the museum making effective use of its resources to provide appropriate care for its collections?
  • Is the museum functioning legally and ethically in the way it obtains and maintains its collections?


  • Do staff have a clear understanding of their jobs?
  • Does the staffing meet the needs of the institution in terms of:
    • Number of staff?
    • Responsibilities?
    • Training?
  • If not, what additional staff is needed most, and how could the museum obtain the resources to add them?

Membership and Affiliate Organizations

  • Is the museum making effective use of membership and affiliated organizations to provide financial and other support?
  • Does the membership reflect the target audience of the museum, and is the number of members appropriate to the location and size of the museum?


  • Is the museum in good financial health?
  • Will its financial position and planning meet its current and future needs?
  • Is the governing body appropriately involved in the museum’s financial management and fund raising? What new or expanded sources of income, earned  and unearned, might the museum explore?
  • Is the budgeting process linked to institutional goals and planning?


  • Does the museum have adequate facilities to support and fulfill its mission (e.g., collections, exhibitions, public programs, visitor services, parking)?
  • Does the museum have effective policies and procedures for maintaining the facilities in good, safe, working condition?
  • Is the museum using its facilities in ways that are in keeping with the mission?

Safety and Security

  • Does the museum’s emergency preparedness address its greatest risks in an effective manner?
  • Does the museum provide a safe working environment for staff?
  • Does the museum provide a secure environment for the collections?


  • Do governing authority members have a clear and shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities in administering a public trust?
  • Does the composition of the governing authority meet the needs of the museum in fulfilling its mission and implementing its planning?
  • Is the governing authority operating in an effective manner?


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