Steve and Wendy image

A good museum makes
“a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives.”
Stephen E. Weil
Making Museums Matter, 2002


From Stephen E. Weil

Rethinking The Museum image


“What makes a well-run museum well run is that its efforts are channeled exclusively into the pursuit of its purpose and not scattered elsewhere. Efforts directed elsewhere are a waste of institutional resources.”



“The only activities in which the museum can legitimately engage are those intended to further its institutional purpose. Activities intended to further the interests of anybody or anything else – a staff member, a member of the governing authority, some other institution—give rise to conflicts of interest.”



“Purpose-setting (albeit with staff input) is quintessentially a task of governance.”



“In its simplest form, success for a museum could be defined as consisting of four key dimensions. First, its ability to articulate a clear and significant purpose that is both (a) worthwhile, at least in the eyes of the beholder, and (b) responsive to some identifiable need of its target audience. Second, the museum’s ability to assemble the resources necessary to achieve that purpose. Third, its demonstrated possession of the skills necessary to expend its resources to create and present public programs that achieve its articulated purpose. And fourth, its demonstrated possession of the managerial skills necessary to create and present those public programs in as efficient a manner as possible. Failure, by comparison, has a briefer definition. Failure is simply the lack of success.”


“A Success / Failure Matrix
for Museums,”

Museum News, 2005


To have a mission-driven institution, you must first agree on the vision.

– Stephen E. Weil on Purpose

“Museums are quintessentially places that have the potency to change what people may know or think or feel, to affect what attitudes they may adopt or display, to influence what values they form.” Stephen E. Weil, Making Museums Matter, 2002

To meet its goals, a museum must first clearly define and communicate its vision, mission, and values. It must encourage the behaviors that support them. It must serve its multiple stakeholders. And it must attract and retain high-performing employees.

Board and Staff Facilitations

To have a mission, you must first agree on the vision.

Using proven processes and tools for Board Facilitations and Staff Facilitations, I help groups define their vision, mission, and values; develop strategies; and move forward. As your facilitator, I make certain that the discussions are structured, that all participate, and that the focus remains on the purpose at hand. By minimizing conflicting private agendas, ensuring all voices are heard (thereby obtaining buy-in), and formalizing the next steps to take, I keep the process moving forward and on time. For a list of the challenges you might face, please click here.

To build great institutions, you need practical tools and techniques.

When you are looking for a roadmap to imagine the future, identify and support organizational change, and gain a clear picture of the context in which your institution is operating, it is often helpful to use tools such as visually based facilitation charts or techniques such as Action Learning. Charts work well with people who process information verbally, visually, and in writing. Here is a link to one of my favorites sites: Action Learning is great for small groups working on a specific problem. Please click here for more on Action Learning.

“After Wendy Luke facilitated our first board retreat, the board achieved a far greater cohesion and understanding of the key elements of our mission.”

Bob Baylis, Chairman
Executive Committee
Rubin Museum of Art



“Listening to Wendy speak about creativity at the MAAM 2007 conference in Pittsburgh was inspiring. She has the capacity to make a topic, such as creativity, concrete, real, and manageable. Her words give you the courage to tackle seemingly insurmountable creative projects with confidence and authority.”

Andrea Lewis
Former Senior Educator
United States Memorial Holocaust Museum


Take Your Institution’s Pulse

Download and use these three quick assessment tests to “check the pulse” of your institution. Answer honestly and you may have a valuable “Aha!” moment of insight into work you need to do with your employees, your stakeholders, or your overall mission.

Mission-Driven Employee Test

Find out how important your mission really is to your employees.

Satisfied Stakeholders Test

Evaluate how much your stakeholders really believe in you.

Impact Society Test

Rate how much your institution matters.