NonProfit Study Portfolio


For my Nonprofit Management Portfolio, I chose to research art museums because it is a sector of the art industry I have always been curious about. In the future, I hope to find a job in the nonprofit sector, specifically in arts administration, so by researching and speaking with professionals in this industry, I was able to get a better understanding of how art museums are managed and how they can reach audiences.

Art museums are often overlooked by the general public when these facilities contain the most beautiful, thought-provoking, eye-catching pieces in the world. An art museum is a nonprofit institution “that studies and cares for works of art and on some regular schedule exhibits and interprets them to the public,” with stellar reputations (Association of Art Museum Directors, 2011). Along with caring for the art within the facility, museums provide cultural programming, library services, youth and adult education, publication, and other arts-related activities, showing they provide many benefits to the public (Cornell University, 2013). Art museums not only provide entertainment and enjoyment of its visitors, but it also plays a role in cultural heritage and the cultural connections between generations (Feldstein, 1992). Every art museum is managed differently based on size, geographic location, and budget; however, many art museums use the same basic management structure and strive to bring the best experiences possible to their audiences.

The topic of art museums is a very broad subject, so I broke down my research into a few categories including:

  1. Industry Financial Data
    • Analyzing financial data from a database of 507 art museums
    • Discussing how art museums generate revenue
    • Interview with the Chief Financial Officer of the Woodmere Art Museum
  2. Theory of Change
    • Explanation of the logic model and production function of art museums
  3. Philanthropy
    • Discussing the importance of philanthropy and annual giving
    • Strategies for successful fundraising
  4. Governance
    • Discussing how art museums are structured
    • Role of Board of Directors and Directors/CEO of art museums
    • Examples of art museum structures based on the size of the organization
  5. Public Programming
    • Discussing the importance of public programming within art museums
    • Interview with the Director of Public Engagement of the Allentown Art Museum
  6. Summary
    • A final summary of my findings
    • How to move forward amidst a pandemic affecting arts organizations tremendously

Art museums are audience-centered, so through this research, I studied how art museums can bring the best experience possible to their visitors while staying in a financially stable position to operate smoothly.


Association of Art Museum Directors. “Professional Practices in Art Museums.” Association of Art Museum Directors, 2011.

Feldstein, Martin S. The Economics of Art Museums. University of Chicago Press, 1992. “Revenue Management Applications In Untraditional Industries.” Cornell Blogs, 27 Mar. 2013,