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New York Times uses Fresno Met saga as object lesson for bankrupt Detroit

The New York Times asks in a story today: How does a museum dissolve?

To answer that question, reporter Robin Pogrebin turns to Fresno’s sad legacy of the Fresno Metropolitan Museum, which embarked on an ambitious expansion and then flailed to an ignomonious end, with the only winners the lawyers, such as Fresno bankruptcy attorney Riley C. Walter.

Three years later, I’m surprised by how much it still stings to read the Times roundup of the Met debacle. One grating comment in particular:

“It was a Taj Mahal and a beautiful museum, but the demographics were not there to support it,” said Stewart Randall, the former board president.

Shouldn’t Randall, as president, have figured the demographics out before the board led the museum to a bust?

Responses to "New York Times uses Fresno Met saga as object lesson for bankrupt Detroit"

bradley says:

as we all know, the problem was not the “demographics.” the problem was multi-faceted and systemic: a inattentive board of directors, a major building project with no without cost containment parameters, endless construction delays, all dovetailing onto a major museum relaunch that had no nothing left in its coffers to secure strong exhibitions. a total disaster.

i really enjoyed producing the grand opening party, however. don’t worry, I took no money to do it. mostly because they didn’t have any.

pk says:

Spend, Spend, Spend; they were on a spending spree as evidenced by the sell-off of assets in bankruptcy.
Shame on all the Board Members who did NOT do their JOB!
They let this happen, and the community suffered
I think also of not only the exhibits but those ‘named’ rooms that were a big part of the inception.
And now; those philanthropic individuals who will NOT support another venture like that….

Kiel says:

That makes me want to punch Stewart Randall in the face. What demographic can or should support such a poorly managed renovation that goes $15 million over budget and 3 years behind schedule? The Met should still be open, but they dug that deep hole.

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