Peabody Museum Adopts New Strategic Plan for 2009-2013, Includes Plans to Renovate and Integrate Museum With Classes

During their weekend meetings, the Trustees approved a new Strategic Plan for the Peabody Museum, “the culmination of a two-year effort to prioritize and guide the Peabody Museum’s activities for Fiscal Year 2009 to Fiscal Year 2013,” as stated in the Plan. The Strategic Plan’s chief missions for the Peabody Museum are “commitments to excellence, a diverse student body, a global perspective and interdisciplinary study.” “We would like to continue our trajectory at the Peabody as far as working with students,” said Malinda Blustain, Director of the Peabody Museum. The Peabody Museum adopted a mandate in 2004 to reach out to the Academy and to engage more in the academic departments, said Blustain. The Strategic Plan outlines greater integration of academic curricula with the museum. For example, there are two courses being developed in conjunction with the Peabody: an Art course and Science-470: Human Origins, which is currently offered by the Biology Department. “We are more of a teaching museum than a research museum. In time, perhaps, we will return to exhibits but not huge ones,” said Blustain. In the past, the Peabody Museum has not reached out as much to the school, “resulting in generations at PA that didn’t really know what the Peabody does,” said Blustain. Blustain continued, “Initially, we wanted to make the institution more active like the Addison Gallery. We wanted to perform the same outreach functions, but could never afford to operate at that level. Peabody didn’t have huge endowment at the time, so we ran out of money.” The Peabody Museum endowment is now above the $4 million mark and the museum may soon undergo renovations. Blustain said, “We’d like to at least undertake a feasibility study where you engage an architectural firm and take a detailed look at the needs for program. The Peabody Museum is an aging facility that really needs updating.” The development of the Strategic Plan involved three operating committees, one of which was the Advisory Board. “I relied very heavily on the advice and council of this board. They were integrally involved in developing and vetting our strategic plan, a process that took years,” said Blustain. The Board is drawn from three sources: Andover’s alumni and parents, faculty and professional archaeologists. Currently, the Board consists of ten committee members and three ex officio members – members that hold other time-consuming Academy-related positions. “All of us here [at the Peabody] greatly enjoy our engagement with students. We really like and respect students and like to share the assets we have at Peabody with them,” Blustain said.