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Project Experience

Monterey Museum of Art


Founded in 1959, the Monterey Museum of Art (MMA) collects, preserves, and interprets the art of California from the nineteenth century to the present day. The MMA is a well-respected regional art center and City partner by supporting local artists and hosting events and festivals. The museum operates two facilities: its retrofitted medical building on Pacific Street and the adobe La Mirada estate, whose history reflects the style of Monterey.

Nearly a decade ago, MMA began a series of planning efforts that ultimately led it to deeply reconsider its future in the context of a rapidly changing operating environments, a bewildering array of options, and the very real threat of climate change and sea level rise. MMA engaged Lord Cultural Resources (along with HMC Architects) to prepare a multi-component feasibility study. Spanning approximately 12 months, the study included an exploration of the institutional vision, site and facility assessments, detailed market analyses, a comprehensive facility program, a feasibility concept design, and finally attendance, operating revenue, and expense projections.

Working closely with the staff and board to facilitate a transformational process of soul-searching, what emerged was both a forward-thinking and realistic long-term plan giving the board and staff the ability to move forward with confidence.  Taking on this kind of approach meant big changes in how the board made decisions about its priorities and how it operates. Most important was an evolution in their perception as “just a museum” to becoming part of an “ecosystem” of cultural components thattogetherpromote an understanding of Monterey’s unique sense of place.

Lord was subsequently hired in 2023 to complete a similar study for its La Mirada site, exploring the architectural and economic feasibility of retrofitting the heritage estate into a dedicated event rental facility.