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Project Experience

Natural History Museum of Utah

1994, 2006, 2009, 2011

The Natural History Museum of Utah opened its doors to the public in the George Thomas Building in 1969. Since then, collections have been transferred from the University's academic departments and grown through research, acquisition, and contributions to number more than 1.2 million objects.

In November 2011, the Museum opened a new facility, the Rio Tinto Center, with entirely new exhibit galleries, engaging programs for the public and state-of-the-art collections care and research facilities. This growth was supported in part by a long term relationship with Lord Cultural Resources.

Lord Cultural Resources was initially selected in 1994 to prepare a Strategic Master Plan for the museum, and in 2006 we developed a business plan and attendance, operating revenue and expense projections. These studies helped to inform the subsequent exhibition and architectural design. In 2009, Lord Cultural Resources updated the business plan and projections based on changing conditions and new assumptions.

In 2011 Lord Cultural Resources was contracted to facilitate the development of the Strategic Plan to outline the first five years of operating the new facility. When the museum opened to the public, its messages were strongly influenced by the strategic direction set through planning and its leadership and staff focused on the next chapter of institutional growth.

“The planning work that Lord Cultural Resources has done for the Natural History Museum of Utah has been critical to our success.  A master plan for the Museum analyzed our physical facilities, market, collections, and programs and laid the foundation for the work that led to the construction of the new building, the Rio Tinto Center.  Their business planning provided a road map for the successful operation of the Museum prior to and after opening the new building.  And the strategic plan set direction for the Museum after its transformation from a small academic museum to a large, community-based institution.”

Sarah B. George, Executive Director, Natural History Museum of Utah