Development at the Mattress Factory: Learning about the Fundraising Aspects of Museums

Dennis Maher, "A Second Home", 2016

 

Development at the Mattress Factory: Learning about the Fundraising Aspects of Museums

Museum Studies Intern at the Mattress Factory - Fall 2016       

I am currently interning in development at the Mattress Factory Modern Art Museum in the North Side. For those of you who may not know, the development department is the part of the museum staff that deals with fundraising, grants, and membership. Since the Mattress Factory is a fairly small organization, there are only two development employees that run the entire department. During the internship, I learned many useful skills. I learned how to use Nonprofit CRM software, how to develop and implement a donation campaign, how to plan and implement events and programs, and how to create nonprofit materials for the development department. I was also able to tour the museum freely whenever I wanted. The museum has three buildings full of installation pieces from a plethora of artists. Many of these installations rotate regularly so there was always something new to experience. My favorite new piece at the museum is an art piece by Dennis Maher titled “A Second Home”. Dennis Maher is an artist, architect, educator and founder/director of FARGO HOUSE, Buffalo and his piece fills one of the Mattress Factory’s entire buildings. To some, the fundraising aspect of the museum may seem boring, but personally, I love knowing that I am working to make sure an organization that I love has the means to continue existing and growing. I spent my time at the Mattress Factory getting to tell people how great the museum is and why I am thankful that it exists. As someone who has a great appreciation for museums, this was not a hard task. One of the greatest perks of working for a small organization is that the founders of the Mattress Factory were at the office most days and I learned about many of the steps and decisions that go into owning and running a museum. I was able to experience and assist in many events at the Mattress Factory and I got to watch the creation of exhibitions within the museum. These are experiences that I would most likely not get to experience at a large museum. Overall, I would definitely recommend that any University of Pittsburgh student intern with the Mattress Factory. My internship provided all of the experiences that I had hoped that it would when it first began.

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