It Takes a Village
Organizationally, the Randall Museum is a public/private partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the nonprofit organization, the Randall Museum Friends. Technically, there are only FIVE full-time Randall staff, who are Rec and Park employees, led by the Randall Museum Director and SFRPD Cultural Arts Division Manager, Chris Boettcher. The Randall is in the middle of massive $8M renovation. With five full-time staff. This is the point of today’s discussion.
So how? Well to begin, there is the intense dedication and support by the Randall Museum Friends (the Friends) Board of Directors and the two full-time employees who raise support and manage operations. The Friends successfully raised an excess of $2M+ on top of the original $5.5M Nature Education Facilities Program through California State Parks, and hired a project manager to collaborate with the Rec and Park Project Manager to organize the forward motion of the renovation. Keeping track of communication, goals and outcomes during this project split by two managing organizations has been no small feat. All those involved in planning the construction side of this project deserve recognition for their ability to not only manage an insanely multifaceted task, but do with a partner organization.
On the community engagement side, roughly 60% of the building’s interior footprint has been reprogrammed with new exhibits to engage visitors of all ages. The behind-the-scenes mantra for new exhibits has been Albert Einstein’s quote the “Look deeper into nature and you will understand everything better.” Historically, Randall staff brought in artists, scientists and designers here and there to display works and consult for content. However, a renovation of this magnitude required casting a very wide net for collaboration. There will be a Coastal Redwood forest soundscape curated by Natural Sounds Expert, Bernie Krause; an interactive exhibit on ocean health told through plankton populations designed by Gene A. Felice II and Jennifer Parker with a grant from the the National Endowment for the Arts; a new massive kinetic art sculpture, Flight by Ben Trautman and supported by the San Francisco Arts Commission; example core samples in the new Geology exhibit from beneath San Francisco provided by Phil Kaijankoski; and continued support by local artists. WHEW!
There has been so much energy coming from many different resources. Countless community members have reached out to lend a hand. Volunteers from Google Inc. and Hercules Financial have been prepping spaces to be painted and moving collections out of storage and into the building. Geologists from the SF Gem and Mineral Society have organized and labeled an extensive California rock and mineral collection.
Simply said, this is a San Francisco community project and a prime example of unfamiliar friends coming together to support free community learning. THIS IS AWESOME.
I LOVE learning new things. More than I love learning new things, I love sharing awesome discoveries about our world with others.