“A $10,000 gift to a smaller museum can make a huge impact, and the donor will see a deeper engagement with the institution. To get to that level at one of the larger institutions, you have to give millions.”
That’s a fine final point. For all of the glory bestowed on a trustee at one of the august museums on our list, moderately wealthy benefactors would be wise to be contrarians. Their time, money, and collection are likely to be treated better, have more impact, and serve society better when put to work at a regional or local museum.
The American system of museum fundraising and patronage just fascinates me. This article in Barrons outlines how American museums have recovered from the GFC and subsequent withering of their endowments.