What's Taking So Long with the Brogan Museum?

Board of Commissioners Meet on Brogan Museum
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Brogan Museum board president Felicia Nowels said the near year the museum has been in limbo for hasn't been a long time at all considering the circumstances. She says solving the museum's debt, reinventing the product, and coming up with a new business model takes time.

"To do these three things with no full-time staff is indeed a big task and one that cannot be done in one year," said Nowels.

Those wondering "what's next?" will have to wait a little bit longer after a split board vote spared the museum from dissolving for the time being.

Tallahassee Community College is the landlord for the building that houses the Brogan Museum.

"I would like nothing more, frankly, than for the Brogan to succeed and reinvent itself and meet a need in the community. I just don't think that is going to be possible, I think it's a steep hill," said TCC president and former museum board member Jim Murdaugh.

College administrators have had discussions about what they could do with the building, but they haven't developed any full blown ideas yet.

The lease agreement between TCC and the Leon County School board is funded through Florida tax dollars. If the building is used for non-educational purposes, thousands of dollars would have to be reimbursed to the state.

Tallahassee, FL - A closed door meeting took place Monday night to decide the fate of one of Tallahassee's museums.

Board members, independent contractors representing the Brogan Museum, the President of TCC and community members attended the closed door meeting and after a two and a half hour discussion, the board members voted on what to do next.

Felicia Nowels, Board President, The Brogan Museum, stated, "the board decided that it needs to have a little bit more information on it's fiduciary duty if we are to resolve as well as the financial challenges we are facing if we decide to move forward."

The motion presented was to "cease any further activity regarding re-invention and consult legal counsel regarding dissolution of the institution, resolve the debt and to report back in one week with those results"; the motion failed 8 to 9.

Felicia Nowels, Board President, The Brogan Museum: "if we move forward, how much money is it going to take for us to move forward and get to a viable business plan, long term viable business plan and on the other side, what is our liability and our responsibility to the institution if we decide to dissolve."

Regardless of the decision tonight...The remaining debt the museum has incurred has yet to be satisfied and the question still remains how or if they can pay it off.

Gil Ziffer, Tallahassee City Commissioner, stated, "the money's not been there.We've not been able to raise the funds in order to pull it off and so we're at a critical juncture. Do we continue to lose money that we don't have or do we recognize that there's not the support for us to continue this here."

Within the next week the executive committee plans to meet to put together the two proposals and present that to the full board for it's final decision.

Tallahassee, FL, January 7, 2013, 8:32pm - The vote for closing the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science was a tie of 8 to 8.

The Board is now deciding what to do at this point since a 2/3 majority is needed.

Board Members Jim Murdaugh and Gil Ziffer have both given their resignations from the board.

Tallahassee, FL - The fate of a local museum is in the hands of 21 Board Members tonight.

A closed door meeting at the Mary Brogan Museum of Art & Science, may determine whether the museum stays open or shuts their doors for good.

The museum has been closed for a year due to financial difficulties and growing debt.

According to Tallahassee City Commissioner and Brogan Museum Board Member, Gil Ziffer, it would take hundreds of thousands of dollars to save the museum.

He also says the main focus of the museum which is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program, also known as STEM, should be handed over to the nearby Challenger Learning Center which also has the STEM program already in place.

An Independent Contractor with the Brogan Museum, Trish Hanson, stated that she feels that the recent success of their holiday camp, the past year of planning for the re-invention of the museum and the overwhelming support of the community, is reason enough for the board to decide to keep the doors open.

Tallahassee, FL -- Even though the Brogan closed in January of 2012, the staple at the corner of Duval and Pensacola seems pretty lively.

"Our camps are full to capacity, it demonstrates a need, and that we are somewhat fulfilling that need," said Brogan Museum independent contractor Trish Hanson.

The museum's holiday camp makes some money, but without the $150,000 funding that Leon County commissioners withdrew from giving the cultural center in December, the museum can't get rid of it's debt and open back up. At least one member of the museum's board said it could be a lost cause altogether.

"At this juncture, due to our financial limitations and resources, I can't in good faith continue in operating the organization in any way whatsoever, so I'll be voting and moving for complete and permanent closure," said board member and City commissioner Gil Ziffer, referring to Monday's public board meeting.

"I do not know what's going to happen on Monday and that's a very truthful statement," said Hanson. "There's 21 board members and discussions have been positive thus far so I don't know."

Hanson said that they've sold the museum's art to pay off most of it's outstanding debt, and hopes that reports of the Brogan's demise are greatly exaggerated, at least for now.

Ziffer said instead of using the property for just camps for kids, the facility could be better utilized by the property's landlord, Tallahassee Community College.

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