It’s new 501c3 status will open up new ways to support its many museum partners
February 26, 2018 – Founded less than four years ago featuring only a dozen museums, the Cape Cod Museum Trail has evolved dramatically to 70 institutions ranging from Woods Hole to Provincetown.
Today, its calendar can feature more than 400 activities, exhibitions and classes a month during the summer, and its newsletter – once only published monthly – now reaches thousands of readers as often as once a week. An annual spring Festival of Museums this year expects 60 exhibitors and a thousand attendees.
With all this growth, its owner, First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, has announced that the Museum Trail has successfully converted to a 501c3 non-profit.
“We received notification this month from the Internal Revenue Service that our application has been approved. This is a landmark event for the Museum Trail,” said First Citizens’ President & CEO Peter Muise, who has guided the enterprise since its very beginning.
“We began investing in the Trail because we saw its potential to support the Cape’s numerous and diverse museums – many supported by volunteers and donations – that have limited resources to reach residents and visitors,” said Muise. “The Trail has helped us significantly connect to the community we serve, and we are constantly gratified by the partnerships and collaborations developing among all the museums through the Trail.”
Muise explained that the Trail’s non-profit status enhances its credibility, transparency and value both to the museums and to the thousands of people who depend on the Trail for its constant flow of information through its website, newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
“Many museums now reach out to us for support – whether it be marketing or in some cases, publishing and strategic planning help,” explained Muise. “The more demand we have received, the more apparent it has become that the Museum Trail needed to be structured for sustainable growth as a trusted ally of our member institutions.”
Non-profit status will allow the Museum Trail to reach out to new funding sources, especially for projects that create collaboration and partnerships among the museums, Muise noted. “We truly see the Trail as a support system for all the museums. Over the years – through regular meetings and surveys – we continue to learn more about their needs and aspirations. Our new non-profit status should give museums even more confidence in our commitment to them.
“We already see that many museums are getting increasingly comfortable sharing resources among each other through the Trail. It’s the philosophy that a rising tide lifts all boats.”
“As a non-profit, the Cape Cod Museum Trail now has a board of directors and will be regulated as any 501c3 must be”, said Muise. In coming months, the Trail will reach out to its dozens of members to share an emerging strategic plan and seek increased guidance for its long-term future.