Anaheim Museum opened 11 years ago to showcase the city's past, but financial troubles have prevented the organization from attracting a broader audience.
But that could be changing.
Volunteer board members and a new executive director said they hope to revive Anaheim's only cultural arts venue.
"This is probably one of the biggest secrets in Anaheim," board member John Machiaverna said. "We just need some new thoughts and new direction."
The museum opened in 1987 in the old Carnegie Library, built in 1908 on Anaheim Boulevard. Its mission: "collect and preserve."
"Instead of just collecting and preserving the past, we need to find a pathway to the future," executive director Joyce Franklin said. "There's been a misconception that museums are just supposed to be storehouses that you visit once or twice in your lifetime. But they need be interactive parts of the community. . . . There's a whole generation of people who don't visit museums and we need to reach out to them."
The museum's main goal is to expand exhibit and program offerings.
"The concentration has been narrow as far as the kinds of exhibits. We have not given the community a broad enough range," Franklin said. "We need to submerge the museum into the community so we're responsive to the community's needs."
One example of the museum's new direction is an exhibit titled "Captured Moments," a first-time collaboration between the museum and Anaheim Arts Assn. About 300 people attended the recent opening of the exhibit, which includes sculpture, fine art and photography. The exhibit continues through Aug. 8.
In an attempt to attract a younger audience, the museum is building an interactive children's gallery. "I want the museum to be user-friendly to children and not be where they feel they can't touch anything," Franklin said.
Another goal for the board is to secure financial support from the community, Machiaverna said.
With an annual budget of about $70,000, the museum relies on private and corporate donations to keep its doors open. The city, which owns the building, pays for maintenance and utilities and will contribute $25,000 for museum operating expenses this year.
But Machiaverna described the museum's financial situation as "fairly bleak."
To help raise money for museum operations, Machiaverna is organizing "Summer Break 1998" July 22 on the museum grounds. The fund-raiser, with tickets priced at $10 a person, includes dinner, a silent auction and entertainment.
"If we can show strong community support, then we can get help from businesses and corporations," he said. "But we need to show that we can help ourselves first."
Tickets and museum information: (714) 778-3301 or (714) 991-1190.