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LETTERS

One museum, many challenges

August 12, 2007

It was with great interest that I read Suzanne Muchnic's "The Artist as a Draw" [Aug. 5]. Those of us who work with small museums have been aware of this problem for years. The proposition of how to make a place relevant in a fast-paced world, how to attract new audiences as well as repeat visitors and how to appeal to sponsors, are multilayered issues.

This isn't a situation that is exclusive to art museums. At Heritage Square Museum, just a short ride north of the L.A. Times offices, we deal with the identical issues. You may be aware that Heritage Square was created in 1969 in response to the demolition of Bunker Hill. The museum is made up of eight historic structures that have all been saved from the wrecking ball and moved to Heritage Square.

While this forms the basis of the "collection," it is only the beginning of what we do. Our mission is to tell the story of the development of Los Angeles, which allows us to examine a wide variety of topics. In addition, we present special programs and events that are designed to be educational but fun. In the last year we have produced exhibits ("Having a Wonderful Time: The History of Los Angeles Through Postcards" and "Well Done: The Story of Cookbooks and Commerce"), a vintage fashion show, an old car show, a lecture series, classic movies shown outdoors and our annual holiday Lamplight Tour. In a few weeks we are having a "Summer of Love" 40th anniversary celebration. Too many people think that once they have visited Heritage Square and toured the houses, there is no reason to come back. We strive to give them that reason.

Thank you for bringing the subject to light. This is an aspect of museum management that most people are completely unaware of and one that lies at the heart of our survival. LACMA's all-night party is as much a gimmick as our "Summer of Love." But it is the small venues that really need the help.

Mitzi March Mogul

Mogul is vice president of the board of directors of Heritage Square Museum.

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