Museum of Dungeons & Dragons
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:36 pm 
 

Ashmire,

In the U.S., if they get far enough to establish the corporation and secure not for profit status from the IRS...  the museum is effectively owned by the public and operated by a board of directors and/or officers.  The bylaws will determine the final structure and the process of election.  I expect the group working on this may be considering establishing a private foundation, at least that is what I would probably do.  

Typically, modern bylaws will contain a provision regarding the disposition of the collections if the museum fails.  It should also contain a provision that prevents future boards from using the collections as collateral for loans.  Most serious collections donors may be unwilling to contribute some material unless they are confident in the quality of the storage and/or future disposition of the materials.  Several obvious default repositories would include the Wisconsin Historical Society, Duke or the Strong Museum.  

For the record, many, if not most, of the nation's museums were established in a process similar to the one proposed here.  

Whether or not they can pull it off is a matter for conjecture, but there does not appear to be anything unsound about the process they are outlining on their blog.

I wish a few of the community members here had asked some of their reasonable questions without framing them as personal attacks.  The project sounds intriguing.  It seems inevitable that there will be at least one museum devoted to d&d and/or rpg's.  No corporation needs our permission... or any interested parties permission, to seek and secure not for profit status as a museum!

I will wish them well and hope for the best.  Anything less would seem downright mean-spirited and outside the interests of preserving the hobby.

Tommy


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:26 pm 
 

I think you guys ought to start small, like a traveling exhibit which tours the US via the various children's museums, 2-3 months per stop.  Start in Indy A couple weeks before GenCon one year.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:01 pm 
 

My big concern with this project is the cost. I just don't see 150k as enough to cover the costs. I do have a little bit of experience in real estate, construction and property management and a project like this is going to eat through that amount in no time. Operational costs alone will be much higher than anyone can project (it always costs more). Just purchasing a structure to house the exhibit is sure to cost more than 150k even in these down times.
I like the idea, but I am very sceptical about the costs.


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:04 pm 
 

Almost all museums start small.  Starting with the right organizations bylaws and achievable planning goals is the issue.  It does not look like this venture lacks vision...  but the vision will probably have to be approached in incremental planned steps, unless a "sugar daddy" comes along.  A traveling exhibit is a fine idea.  Managing the loan paperwork, creating a curatorial team and managing the logistics is a bit more challenge than most would presume.  Traditionally, museum exhibitions like to have a large percentage of material that is owned by institutions as the core of the exhibit.  This is to mitigate charges that private collectors are using the museums for personal gain/advertising.  Further, it can be far more difficult to get private collectors to agree to the long term loans require for a formal traveling exhibit than one might expect.  Many collectors will simply not agree to relinquish control of their favorite things for the 18 months to 2 years that an exhibit needs if it is to travel to 5 or 6 venues.


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:14 pm 
 

Bill,

I agree the 150k is a drop in the bucket, but it appears that is an amount estimated to get the corporation and not for profit established, prepare architectural plans, finalize and location and manage initial logistics, then it may be sufficient.  If this gets to the building/construction phase, staffing, utilities, maintenance and marketing phases...  the project will consume as much money as can be made available.  

Also, one of the best managed accredited small house museums in New England has been almost completely volunteer run and managed with a relatively small budget for decades.  Granted, they own the property and the collections, but beyond the initial capital costs, a small museum with a passionate volunteer base can survive on rather shockingly low amounts of money.  Most museums do not maintain a large endowment, more than one or two professional staff or a big budget.

It will be interesting to see how this thing evolves.  However, even if this venture fails, I fully believe another will come along and succeed.  The time is ripe for some of the dedicated older gamers (especially those without children to inherit) to start focusing resources on some of the hobbies that have provided them the greatest enjoyment.  

The problem with this type of project is not the idea, it's the challenge of herding a public flock comprised of sheep, wolves, vampires, paladins and dragons toward a common goal.  The rpg community is diverse, cantankerous and boisterous, to say the least, lol.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:55 pm 
 

Another problem with a museum is that the material displayed is typically hands-off.
For good reason, obviously.

D&D is very hands-on.
I want to be able to hold an original wood-grain box.
I want to read the original Lost Caverns, etc.

A museum isn't going to appeal to me if all I'm allowed to do is look at rare module XYZ under glass.
I can do that in a de facto sense from the Internet.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:18 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:Another problem with a museum is that the material displayed is typically hands-off.
For good reason, obviously.

D&D is very hands-on.
I want to be able to hold an original wood-grain box.
I want to read the original Lost Caverns, etc.

A museum isn't going to appeal to me if all I'm allowed to do is look at rare module XYZ under glass.
I can do that in a de facto sense from the Internet.


I agree.   Taking it a step further, I'd go so far as to say I think the money spent on a brick and mortar museum would be much better spent toward negotiating/purchasing rights to publicly share the materials from TSR's archives on the Internet via a well organized "Virtual" Museum.   As Keith stated, it isn't like we're going to be able to physically handle the "historic" materials anyway...

IndieGoGo has $385 toward $150K.   If you can't get the folks on the Acaeum excited, it probably isn't going to happen via crowd sourcing....and may require some more thought (i.e. is it a good idea to begin with?).

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:20 pm 
 

dhunton wrote:Museum of Dungeons and Dragons

Already got WotC's permission to use Dungeons and Dragons?

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:32 pm 
 

Why would they need it?  If the use is for commercial purpose, sure.  Most museum activities are not deemed commercial.  Further, why would WOTC challenge fair use by a museum, library or university.  It basically is free marketing for them.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:39 am 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:Another problem with a museum is that the material displayed is typically hands-off.
For good reason, obviously.

D&D is very hands-on.
I want to be able to hold an original wood-grain box.
I want to read the original Lost Caverns, etc.

A museum isn't going to appeal to me if all I'm allowed to do is look at rare module XYZ under glass.
I can do that in a de facto sense from the Internet.


Interesting... I acknowledge your argument but I was going to say a physical museum isn't necessary because so much of D&D is intangible and idea based.

For me, a website such as this one, is all I need for a D&D museum.  In fact, this site has MORE than I need. Now, there are great stories and tales to be told.. but much of that exists in forums and blogs.

The physicality of D&D is personal, for me.  My most treasured items are *MY* beat up old Holmes basic set, and MY PHB and DMG (completely with colored in pictures.  My favorite miniatures are the ones me and my friends hand painted (HORRIBLY) and are the Grenadier boxed sets.  My favorite module is still B1 because it was 'first' and for the next decade my group sought clues as to what happened to Rogan and Zelligar (whatever DID happen to those guys?)

Anyway, if someone put up a Museum, I would probably go if I was in the area.  I suppose I'd enjoy seeing a few of the ultra-rare items I don't have but mostly I'd nit pick and try to point out that they have a 3rd print Men and Magic displayed with their First Print Woodie and there errata sheet was a fake since it was clearly printed with an inkjet. :D

I suppose it would be neat if there was a place that collected all the RPGA stuff, the Tourneys, the independent modules, the third party press stuff.. but then it's not a museum, it's a LIBRARY, which is also nice but that's a different thing.

And, if anyone was going to do it, I'd expect it to be Foulfoot(master of all us collecting nerds), or Grodog(who's actually a professional organizer of knowledge), or the Burnie Brothers(for collection depth) etc.. I know there are a dozen or more equally qualified chaps on the board here. :)  

So, I think this project kinda stinks.  Good luck though, if they succeed I will definitely swallow my words and show up and buy a ticket... but so help me if you show a Holmes Box with a Color-Shrinkwrapped B1 and 'chits' instead of dice...


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:42 am 
 

I don't think it's nit picking to point out that you seem to have confused the roles of specialist research and acquisition specialists (curators) with that of founding, developing and managing a not for profit organization that needs broad based public support.  There is certainly a role for specialists in museums, but increasingly they are independent contractors, except at the largest museums.  

Also, Acaeum members are both few in number and have no real need for an introduction to the game and rpg's.  Museums are seldom for specialists, rather they introduce experiences and ideas to people who might not otherwise encounter them.  That is not to say that many of us would not enjoy a d&d museum, rather that we are simply too few to be relevant except perhaps as donors, advisers, viral marketing promoters, etc.

Also, for the record, the types of mistakes you refer to are common in museums.  They are seldom the "fault" of the professional curatorial staff.  Usually, the preparators, cleaning staff, guards or curatorial assistants mix up materials when they are cleaning cases and if you politely call it to their attention they will have the matter remedied.  

Dunno if the idea of a purely virtual d&d museum would work... and if so perhaps it exists here on this forum.  Nonetheless, the public still likes a place to visit, shop, go to the restroom and enjoy an experience that is not at their desk in front of a keyboard.  And, children and teachers will never stop seeking off site field trips, lol.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:01 am 
 

Pipswich wrote:Why would they need it?  If the use is for commercial purpose, sure.  Most museum activities are not deemed commercial.  Further, why would WOTC challenge fair use by a museum, library or university.  It basically is free marketing for them.

Yeah, you're right. I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. :lol:

I wouldn't touch this thing with a ten foot pole.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:50 am 
 

The sarcasm is amusing and irrelevant, but not logically derived from my post.  And, this is a real life endeavor, not an online game.  Sitting around and sniping at what appear to be good hearted efforts and a potential gift of lifelong assets to the public is malicious and disgusting.  It is going to be an extraordinary challenge for these people to pull off a museum, but there is certainly no reason they should not, can not, or will not.  Very few people in life actually accomplish anything for their own or any others good.  

There is plenty to worry about in any specific circumstance, but, in general, a not for profit 501 (c) 3  enjoys significant legal protection regarding it's forms of expression.  Do you expect libraries to pull all new books (with embedded trademarks and copyrights) from the shelves?  Why would a museum have to worry about exhibiting them, or creating exhibits and educational materials with the same or similar material?  

Meanwhile, you can rest assured that some of us with professional expertise regarding non profit structures and the activities of museums and charities will be watching this endeavor closely.  I, for one, am not going to adopt a stance of negativity and suspicion from the outset.  I have seen far to many extraordinary museums evolve or reinvent themselves because of a few dedicated individuals.  It is possible for this thing to work, it does happen in real life, and wouldn't you prefer it to happen in our lifetimes?     I understand people have their friendships, loyalties, suspicions and concerns.  That's natural.  But, if any one of us think someone else should be doing this... it doesn't really matter, does it.  He, she, it, them... or that big corporation, have not done so and show no reasonable intent to ever do so.  

So why take pot shots at people who are willing to contribute the time, money, energy and potential collections?


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:20 pm 
 

Doesn't seem to matter which link I try, the indiegogo page is dead.

Might be that's its failed already or just a site issue.

But what was at $350 of a $150,000 request, it was a way short anyway


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:41 pm 
 

Pipswich wrote:The sarcasm is amusing and irrelevant, but not logically derived from my post.

Are you from Earth or some assburger-filled alternate dimension? Who talks like this?  :roll:

Pipswich wrote:So why take pot shots at people who are willing to contribute the time, money, energy and potential collections?

Huh? Asking if they had any legal rights to use the Dungeons and Dragons brand name in their endeavor before donating money is a "pot shot"? It's not as if the WotC legal team needs to be right to shut the project down - they could lock this up in court until the museum people run out of money. This isn't rocket surgery. Whatever man - donate your kid's college fund to the unofficial Museum of Dungeons and Dragons. I don't give a shit.  :)

  

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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:21 pm 
 

Chainsaw wrote:
Pipswich wrote:The sarcasm is amusing and irrelevant, but not logically derived from my post.

Are you from Earth or some assburger-filled alternate dimension? Who talks like this?  :roll:

Pipswich wrote:So why take pot shots at people who are willing to contribute the time, money, energy and potential collections?

Huh? Asking if they had any legal rights to use the Dungeons and Dragons brand name in their endeavor before donating money is a "pot shot"? It's not as if the WotC legal team needs to be right to shut the project down - they could lock this up in court until the museum people run out of money. This isn't rocket surgery. Whatever man - donate your kid's college fund to the unofficial Museum of Dungeons and Dragons. I don't give a shit.  :)



Pip has a few good points!  Unfortunalty this project will fail, the lack of funding is one issue; the lack of proper planning is the key issue here.  THey should stop this fundraising efforts right now and come up with a proper business plan, consult with industry people, get somebody onboard that knows the details of non profit organizations and start listening.

There are a few people on the Acaeum that would help both with funding and advice, the organizers are shutting them out!  This will be a very difficult project without the aid of this website.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:51 pm 
 

Hi,

its a shame.

They seemed like nice people.

The idea is very nice.

But if they started something small up and then asked for money to expand, they might get a better reception.

Cheers,
KAL


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:32 pm 
 

I want to start by saying this -- I hold the Acaeum in high esteem. The knowledge that you have regarding the early days of the game is amazing. But somehow, when I post here, I always manage to say the wrong thing. So, if I do say the wrong thing again, I'm sorry. I don't mean to do so.

With that being said, I would like to answer as many of your outstanding questions as I can, because you've asked good questions. There are other questions not included here because members of the Acaeum have answered them very well already.

Reference Library/Archive
Keith the Thief wrote:Another problem with a museum is that the material displayed is typically hands-off. I want to be able to hold an original wood-grain box. I want to read the original Lost Caverns, etc. A museum isn't going to appeal to me if all I'm allowed to do is look at rare module XYZ under glass.

danull wrote: I'd go so far as to say I think the money spent on a brick and mortar museum would be much better spent toward negotiating/purchasing rights to publicly share the materials from TSR's archives on the Internet via a well organized "Virtual" Museum.

In the archive, you are going to be able to hold the items. Maybe not original manuscripts, but certainly anything that was actually published. And if you really want to hold original manuscripts, like most museums, we will make it possible to request access to them. Of course, you'll be able to page through copies of manuscripts without special permission.

As for virtual access, we're working on that. Keep an eye on our blog for further information as it becomes available.

Displays
Blackmoor wrote:So what do you have planned for this place. Displays? Wax statues of Gary and Dave?

Grug Greyskin wrote:The biggest question, which has more or less been asked above is:  "What do you have to display?"  Nothing on the indiegogo site indicated that you have a collection worthy of a museum ready to display, and your movie had nothing more notable than a White Box.

Displays are not specifically for experts such as yourself. They are for the laymen who might never have seen an Isle of Dread or white box set in person. But the museum won't be focusing on that, it will be focusing on the history of the game. We'll be showing how it progressed from one set/edition/setting to another, and how everything is related.

We'll also be showcasing the promotional items that came out at each time period, such as the posters and the flyers, and the pins and buttons. Like Dragon Month in 1993. How many people have ever seen the button of the red dragon Easley art? TSR created Dragon Month, and did almost nothing with it. The sets actually arrived to the retailers in June, when Dragon Month was in May.

We want to create an experience for the person who says, "I used to play D&D in college. I'd like to take Billy and Cindy to the museum and show it to them." He wants to walk through at a casual pace and see the game evolve, and share something with his kids that he enjoyed in his youth.

We will also show things like how D&D sparked video games, and SSI's role in that evolution (along with their relationship with TSR). How many other things were sparked by the game along the way?

Perks on the Pledge Site
copycat wrote:Seems like a lot of paltry benefits for the amount to be donated. "One free entry." Wow. No thanks.

You are not PURCHASING the benefits you mention, you are donating to the cause of a Museum of D&D, and the benefits are our "thank you" for your donation. I'm sorry that you feel that $15 is too high of a donation to preserve D&D's history.

We have actually had other "perks" suggested (like a custom die), and we are looking into adding others. If you have any thoughts on what we should offer, please let us know.

Planning
Blackmoor wrote:Unfortunalty this project will fail, the lack of funding is one issue; the lack of proper planning is the key issue here.  THey should stop this fundraising efforts right now and come up with a proper business plan, consult with industry people, get somebody onboard that knows the details of non profit organizations and start listening. There are a few people on the Acaeum that would help both with funding and advice, the organizers are shutting them out!  This will be a very difficult project without the aid of this website.

First, we are not shutting out anyone from the Acaeum who comes to us with ideas (we have many exchanges with people from this and numerous other sites going on behind the scenes right now). We will happily listen to ALL constructive suggestions (if you don't like the way something is being done, suggest an alternative).  

Second, there is plenty of planning, just because you don't see or acknowledge it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. What would you like to know? Feel free to email or PM us with any questions.

Third, we have and are continuing to consult with industry people, we have someone on board that knows the details of non-profit organizations. As for funding, that issue is addressed below.

Donations
DiscoDadda wrote:I have like 15 copies of X1, I'd be willing to donate.

You can send that donation to the museum at the following address: c/o Jim Hunton; 5401 Pioneer 15th Street, Clewiston, FL  33440

This kind of help is also vital to the museum's success, and will be very much appreciated.

Final Comments
We could just fund this museum, we have friends who could just fund this museum. But you are absolutely right, if the community is not active in the museum, it will struggle to succeed. Thus a crowdfunding campaign, allowing the community to be part of the museum, and help decide where it will be located.

We appreciate all of the encouraging words and advice the Acaeum had to offer us. Thank you very much. :D


Jim and Debbie Hunton
Curators, Museum of Dungeons & Dragons

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