Museum of Dungeons & Dragons
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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:34 pm 
 

The person who talks like this has secured millions of dollars in grant funding for museums, been named a Preservation Hero by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, won the American Association of Museums highest award for service on the museum accreditation team, secured somewhere over 3,000 gifts of real property (including major works of art) for museums in many states and brokered a multimillion dollar gift of real estate in northern New Jersey.

I left the museum field for my own business (for the third time) a year ago.  Most museum directors who actually accomplish things, eventually burn out, burn bridges and eventually move on to another project.  It's not like most people or communities want to be pushed or driven toward growth, excellence or change.  Most simply want to be left alone until they have a need, crisis for strong desire for change.

Certainly, I respect people's right to express themselves about this matter.  And, I have no special inside knowledge of what the Hunton's are doing.  But, I have also not seen anything particularly unusual about this so far.  That, in and of itself, is evidence of more planning than most here understand.  The information they have shared did not simply drop out of the sky.  There has been some formal planning and significant thought given to this project already.

I wish it the best and will continue to share observations about the project and members comments, especially if members keep posting nonsense about museums needing permissions that are not required, or that museums' founders, officers or donors have obligations that they do not have.  

This project should not fail because of misinformation and the potential viral growth of ignorant conjecture.  It may fail for other reasons, but as a long standing museum pro, I would be remiss to let some of the mistaken ideas about museums posted on this forum stand as if they are true.  Whether this attempt to create a d&d museum succeeds or fails is anyone's guess at this point.  But, there is certainly no reason for the people who want one to run it into the ground before the articles of incorporation are even signed and submitted to a state.

You do realize that everyone here has been invited to participate before the final site is chosen?  Formally, that is inviting you to become a stakeholder and allowing your opinion to matter right at the start.  Would you be happier to learn that a d&d museum foundation was established, the site chosen, the architectural plans complete and your opinions are neither needed, nor wanted?


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:06 pm 
 

Lots of interesting feedback here - not surprising, we are passionate about this nonsense!

Unfortunately I feel that this particular attempt is doomed to failure, it just doesn't seem that there is enough hard information to make it a tangible prospect. There are so many grey areas, and bearing in mind the scale and the budgets involved then grey areas are not a good thing. Crowdfunding can only go so far and this simply isn't the right avenue for this endeavour.

BUSINESS PLAN -- again, a draft is in place, done by a CPA volunteer. But the incorporation papers can't be filed until the state is chosen, and the non-profit status papers can't be filed until the corporation exists. And the initial startup costs (downpayment, construction, moving, etc), as well as monthly costs (rent, utilities, etc), and annual costs (insurance, permitting, taxes), cannot be calculated until the exact location is finalized. However, a sample plan, based on one possible location, had to be prepared before we could determine the minimum funding amount for the kickstarter/indiegogo drive, so this has been done. The museum WILL NOT be relying on online donation drives to continue operations -- those funds will be provided through a wide variety of sources -- from visitors and memberships, to gift shop and online sales, to local and federal grants, among others.

rter
This quote is from the blog and I think sums up a lot of what is wrong with this issue - there are so many things in here that "cannot" be quantified that they make they whole thing a bit of a joke. It does say that a plan has been made for the benefit of the Kickstarter but nothing more. If you want $150 you need to give more than this, otherwise why would you really expect people to invest anything at all.

They need to get more information out there - at the moment its a "Field of Dreams" thing - and without a Hollywood A-Lister to give it kudos.


A few other bits and bobs, in no particular order.

1) It states clearly that this is a museum but where does it state that its a charity/not for profit/I'm going to make this my own collection or whatever else.

2) It needs to be more RPG and less D&D - like it or not all the other companys/mags/publishers/authors/systems make D&D what it is - It would be very remiss to simply ignore everything else.

3) Thunder Rift - really?!

4) It really needs some proper "celebrity" backing.

5) They sort of imply that they have people on board from here for help and advise - anyone want to fess up? (Not saying its a bad thing!)

Take this on its merits, all my own thoughts and without much research - feel free to put me in my place, it just all seems a bit wrong to me.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:01 pm 
 

A couple of your questions are important and beyond my expertise because they are aspects of law that I have never researched and/or which may fall under state law.  For instance, I do not think  that they can state they are a charity or not for profit until they have been formally incorporated and then the corporate entity applies for 501 (c) 3, or similar status.  That is likely the reason this seems awkward to some people.  They have not gotten it far enough along to be a legal entity!  I also "think" that once that matter is resolved that they can present as a charity and gifts are deductible as long as they have actually filed the proper paperwork with the IRS and pending a letter of determination or notification of decline.  (These traditionally take a very long time to receive, fyi).

Many charities are essentially local and the officers and/or directors assemble and one or more of them cough up the money for the start up fees without concern for the deduction.  Those fees can vary considerably, depending upon the state filing fees and whether or not the attorney and CPA are volunteers or paid.  Some, foundling not for profits I have worked with have been "spin offs" of a larger organization and gifts made to the "parent" are deductible and this helps offset the start up costs for the donors.  I think there are a lot of different ways to come up with funding for the incorporation paperwork and kickstarter is a potentially viable one, albeit $150,000 is a lot of money to ask the public for with so few details.  I might have chosen a different avenue to get the word out and solicit funds, but this method certainly managed to get the word out quickly, lol.

Meanwhile, perhaps this project is doomed to fail.  But, it may not, and if it does fail, it may still inspire a more successful endeavor.  This is certainly more serious and substantive discussion about a museum devoted to d&d than I have encountered.   At some point, if there is to be a museum, people have to take action and find their way through the legal and fundraising challenges.  Why not now?  And, why should any of us expect this thing to come perfectly presented out of a box.  The simple truth is, that to my knowledge, the only entities that have the financial wherewithal to hire experienced professionals to design and build a d&d museum have shown no interest in doing so.  And, unless that situation changes, if there is to be a d&d/rpg museum... it will be a long and bumpy ride, lol.  

All  the best,

Tommy


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:03 am 
 

First off, the museum should be in Lake Geneva, unless there is a compelling reason otherwise.  If WOTC was set to underwrite a substantial donation, put it in Renton.  If the city of Indy or GenCon likewise wanted it in Indy, do it.   Orlando is a non-starter. Lake Geneva makes sense from a historical standpoint. I mean, you could conceivably put the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Dallas, or the Baseball Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, (whoops), but it just doesn't make sense. It sounds cool to let people choose the location, but honestly I would hope the location would be chosen with more than the equivalent of throwing a dart at a board.

At least one major celeb needs to be on board, and have made a donation, to get the ball rollling. Look at the D&D documentary, which frankly I consider a pretty underfunded and underwhelming project, but it got financing because the Gygax family was behind it and promoted it.

You really need something more visual.  The video is just not visual enough, you need to have a mockup to bring to conventions and show people.  Yes, depending on space available, it could look completely different.  but you have to have something to show people.

As Tommy said, you have to start somewhere, I guess I was looking for more of a finished product. God knows we could have benefitted from more feedback before we created our own convention. But we didn't ask for money from anyone for NTRPG con, we had our own vision and went ahead with it. I would really rather less consensus (because in the gaming community, consensus is impossible and contentious and more a solid plan and vision that you would tweak and change based on feedback.

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:25 pm 
 

Lake Geneva makes the most sense. People visiting Chicago could make the trip easy. You have the Gary Con connection. Indy is a dangerous choice because there is no gaurrantee that Gen Con will be there ten years from now. We assume it will be, but I never would have guessed they would have moved it from Milwaukee to Indy.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:20 pm 
 

dhunton wrote:
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.


No. You missed the boat looking into the sky.

Your "perks" at several levels of "sponsorship" are "one free entry." Which, in most regular readings means "you can come visit us one time." Really? So, if I gave you $15,000 I get the wonderful right to see the value of the donation one single time. Yep. No thanks. Lifetime membership and admittance whenever wanted, guaranteed availability to "black tie events" and so on and forth so would be not only infinitely better but more appropriate.

Of course, I may have just read it wrong. Either way, it wasn't presented in a way that made sense. And that is the fundamental problem.

I used to have this dream. I used to want to have a sort of museum-like thing that I could take to GenCon and other large gatherings, to highlight the things that make RPGs so great, at least from my PoV. But I realized I don't have the money. I don't have the means. That's fine. Many someones do. But, it has to be taken with a corporate mindset. And that means making a pitch that leaves no questions.
.


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:28 pm 
 

Copycat,

In general your points are sound.  But, they cannot promise lifetime membership in an organization that does not exist, etc.  

Badmike,  

Your points seem very relevant.  And, although I agree consensus with this group is impossible, that does not mean the organizers should not make a good faith attempt to reach it.  For one thing, among  the first thing most major donors, politicians and grant agencies will ask are a few common questions...

1. What individuals are behind this project who have the combined resources to make it work?
2. What do all those crazy convention people (stakeholders) think about it... if those folks are adversarial toward the museum... it won't fly.
3.  What's in it for my community and what will it cost.

I think the logic of Lake Geneva is sound.  However, I wouldn't write off Orlando... simply because of the demonstrated tourism base.  And, with Disney's recent purchase of the Star Wars franchise even more of the convention types are likely to head to Orlando, than ever before.  I agree Indianapolis seems risky, but if the city got behind the project it would make a huge difference.

It's definitely cool to see realistic discussions about how a d&d/rpg museum would come about.  

And, for those who are more concerned about your benefits than your money...   you probably don't realize you are consumer/members.... not donors.   Donors give with little thought for their gimmes.  Members buy a product or service, usually at a discounted price that is subsidized by earned income or donor gifts... and the program is designed to encourage some of them to actually become donors... frequently this happens only though estate gifts.  Membership programs at museums usually lose money and are an expense.  Donor programs should yield real revenue.

Setting up a kickstarter project seems to have confused a lot of people.  You are not being sold anything, because there is no product.  You are being asked to donate freely to a concept.  Clearly, most people will not do so and that is not a reflection on members of Acaeum.  That is simply the way things are with society at large.

If you believe in this, or any, cause and wish to donate... by all means do so.  But, don't expect member perks until other people have financed and created the museum.. if you are looking for a tit for tat exchange.


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:12 pm 
 

GamesGuy wrote:[...]I was going to say a physical museum isn't necessary because so much of D&D is intangible and idea based.

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.


GamesGuy, you stated the other part of my misgivings quite well: The personal nature of the game.

What on earth can ever substitute for my own "Dark Castle of Theas"?
Those words are scribbled on the inside of my White Box.
It's sentimental to me, but it's not something you'd ever want to see, especially in a museum.

dhunton wrote:We will happily listen to ALL constructive suggestions (if you don't like the way something is being done, suggest an alternative).


If this is your dream, then listen to the experts here.
Take their suggestions very seriously.
Get members of the Gygax and Arneson families involved.
Get Collector's Trove involved.

Another impression: the castle storefront looks cheesy.  
I was much more impressed by the interior dungeon graphic and the library than the exterior "Wally World" look.

Could a D&D museum work?
Hell, yes.  After all, if a giant ball of twine in Kansas can attract tourists, then anything can.

But I think you need to listen to these hard questions.
Your dream stands a much better chance of succeeding if you do.

Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving.
Keith


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Last edited by Keith the Thief on Fri Nov 23, 2012 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:17 am 
 

While items such as a Woodie, OCE set & supplements, Holmes set, MM, DMG, PH, DD, FF, B1&2, G1-3, D1-3, S1, and TOEE are expected to be there, it would be a plus to have hand drawn character sheets on display as well. Especially if the character sheets, maps, etc had historical importance. It would be interesting to see how the play of the game evolved.

And, I think the Perleman PH would be a great addition to the exhibit as well, with all of its notes written throughout.

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Post Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:22 pm 
 

Pipswich wrote:Copycat,

In general your points are sound.  But, they cannot promise lifetime membership in an organization that does not exist, etc.  

[... stuff directed at someone else ...]

If you believe in this, or any, cause and wish to donate... by all means do so.  But, don't expect member perks until other people have financed and created the museum.. if you are looking for a tit for tat exchange.


The first part is the major crux of all the remaining issues. Without a solid backbone, some developmental proof of concept, there is no flesh and veins to hang. It seems that the "D&D Collector Community" wants more than a copy of Gray's Anatomy stuck to the Musée Fragonard d'Alfort... substance and structure is called for, and not received.

And, for the other, seeing as I perceive it may be directed at me as well... I would donate, if there was a cause worthy of that donation. But, an idea goes nowhere without evidence that it can be anything but itself. Anyone can say these things, that they want to do X and Y and then ask for help, claiming to have the backing of who and where and why, but when someone says "show me" and there is an Oz-like backdoor response, well... the curtain only falls once. There is no bravo. No encore. Come on stage prepared or at least be the best damn impromptu star the world will ever know...


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:24 am 
 

I love the way you phrased that.  "best damned impromptu star..."

You are definitely right, founders must be prepared... or at least prepared to lead.  We will all see where this goes.  However, real life (except e commerce, lol) does not happen at the speed of internet forums, so I would not necessarily expect responses on our* time frame.  When founders are learning as they go.... the learning curve is steep and sorting out good input from bad... isn't easy.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:18 pm 
 

Not a lot of love for this it seems - less than 500 dollars pledged and the number of donors hasn't even reached double figures. The facebook page also seems dead in the water - just no positive buzz at all. Not sure whether its a shame or not - at least if this  attempt fails (as seems likely) then those that attempt something similar in the future will have some kond of benchmark.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:07 am 
 

gyg wrote:Not a lot of love for this it seems - less than 500 dollars pledged and the number of donors hasn't even reached double figures. The facebook page also seems dead in the water - just no positive buzz at all. Not sure whether its a shame or not - at least if this  attempt fails (as seems likely) then those that attempt something similar in the future will have some kond of benchmark.


Like someone said earlier... if they tried this around the Gencon / Origins season, they might get a lot more interest in the project...


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:26 am 
 

http://artsblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/ ... hips.html/


My very first act in Mobile was to make all admission fees voluntary.  I then spent years paring back the costs of membership and never once organized a membership drive.  Really, most of us here are museum visitors... not donors or patrons.  The key issue with the kickstarter project is that it muddles up the distinction.  The kick starter project does not succeed or fail based upon money raised in small increments.  Frankly, one might take the perspective that it has already identified a few donors that were unknown to the founders when they launched it.  That, coupled with any warm contacts it has brought to the surface have likely made the KS project quite beneficial.

Meanwhile, it takes months and months of behind the scenes work to organize a museum and/or non profit.  KS can not speed the process.  It may very well be a long time before most of us know anything much about this museum possibility.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:25 pm 
 

Based upon the misinformation given in this thread on Dragonsfoot, I would tread very warily when dealing with these particular folks.  All the things said about what it takes to found a museum may be true.  That doesn't make the process any less vulnerable to people who have place a low value on honesty and transparency.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:12 pm 
 

Jarloch,

I haven't looked over at DF, but your essential point is true that the process is vulnerable to abuse.  My goal in posting is to clear the air about the process and help define the risks so that good projects are not derailed due to misinformation.  The potential for the process, or any specific application of the process, to be vulnerable or misused is a matter of law, corporate governance and thus for regulators.  Those matters are far beyond my scope.  The point of the non profit structure is that they allow individuals to associate and pool resources for the common good.  Nonetheless, there are certainly people who manipulate it to their own advantage.  Time always provides the tale.


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:16 pm 
 

Interesting, it seems that there is the 'option' of a refund if they don't achieve the target.

As per my first post in this very thread, I wouldn't trust the huntons as far as I could throw the world at the sun. Their money making schemes off the backs of others is unpleasant and now seemingly unscrupulous

They'd be better off running any of their schemes from their previous ill-gotten gains..


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:27 pm 
 

Pipswich wrote:http://artsblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/ ... hips.html/


My very first act in Mobile was to make all admission fees voluntary.  I then spent years paring back the costs of membership and never once organized a membership drive.  Really, most of us here are museum visitors... not donors or patrons.  The key issue with the kickstarter project is that it muddles up the distinction.  The kick starter project does not succeed or fail based upon money raised in small increments.  Frankly, one might take the perspective that it has already identified a few donors that were unknown to the founders when they launched it.  That, coupled with any warm contacts it has brought to the surface have likely made the KS project quite beneficial.

Meanwhile, it takes months and months of behind the scenes work to organize a museum and/or non profit.  KS can not speed the process.  It may very well be a long time before most of us know anything much about this museum possibility.


Far past time that was done at the DMA.  Good move on their part!

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