Situation Analysis External Analysis
As a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, AMNH is required to fill out a 990 form each year for the IRS. Sometimes, museums encounter disputes over legal ownership or rights to certain artifacts, which can become legal issues. Museums must be careful in purchasing items, ensuring that the artifacts are not stolen. The National Stolen Property Act (NSPA) criminalizes trafficking in stolen property. Found-in-the-ground laws “are intended both to protect archeological sites from looting and to prevent the outflow of cultural property to consumers in wealthy market nations, with the ultimate goal of preserving the source nation’s cultural heritage as embodied in the items of cultural property that define that heritage.” 3
Funding for nonprofits across the country has fallen by up to 50 percent during this economic retrenchment, according to a February study of the arts in the Pacific Northwest. It is now clear that this financial crisis is more severe than anything experienced in 50 years and is likely to be protracted, according to the Helicon Collaborative survey. 6 The current economic recession is affecting the ways in which people spend their time and money, especially leisure time. For instance, during the summer of 2009, only half of Americans planned to travel. Of those with plans, 52 percent (or 25 percent of all Americans) said they were altering those plans in response to the current economic recession. Eighty-nine percent cut back on the total cost of a vacation by spending less on food, lodging, and entertainment. Seventy-three percent vacationed somewhere closer to home than they originally planned to. Additionally, 63 percent of those who revised their plans took the most drastic step of canceling outright one or more trips they planned to take. 5
AMNH currently utilizes several types of technology, including a regularly-maintained (although somewhat difficult to navigate) website, a weblog and a Facebook fan page. The Museum Chronicle magazine is available online twice annually. Within the museum, a few of the exhibits feature interactive audio or video components. Also, outside groups have posted AMNH to tourism sites and Tuscaloosa visitor’s guides throughout the internet.