The Privatization of American House Museums: Three Case Studies

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Wade, Sarah Lauren

My interest in the subject of the management and mismanagement of small museums was inspired by my experience volunteering and interning with the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild. I volunteered with the PSPG from January to September, 2007 and was an unpaid summer intern there from May to July, 2007. I experienced first hand the challenges and the frustrations of managing a small historic structure with limited resources. In this case, the historic structure is a 124-year-old Portuguese fishing barkentine, the Gazela Primiero. She was brought over from Portugal in 1974 by a group of concerned volunteers to save the ship from being turned into scrap. An all-volunteer team flew to Portugal, bought the ship, and sailed her back to Philadelphia. After Gazela arrived safely at her new berth, the volunteers faced the even greater challenge of building a non-profit foundation to support their mission. In the early 1990's, the Foundation's mission expanded to include teaching maritime history, representing the city of Philadelphia at public events, with the ultimate goal of raising funding and public support for Gazela's continued maintenance and preservation as well as the preservation of another acquisition, the 1924 steel tugboat Jupiter.

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A thesis in Historic Preservation Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Master of Science in Historic Preservation 2008. Advisor: Gail Caskey Winkler
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