The American Jazz Museum in Kansas City is a failure, as is the entertainment district in which it resides. It is an expensive failure. As we’ve written previously, all of this was foreseeable, and was foreseen, when the 18th and Vine District was in its infancy. Our government-funded jazz district is in shambles, while the privately financed Beale Street in Memphis is soaring.
According to a story from KCUR, a consultant’s report on the Jazz Museum was scathing:
The museum, according to the consultants’ report, is “in need of complete rethinking, akin to starting a new museum.” The report called for a “complete rebirth, starting with its leadership, but continuing with a revamped financial model, visitor experience, and operational infrastructure.”
Among the consultant’s 26 recommendations was to close the museum for a period of time. Again from the KCUR story:
Five recommendations involve immediate action, including the closure of the museum “for a predetermined period of time.” A temporary closure for less than a year, the report said, would allow the organization to “save costs and focus on basic operating needs.”
I am no museum consultant, but that seems like pretty good advice to me. In fact, it was exactly the advice I offered on KCPT’s Ruckus back in October 2017. City leaders may prefer to ignore the advice of the report and further involve government management and taxpayer subsidies. Doing so would be a shame.