Treasure It Together: Southwest Museum Site National Trust Planning Process FAQ

Q: What is the National Trust doing for the Southwest Museum Site?

A: We are serving as a neutral facilitator to manage a multi-phased planning process that includes interviews, online survey, and public outreach; the development of a market assessment; exploring options and conducting due diligence with potential partners; and preparing a Request for Interest (RFI) for the Southwest Museum Site. A 15-member Steering Committee was created in late 2015 to help shape recommendations during each phase of the planning process, and the Steering Committee’s recommendations at each stage are forwarded to the board of the Autry.

Q: How is this planning process different from what’s been tried before?

A: This process is different because the National Trust engaged as an outside, neutral facilitator to convene stakeholders from the Autry, the surrounding community, and many other interested entities in Los Angeles to work collaboratively towards a shared vision for the Southwest Museum Site. While past efforts focused primarily on the issue of whether continued use as a museum is viable at the site, our goal is to find ways to revitalize the site that balance numerous stakeholder desires and priorities with the pressing issues of financial feasibility and sustainable, long-term stewardship.

Q: Who will make the final decision about what happens at the Southwest Museum Site?

A: As the owner of the building, the Board of Trustees of the Autry will make the final decision on recommendations emerging from our work. A representative from the Autry’s board and two members of the Autry staff serve on the Steering Committee and will bring recommendations from the National Trust and the Steering Committee to the board of the Autry on a regular basis to ensure that they are fully informed and supportive of the options being explored.

Q: How long will this planning process take?

A: The National Trust announced the Southwest Museum Site as a National Treasure in January 2015. Because this is a very complex and challenging task, our work will take several years to complete. We encountered a few delays early in the process and have significantly expanded the scope of work in recent years to explore concepts and due diligence with a few potential partners. We also developed a Request for Interest (RFI) to capture the increasing interest in the museum campus and the Casa de Adobe. Depending on the nature of the responses to the RFI, we estimate that our work will conclude in 2019.

Q: Is information about this planning effort available in both English and Spanish?

A: While the Stakeholder Interview Summary Report is not available in Spanish, all sections of the National Treasure website offer options for Spanish translations. The new version of the TreasureSWM.org website now allows for the text to be translated into several languages of the readers choosing using Google translate.

Q: How was the Steering Committee selected?

A: The 15 members of the Steering Committee includes three representatives from the Autry (two staff and one board member chosen by the Autry), two community representatives from the northeast Los Angeles neighborhoods surrounding the site (nominated by the community), and 10 at-large representatives. At-large representatives include elected officials, representatives from academic institutions, and professionals with expertise in areas such as historic preservation, museums, philanthropy, arts and culture, cultural affairs, education and academics, economic development, Native American culture, Latino culture, parks and public lands, city planning, land use, business development, and community development. Suggestions for at-large steering committee members were solicited during the stakeholder interviews and we reviewed nearly 80 candidates. At-large members were selected by the National Trust to ensure that the committee included a broad and high level of professional expertise in the areas listed above as well as including visionary and open-minded leaders who are consensus builders and strategic thinkers.

Q: What is the role of the Steering Committee for this planning process?

A: The Steering Committee plays a pivotal role in our work by critically assessing the data from the stakeholder interview report and many other sources, developing informed recommendations, and guiding the assessment of proposed concepts and potential partners. The National Trust’s and Steering Committee’s final recommendations will be presented to the Board of the Autry for the approval.

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