Museums seek profits – Turn to Web for sales

Two venerable nonprofit museums are teaming up to create a for-profit Internet business for art, culture and design, The New York Times reports.

The site, being created by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Tate Gallery and its branches in Britain, will sell commissioned design products and offer educational programs such as live Webcasts of lectures and concerts.

It also will carry archival material on art.

Profits will be applied to the museums’ rising operating costs.

The merger marks the first time any art museum has used its reputation, expertise and outreach to create a profit-making company, the Times says.

In recent months, several academic centers joined forces to start, a Web site designed to provide specialized information and general knowledge. Partners include Columbia University, New York Public Library, British Library, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Cambridge University Press.

To keep the two museums’ tax-exempt status, the still unnamed Web venture will be a separate entity with its own staff, board of directors and offices, the Times says.

A chief executive is being sought to run the business from New York.




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