Strategic Plan 2019 - 2024


Johnson County Museum Strategic Plan 2019-2024


Showcase Johnson County’s unique stories through collections, programs, and exhibitions utilizing our iconic venues.


To be nationally recognized for presenting local history and exploring the future of one of America’s leading counties.


  • We believe in a Visitor First philosophy, meaning the visitor is not an interruption of our work, but the reason for our work.
  • We value honesty, integrity, ethics, and the highest professional standards in everything we do.
  • We are committed as stewards of the collection to responsibly develop, maintain, preserve, and interpret permanent collections held in public trust.
  • We strive for quality and excellence in scholarship and accuracy in interpretation by presenting balanced views.
  • We are dedicated and responsive to the diverse residents of our region. We strive to provide accessible and inclusive programs and exhibitions to foster community pride and a greater understanding of Johnson County’s role in the American suburban phenomena.
  • We are guided by our mission and vision, while being an essential part of Johnson County, Kansas government’s and Johnson County Park & Recreation District’s (JCPRD) visions and strategic plans.
  • We are fiscally responsible.

Executive Summary

Museum-Strategic_Plan_2In 2017, the Johnson County Museum celebrated 50 years of serving the community along with the grand opening the same year of the new home for the organization in the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center (JCAHC). The culmination of that work positioned the museum to be an even better resource for local history and community connections for the next fifty years. Since opening, the museum has nearly doubled its attendance, quadrupled its membership base, served more children in facilitated programs than ever before, and increased its collections. These milestones also signaled the successful completion of the museum’s 2006 strategic plan, and the need to forge new long-term goals. The museum engaged in a strategic planning process over the course of a year to engage stakeholders, identify community needs that can be met by the museum, and create new initiatives to explore issues of diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity. The result is this five-year strategic plan. As we embark on this community-directed work, we welcome and invite all people, organizations, and partners to join us in making an impact on the future.


Museum-Strategic_Plan_3The Johnson County Museum has a long history of developing and implementing successful long-range plans. The most recent plan culminated in the grand opening in June 2017 of the new JCAHC where the museum is the major tenant.

For this plan, the two museum boards (Museum Advisory Council and the Museum Foundation) led an internal process without the support of an outside consultant; they established a five-year timeframe. They created a committee to spearhead the work and make recommendations to the joint boards for plan adoption. The committee of board members met most months from August 2018 – September 2019. Senior museum staff made recommendations, and shared data and ideas for their consideration. The process included review of mission, vision, and value statements. They collected responses from staff and board members through a SWOT analysis exercise (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of issues facing the organization. This information was evaluated and prioritized. Significant time was also spent collecting and analyzing formal surveys and feedback from museum members, volunteers, staff members, museum visitors, field trip participants, and the general public.

Also of significance, the Museum’s plan complements the JCPRD 2015 Legacy Plan in a number of ways. The Legacy Plan contains seven legacy elements; within each are identified goals for the 15-year window of the plan with associated recommendations and action items. The Museum’s plan fits well into the bolded Legacy Elements, listed below, and corresponding actions items. As well, the Museum’s plan embraces collaboration with the JCPRD Culture Division, which includes the Museum, fine and performing arts programs, and facility rental activities.

In addition, the museum boards agreed that these three approaches are critical to success as we pursue our museum goals:

  • Commit to collect and act upon data to make more informed decisions that impact the work we do and the community we serve.
  • Build partnerships within and outside the museum field to foster inclusivity, diversity, and access to museum programs and services.
  • Enhance the technical and cultural competencies of our staff and volunteers to heighten the experience of our visitors.



We will deliver relevant, thought-provoking, mission-based content through exhibitions and programs to a broad audience by a diverse, inclusive team. Our exhibitions, programs, and services will be more representative of our community and support dialogue around the dramatic changes our community is experiencing. We will be an essential resource for learning about Johnson County history and heritage and nurture a sense of place. Johnson County’s population has changed dramatically since 1990 when only 5 percent of the population identified as non-white. Today, that number is 21% within a total population of 604,000 residents (2018 data).


With improved amenities, location, and visibility at a new location inside the JCAHC, we are now positioned to seek accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums and deploy a more sophisticated approach to marketing. By further expanding our community awareness, the museum will create a larger demand for services with the ultimate goal of raising the level of community awareness for the importance of history and the public’s trust in the information we share.

Museum-Strategic_Plan_5Impact: All these initiatives will further advance the public’s understanding of local history, its relevance to their lives today, and the role the museum plays in the community.

Innovate and Grow Resources

For the museum to be most successful, strategic thought and planning must be devoted to financial and infrastructure matters. Mindful evaluation and investment of time and resources will ensure the museum adapts and evolves to meet the needs of the community. Serving a larger audience will increase gate receipts, increase our membership, and enhance revenue opportunities through programming, museum store initiatives, and fundraising efforts.

Museum-Strategic_Plan_7Impact: Ultimately, increases in revenues will equate to more resources for the museum to meet its mission with more stakeholders in the community sharing why the museum matters.

Metrics: Track revenue and number of contributions to Museum Foundation; track revenue and number of museum members; track revenue generated via museum stores and programs at museum sites; track progress on the upgrades required to museum properties per the ADA audit report; track number and dollar amounts of grants received to support museum initiatives.

Museum-Strategic_Plan_8Preserve and Share Our Collections

Historical collections are at the core of everything we do. The museum’s three-dimensional, photographic and archival collections provide a tangible link to our past and our understanding of today’s diverse cultures and society. The collection must be cared for and preserved according to professional standards within the museum field, while also being accessible to those we serve today and future generations. We will continue to safeguard our collection, actively pursue materials from under-served communities, and look for innovative ways to keep the collection at the forefront of our work.

Impact: The community’s history will be faithfully preserved and safeguarded, more-representative of our changing demographics, and be more accessible to the public.

Metrics: Track number of visitors and page on the site; track number of visitors and page views on the digital collection catalog of three-dimensional objects; track progress on stated goals within collecting plan to include the number of acquisitions and donors to the collection; track data on environmental conditions of historical materials on exhibit and in storage.


The museum leadership thanks the Johnson County Board of Commissioners, the JCPRD Board of Commissioners, the JCPRD Administrative staff and Superintendent of Culture for their support of the museum.

Appendix (copies of all documents will be added)

A number of sources were consulted during the process and the museum collected and participated in five separate data collecting initiatives to inform this plan.

  • Facing Change, Insights from the American Alliance of Museums’ Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Work Group, 2018.
  • JPCRD Legacy Plan, 2015. Accessible at

The museum engaged in a number of key data collecting initiatives from internal and external stakeholders 2018-2019; the information was utilized by the strategic planning committee to inform their discussions and in making recommendations to joint board meetings:

  • Inclusive History Museum Survey, Institute of Museum and Library Services grant funded project spearheaded by Naperville Village. Wilkening Consulting, 2019.
  • AASLH Visitors Count survey, American Association for State and Local History and the Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville, TN, 2018.
  • Kansas/Missouri Broader Population Sampling (museum commissioned study), Wilkening Consulting, 2019
  • Survey of Museum Volunteers and Museum Members, 2019.
  • SWOT assessment by Museum Board Members and Volunteers, 2019.

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