Washington is home to the world-famous Smithsonian, contains an ever-growing number of specialized national museums and ranks high in the museums per capita competition among the world's major international cities. So is it any wonder that Washington is also the home of Museum Consultants International?
"In a complex field, such as modern museology, no one individual possesses the expertise to consult in all areas of that field," explains founder and president Roger L. Wulff. "Therefore, we have gathered a group of about 150 museum professionals and others who are available to consult within their fields of expertise." The consulting staff at Museum Consultants includes museum directors, curators, public relations professionals, film makers, exhibit designers, architects, financial planners, fund-raisers and security experts, among others.
"When I, as president of MCI, receive a request for consulting services I ascertain in detail the requirements of the assignment," Wulff says. "Once we have a fair idea of the client's needs, we then refer to our 'areas of expertise' file for the top three or four consultants within the area." After some cross-checking between the client and the consultant, contracts are drawn up for the assignment, which is then completed.
Museum Consultants recently received nonprofit status, which, Wulff says, "should convey our sincere desire to be part of that the museum community, making a contribution, not a profit." MCI consultants charge "the usual" fee, about $150 a day, but the final price is "open to negotiation between the consultant and the client," Wulff says. Of that, MCI receives 15 percent.
Wulff has been supporting MCI activities during the past two years with his own resources. Recently, as administrative and research costs have soared for many museums, "interest in our work has increased," he says. "I've been in contact with the museum community for the past six or seven years, and everyone agrees that this idea to provide museum consultants and serve as a clearinghouse for the museum community is a good one."
MCI will soon begin supplying materials to the Department of Antiquities in Nigeria. "This will open up the whole area of the Mideastern countries and Africa," Wulff says. "I'm also talking to Kuwait. Everything is in the air right now, and everything is breaking."