The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Museum Construction – Delivering on your programmatic vision

Part one of our museum construction series explores how to keep your capital project on track to deliver on your programmatic vision

Introducing our museum construction series

Our museum construction series explores different facets of the museum construction process and provides museum directors and their teams high level insights and tools to navigate their capital projects.

Part one of our museum construction series celebrates the launch of our eBook: Museum Construction – 8 questions for planning capital project, with a goal setting exercise to keep your project on track during construction.


Huntington Site Design

Ready, set, now what?

You’re post-design, pre-construction and you’ve got your team assembled. Entering into the construction phase, you feel confident that your design will support your program and deliver on your institution’s mission.

Once you break ground, you will be even more enmeshed in the weeds of day-to-day problem solving and the attention to detail it takes to move the project forward. How do you keep your eye on the ball and ensure you continue to focus on the primary goals of the project?

One answer to that question is to take your team through this goal-setting exercise designed by Laurie Sowd, Senior Vice President of the California Science Center and former Vice President for Operations, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.


The Huntington in construction

Team goal setting

Gather key people from your team – your architect and design consultants, your contractor (especially the superintendent and project manager), any critical subcontractors or engineers, and important players from your institution like your facilities manager, owner’s rep and program director.

  • Ask each person to prepare the following questions for discussion with the group:
    • When construction is completed, how will I decide if the project is successful or not?
    • What specific expectations do I have of my colleagues as we move into the construction phase?
    • What are my biggest concerns? What am I most worried about?
  • Go around the table and ask everyone to share their comments. Take notes.
  • Summarize the results of the conversation and circulate them to the group.
  • Every few months at your weekly construction meetings, take out your benchmark and see how you’re doing.

Congratulations! You now have a powerful tool to gut-check whether you’re on track for success or slipping on expectations, and to make each member of the team clear on how to support one another.


For more thoughts on how to set your project up to deliver on your programmatic vision, download our free eBook: Museum Construction – 8 questions for planning capital project

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