Jan McKay

With more than thirty years in management, fund raising, museum planning, administration, and public relations, Jan McKay has developed a passion for nonprofit destinations and the cultural arts. She has worked at both large and small institutions and has had the pleasure of working in University Circle, Ohio, the cultural hub of Cleveland and home to world-class institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Orchestra, and Case Western Reserve University.

As Director of the Communications and Marketing Division and a member of the Executive Management Team at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Cleveland, McKay managed an award-winning team of professionals responsible for the integrated marketing/communications of this internationally regarded institution. She designed and implemented the Museum’s brand image program and promoted hundreds of traveling and in-house exhibitions, scientific discoveries, events, and educational programs through media relations, community outreach, advertising and strategic public relations. During her 14 year tenure she represented the museum to external audiences, served on many collaborative committees, was a member of the museum’s Development Committee.

Known for her media relations and marketing savvy, McKay once floated a giant, robotic dinosaur on a barge down the Cuyahoga River, past diners and boaters just to call attention to an upcoming robotic dinosaur exhibit that was going to open at the Museum!

McKay then brought innovation to an accredited museum/living history site, Old Cowtown Museum, in Wichita, Kansas. During her many years as its Executive Director, the museum improved historic interpretation, refocused on collections care, doubled the number of volunteers, designed and built a new Visitors Center on the River, and set up new earned revenue streams with unique features such as stagecoach rides, old time photos, brand products, rental improvements and a new retail center. The site enjoyed some of the highest attended years during McKay’s directorship. Special events garnered the support of state agencies and partners.

Her next role was that of Executive Director of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente, California. Jan helped to transform a historic home into a vibrant cultural center and place of enrichment and learning. At Casa Romantica, she and her staff raised new grant revenue, revamped the giving society, launched new programming and an exciting exhibition schedule, and implemented new fund raising and marketing strategies.

Jan then directed the Gulf Coast Exploreum and IMAX Dome Theater in Mobile, Alabama. Here she earned and raised millions of dollars to develop new exhibitions, worked with new staff to create science, technology, engineering and math programs (STEM), created the Archimedes Giving Society, developed new sponsorship programs with corporations and foundations, sought better partnerships, increased giving from county and state government, developed collaborations with NASA, built a better Board, and improved connections to the travel and tourism industry. Here she revamped galleries and renovated others.

Jan has served as a peer consultant with the American Alliance of Museums and as a grants panelist for the Institute for Museums and Library Services in Washington D.C. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communications from Miami University and an undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton. Jan is currently a member of North Coast Rotary Club in Ohio, and she serves on the Board of the West Shore YMCA in Westlake, Ohio. Jan has also served on the Board of Family Assistance Ministries in San Clemente, the Ohio Museums Association, and Exhibit Envoy, a nonprofit which creates exhibits and travels them around the West.

Since 2010 Jan has collaborated with her associates and her nonprofit and cultural clients at Jan McKay & Associates (JMA) (www.janmckayandassociates.com), a consulting firm specializing in nonprofit educational destinations, cultural and arts organizations, and organizations that are health and social justice-oriented. She has assembled some of the brightest Associates with wide ranging skills and deep experience in new museum development, administration, fund development, strategic planning, membership, exhibit planning, education, and volunteer and leadership management.

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