Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Real Places 2019: Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community

Lunch and General Session

Day/Time: Thursday, January 17, 12:30–2 p.m.
Location: Capitol Ballroom DE, 3rd Floor
Speakers: Nina Simon, Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

In 2011, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (SCMAH) was on the brink of closure. It didn’t matter enough to enough people—or to the right people—to succeed. Like so many cultural sites, the museum struggled for funding and relevance. Fast-forward to the present. The SCMAH has quadrupled its budget and staff, attendance is up by 800 percent, and people from all walks of life are now enthusiastically participating and financially supporting the museum. What changed? In this interactive keynote, Nina Simon, executive director of the SCMAH, will share the framework behind its dramatic transformation: OFBYFOR ALL.

OFBYFOR ALL is a global initiative to help civic and cultural organizations become OF, BY, and FOR their communities. Organizations around the world are using it to increase relevance and financial sustainability. Get inspired, get new tools, and get ready to make your institution stronger with OFBYFOR ALL.


Nina Simon has been called a “museum visionary” by Smithsonian Magazine, a Silicon Valley Business Journal “40 under 40,” and Santa Cruz County Woman of the Year for her innovative community leadership. She is executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, where she led an institutional turnaround based on grassroots participation. Currently, she is leading the development of OFBYFOR ALL, a global initiative to increase relevance and financial sustainability. Simon is the bestselling author of The Participatory Museum, The Art of Relevance, and the popular Museum 2.0 blog. She previously worked as an independent consultant and exhibition designer with over 100 museums and cultural centers across the world.