For more information please contact:
Clement J. Frost, Chairman – (970) 563-0100
Linda Baker, Museum Consultant
In 2011, the Museum relocated into a new tribally funded and beautifully designed building. To ensure the Museum’s success, the Tribe subsidized it for the first five years in the new facility. During that five years, the Museum had hoped to gather donations to operate independently, but fell short of that goal. Last fall, a memorandum of agreement between the Tribe and the Museum expired and the Museum did not have enough funding to continue operating. Instead of seeing the Museum shut down, or worse, sell its collection to pay its liabilities, the Tribe agreed to pay for some of the Museum’s liabilities in exchange for the collection. Given the substantial contributions that the Tribe has provided over the years for the Museum’s operation and existence, the parties agreed that it was in the best interest of the Ute people and the community to have the Tribe manage the Museum and its collection. “Preserving our culture and our history is important to pass on to the future generations,” said Tribal Council Chairman, Clement J. Frost.
Both the Museum and the Tribe agreed that this was the best for everyone. As a 501(c)(3) entity, the Museum will officially dissolve its corporate status and transfer its assets to the Tribe.
During this process, the parties will collaborate for a smooth transition. To help with that process, the Tribe has hired a museum consultant, Linda Baker, who is a Southern Ute tribal member, and who has experience working with museums and collections. She will help inventory the collection, and assist with assigning loaned artifacts to the Tribe or returning them to the lender.
The Museum’s Bylaws allow for this situation. The Bylaws say that if the Museum dissolves, the Museum’s contents “shall be distributed and deaccessioned” under the Internal Revenue Code, Memorandum of Agreement between the Tribe and Museum, and museum conservation standards. The Museum contents that are not already Southern Ute property will become tribal property. In addition to matters of the collection and Museum contents, the parties have also addressed Museum personnel. As a separate entity from the Tribe, the Museum has managed its own personnel. When the Museum exhausted its funds, however, the Tribe agreed to review the Museum’s expenses, including payroll costs, and agreed to cover expenses where possible.
“The Tribe has always been committed to supporting the Museum and our culture,” says Chairman Frost.