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Why Museums Matter

Mat Sinclair, President/CEO of The Discovery in Reno, NV

A Reflection on the Value of Museums

Early in 2020, The Discovery’s board of directors granted Mat Sinclair, President/CEO a six-week, paid study sabbatical. After nine years of faithful service to The Discovery, and more than 25 years in the museum field, Mat was excited to travel to different cities around the country to study a variety of museums, seek inspiration for The Discovery’s future plans, and to catch up with old friends/colleagues and meet a few new ones along the way. Then the COVID-19 pandemic happened, putting Mat’s sabbatical plan on an indefinite hold.

In 2022, with COVID travel restrictions lifted and The Discovery in a stable position following the challenges of the pandemic, Mat’s sabbatical plans were rekindled. So, in July of that year he packed his bags and set out on a six-week journey that would have him visiting more than 50 institutions in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.

Not surprisingly, after visiting so many science museums, zoos, aquariums, art museums, automobile museums and various other cultural institutions, Mat was filled with inspiration and excitement. He returned to The Discovery eager to share the knowledge he had gained and the renewed passion he had found. In addition to formal presentations to The Discovery’s board and staff, Mat also attempted to translate everything he had experienced into something tangible and long-lasting. A white paper or sorts, that could encapsulate his sabbatical experiences, but also serve as a document that would possibly validate for others in the industry the value of museums and museum experiences.

The result is, “Why Museums Matter: A Reflection on the Value of Museums.” To download your personal copy click the button below. And if you find it motivational in any way, feel free to reach out to Mat at to share your feedback.

Why Museums Matter: A Reflection on the Value of Museums

By Mat Sinclair, MPA, President/CEO of The Discovery

But wait, there’s more…

After completing my sabbatical in 2022 and authoring “Why Museums Matter,” I realized there was a lot left on the cutting room floor. There were stories and anecdotes that didn’t fit in that paper or were unrelated to my sabbatical experience, but they were ideas that I felt were still worthy of sharing. So, each month I will be adding a new story, essay, or confessional that is intended as a supplement to my original thesis.

The Discovery is an independent, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that receives no state or local tax support and relies on admissions, memberships and donations to continue its educational mission, programs and exhibitions.