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Monday, April 2, 2007


Here's an article about The Museum of the San Fernando Valley's disassociation with LA Valley College. Our Museum did not disband as indicated in the story. Please post you comments at the end of this article. I'll pas them on to Mark Madler, or you can do so directly:

Mark R. Madler
San Fernando Valley Business Journal

By Mark R. Madler
Valley Glen
Having severed ties with Los Angeles Valley College , a group of Valley residents that operated the college’s historical museum now set their sights on a bigger mission.

Gerald Fecht and other members of the disbanded board of the Museum of the San Fernando Valley still want to see a museum with a contemporary history collection that will appeal to young people. 

The San Fernando Valley as well as the city as a whole deserves to have a museum of its own, Fecht said. 

“ Los Angeles is the only major American city that does not have a city historical and cultural museum,” Fecht said. 

The group promoting the museum met on March 28 to discuss how to proceed, just a month after their association with Valley College ended.

The group of volunteers including Fecht came on board in 2004 and later incorporated under the name of The Museum of the San Fernando Valley to operate a historical museum on campus.
 Then the museum board was told that its incorporation violated community college district policies and that the museum’s artifacts and the $110,000 it had in the bank all belonged to the college. The board members’ roles were lessened in running the museum. 

The campus museum now falls under the care of the Valley College Foundation and a new advisory committee while Fecht and the board members embark on a new project. 

Fecht said there are no hard feelings in that the college was only following the advice of its lawyers. 
“In my opinion there was no one at fault. The college president was concerned we would move artifacts off campus,” Fecht said. “That was never our intention.” 

Foundation Executive Director Raul Castillo said he was sorry to see Fecht and the board go but there had been a difference of philosophy on the future of the museum. “We can have a regional museum and still stay on campus,” Castillo said. 

The college museum currently occupies a bungalow that was one of the original administration buildings. In a few years it will move to a new 1,500 square foot facility, Castillo said.

The school’s budget will determine how much can be spent on programs and marketing for the museum, Castillo said.

“That has always been our hurdle,” Castillo said. “Our success has always been through word of mouth.”

As Fecht and his colleagues go about bringing their museum to fruition, they will reach out to the business community.

Often times, Fecht said, cultural institutions treat business merely as the cash cow to get donations and sponsorships from but otherwise they don’t want them around. But that’s not the case in the Valley where the area’s evolution is so strongly tied to business, he said. 
The aviation industry helped the Valley grow and the entertainment industry put it on the map. But there was also, Fecht pointed out, the sports industries, clothing manufacturing, the automotive industry, and agricultural – from ranches to horse breeding. 

“The Valley has a far richer history than people realize,” Fecht said.

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