Songbook Foundation selected for national Museum Assessment Program


The American Alliance of Museums has selected the Great American Songbook Foundation to participate in its Museum Assessment Program, which helps organizations strengthen their operations and plan for the future through a process of professionally guided self-study and on-site consultation.

The Songbook Foundation, founded by acclaimed performer and music preservationist Michael Feinstein, maintains an exhibition gallery and a vast historical archive at the affiliated Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The Foundation’s ultimate goal is to establish a freestanding Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Museum, akin to the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame and other such institutions.

As the Foundation explores the feasibility of its museum plans, the MAP Organizational Assessment will guide the staff, Board of Directors and other stakeholders in analyzing strengths and weaknesses and developing a roadmap for sustainability and advancement. The one-year process emphasizes strategic planning and ensures that activities, resources and structure are aligned with the museum’s stated mission and benchmarked to the highest professional standards of the field.

The Foundation’s assets and programs have expanded rapidly in its first decade of operations. The Songbook Archives & Library has amassed more than 100,000 items representing the creators and performers of timeless music from Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Hollywood and beyond. In 2017, the Foundation became a Cultural Affiliate of the Grammy Museum®, joining just a handful of institutions worldwide.

The Foundation’s assets and programs have expanded rapidly in its first decade of operations. The Songbook Archives & Library manages the historic collections of songwriters and performers from the golden age of American popular music, including the classic sounds of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Hollywood and beyond. In 2017, the Foundation became a Cultural Affiliate of the Grammy Museum®, joining just a handful of institutions worldwide.

Earlier this year, the Foundation received a gift valued at over $30 million: the 107-acre Asherwood estate in Carmel, once owned by the late real estate magnate Mel Simon. His wife, Bren Simon, made the gift in support of the Foundation’s museum planning.

“Our organization has come so far in such a short time, and these recent developments have surpassed any reasonable expectations,” said Chris Lewis, the Foundation’s executive director. “Now, as we prepare to step up to the next level, this is the perfect time to take stock of our situation and make sure we’re on a solid footing for the future.”

Since its creation in 1981, the MAP program has served over 4,600 museums. The Foundation’s participation is made possible through funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

“Choosing to be part of the MAP program is indicative of the commitment to civic involvement, public service and overall excellence on the part of the Great American Songbook Foundation,” said Laura Lott, president of AAM. “Studies have shown America’s museums to be among the country’s most trusted and valued institutions. MAP is designed to make them even better.”

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