Mission

The Metal Museum's mission is to preserve, promote, and advance the art and craft of fine metalwork. This is achieved through four interrelated program areas - exhibitions, collections, studio practice, and community education and engagement.

Ruling year info

1979

Executive Director

Ms. Carissa Hussong

Main address

374 Metal Museum Dr

Memphis, TN 38106 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

62-1066198

NTEE code info

Art Museums (A51)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Metal is a part of everyday life for people across the globe. It is found in the built environment as structure, architecture, and decoration, in modes of transportation and in cookware as utilitarian necessities, and on bodies and in homes for its aesthetic qualities. Despite its importance to everyday life, however, there remains only one museum in the United States, and only a few in the world, dedicated specifically to this media. Because of this unique position, the Metal Museum, through its core programming, is able to contextualize the roles and uses of metal to create an understanding of the craft and its history and the impact that history has on contemporary art and design in a way that no other institution is able. In doing so, the Museum is able to serve a broad range of people - from the world-renowned artist to the trade school student, to the rural hobbyist welder, to the North Memphis second grader who has never seen blacksmithing or casting in progress.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Exhibitions

Exhibitions provide opportunities to showcase, interpret, and contextualize the work of metal artists. The "Tributaries" exhibition series features emerging and mid-career artists while the Master Metalsmith series offers retrospectives to established artists in the field. In addition to these series, the Museum curates thematic group exhibitions and borrows traveling exhibitions that fit within the curatorial focus of artwork created by contemporary metalsmiths influenced by and working during the Post-Craft Revival in the United States, specifically from 1960 to today. Exhibitions feature a variety of metalwork such as jewelry, hollowware, furniture, sculpture, tools, and ornamental architectural pieces, and invite visitors to consider process, aesthetics, and function.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Collections aim to preserve the field of American metalsmithing and include the permanent object collection, the library collection, and the archives collection. These collections focus on artists and artworks from the Post-Craft Revival period (1960s to present) and also include historic works that contextualize the importance of metal art making today. The collection serves as a resource for artists and researchers and is accessible through exhibitions, online catalogs, loans, and by appointment. The permanent object collection is made up of over 3,000 objects that represent a broad spectrum of metalwork, including contemporary hollowware, sculpture, furniture, architectural ironwork, tools, and studio jewelry as well as drawings and historic objects dating back to the Renaissance. The library collection contains over 6,000 books and portfolios on metalwork, including rare books on decorative and fine arts. The archive collection includes over 10,000 images, A/V materials, and archival materials.

Population(s) Served
Adults

The Metals Studios - comprised of the Blacksmith Shop, Foundry, Small Metals/Restoration Lab, and Design Lab - provide educational opportunities for emerging and advanced metalsmiths while also providing the general public with demonstrations, classes, and other opportunities to engage with working artists. Through commissions and repairs, the Museum's artists preserve and advance the filed by bridging traditional metalworking processes with contemporary technologies and new innovations. This is achieved through the Museum's apprenticeship and internship programs, conferences, visiting artists, community education, and the commitment to undertaking unique or unusual projects.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Community Education and Engagement programming offers a variety of on-site and off-site programs for youth and adults. On-site classes in the Museum's Smithy and Foundry are open to beginner and intermediate students while specialized conferences are offered for advanced students. Educational tours of exhibitions are offered for schools, organizations, and corporations. Public gallery talks invite the community to learn more about artwork on display as well as techniques and processes. Hands-on activities for all ages occur both on-site and off-site throughout the year. Off-site engagement and participation occurs through the M4 (Mini Mobile Metal Museum), which is taken into the community for blacksmithing and casting demonstrations and hands-on activities. The Museum facilitates partnership programs with schools and other nonprofits through the Metal Museum Youth Initiative, which introduces new generations to the art and craft of metalsmithing.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Adults

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

American Alliance of Museums - Member 2019

Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau 2019

Tennesseans for the Arts Member 2019

Tennessee Association of Museums 2019

Momentum Nonprofit Partners 2019

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of paid admissions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Like many organizations, the Metal Museum saw a significant decline in paid admission since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total number of artists served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The estimated number of artists served by all programs.

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Total number of works exhibited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Exhibitions

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The number of objects on display in temporary exhibitions. An estimated additional 250 objects are displayed in permanent collection galleries.

Total number of works acquired this year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Collections

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Total number of classes offered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The current strategic plan identifies six (6) institutional goals in service of the Museum’s mission to preserve, promote, and advance the art and craft of fine metalwork. These goals are reflective of the Museum’s four program areas, as well as administrative and operational capacities.

The goals include 1) Exhibitions: Position the Museum as the leading exhibitor of fine metalwork by pursuing artistic and curatorial excellence, including craftsmanship and creativity as well as original research, publication, and curation; 2) Collections: Develop a comprehensive and diverse repository of the finest examples of American metalsmithing; 3a) Education: Foster and promote learning, appreciation, and skill development through educational offerings accessible to all communities in and around Memphis for youth, adults, and emerging and professional metalsmiths; 3b) Provide career enhancement opportunities for emerging and mid-career metal artists through two-year apprenticeships, summer and academic internships, and an artist-in-residence program that focus on technical training, networking, and professional skill development; 4) Marketing: Gain greater recognition as a national and international center for metalsmiths; 5) Campus Planning: Update and expand the facilities to meet current needs and to take advantage of future opportunities; and 6) Financial and Operational Stewardship: Ensure the ongoing financial and operational stability of the Museum. In addition to these goals, each program area maintains specific goals for continued success.

The Strategic Plan is reviewed and updated every three years by the Board of Trustees. The current plan addresses FY22-26.

To achieve the organization’s strategic goals, the Museum implements several strategies each fiscal year within its four primary program areas – exhibitions, collections, studio practice in the onsite Metalworking Facilities, and community education and engagement.

In FY24, the Metal Museum will present five (5) special exhibitions, including the annual “Master Metalsmith” exhibition and “Tributaries” series, as well as thematic exhibitions. The exhibitions team will continue to increase the quality of the gallery environments in order to better secure loans from other institutions. In doing so, the Museum will be able to more accurately contextualize the work of metal artists by showcasing the finest examples of artwork. Increasing diversity and inclusion will also remain a primary strategy for the exhibition and collections staff throughout FY24. In addition to projects that inform increased diversity, the collections staff will also spend much of FY24 on projects, such as cataloguing and re-housing projects, that increase accessibility to the collection.

In FY24, the Metalworking Facilities will expand networking opportunities, with a goal to develop relationships for future programs, such as visiting artists and artist in residence programs. Developing these relationships, among other tasks in the Metalworking Facilities throughout much of FY24, will enable the Museum to prepare for an upcoming expansion of programming. In the Metalworking Facilities, this specifically entails evaluating past programming such as annual conferences and visiting artists to develop a plan for the implementation of future programs that focus on technical training, professional skill development, and networking, as well as seeking opportunities to expand the apprenticeship program through the addition of a small metals apprentice and a second foundry apprentice.

Beyond opportunities for metal artists, and at the core of all other program areas, the Museum fosters and promotes learning, appreciation, and skill development through its Community Education and Engagement program offerings. Several audiences will be addressed through these programs, including families, youth, and seniors. As in previous years, the Museum will continue to work to increase class and workshop enrollment rates and the number of guided tours offered each year. The Museum also remains committed to participation in off-site events across Shelby County at schools, nonprofit organizations, and corporate locations. From these events, the Museum has created or furthered relationships with other organizations and looks forward to continuing existing and developing new partnerships in FY24.

By responding to the needs of its communities, the Museum's programming and reputation have grown significantly over the past decade, requiring increased financial resources and continued financial stability. The Museum is proud to have averaged a 65% donor renewal rate (compared to a nationwide average of 45%) over the past several years. Additionally, nearly 50% of annual revenue is comprised of earned income from commissions, classes, Museum Store sales, and rental income. Therefore, the Museum is not as susceptible to economic shifts as other nonprofits or museums. The Museum manages two endowments worth over $2 million, is the beneficiary of two additional endowments and has a reserve fund of approximately three-month expenses add to the Museum's financial stability. Continued financial stability and programmatic successes over the past 40 years attest to the strength of the Museum and its commitment to its mission and audiences.

The success of the Metal Museum is a direct reflection of the staff’s ability to develop, facilitate, and evaluate highly successful programs. Comprised of more than 20 full-time equivalent employees, the staff has a wealth of knowledge in their respective departments and specialties. In addition to 2 full-time artist apprentices, the Metals Studios employs 5 experienced metals artists. Artists from a variety of disciplines are employed in other departments, including Collections & Exhibitions and Education & Outreach.

The staff is overseen by Executive Director Carissa Hussong, who has ensured the Museum not only achieves its mission and vision, but also achieves annual goals that contribute to continued success and growth. In addition to department-specific knowledge, staff members have a robust and varied background in the arts, museums, and metals, which together contributes to their collective enthusiasm for the Metal Museum and its continued success. Alongside this knowledge and dedication, the Museum leverages the knowledge and skills of a passionate team of volunteers and interns, as well as a diverse array of artists served by the Museum’s various programs.

The Metal Museum continues to achieve its mission to preserve, promote, and advance the field of fine metalwork through four interrelated programming areas - rotating exhibitions; the Permanent Collection of objects, books and folios, and archives; the Metals Studios comprised of a blacksmith shop, foundry, small metals lab, and design lab that provide educational opportunities for metalsmiths through artistic creation; and vibrant community education and engaging programming for youth and adult learners.

The FY24 exhibition program commences with the juried exhibition “We Are Here: LGBTQIA+ Voices in the Contemporary Metals Community,” which focuses on the work of non-heteronormative metals artists. Meanwhile, “Reimagining the Real” will feature the insightful work of Ana M. Lopez and Natalie Macellaio, followed by a solo exhibit of Richard Carr’s industrial sculptures in the Keeler Gallery. In the fall, Rachelle Thiewes will be honored as the 2023 Master Metalsmith with her exhibit, “Hue.” In February 2024, two new exhibits will open. Ethical Metalsmiths’ “Radical Jewelry Makover” raises awareness about the interconnectivity between mining, the metal arts, activism, and collaboration, and “Tapped Potential” will highlight contemporary casting by women, non-binary, and transgender artists. Finally, the year will close with another installment of the “Tributaries” series, featuring Sicilian/Puerto Rican post-surrealist sculptor Morgan Lugo.

The Metals Studios offer two-year apprenticeships, paid summer and academic-term internships, conferences, and advanced workshops to provide career enhancement and skill development opportunities for aspiring and emerging metalsmiths. Apprentices and interns gain valuable developmental skills through their involvement in all aspects of project commissions and educational programs and are encouraged to remain active participants in the field throughout their tenure. The Museum will also host Repair Days and the casting conference FIRE once again in the coming year.

Increased participation in Museum programming over the past decade has led to tremendous growth, resulting in the Museum outgrowing its current facilities. As a result, the Museum has embarked on an ambitious $35 million capital and endowment campaign to create a vibrant arts center in Overton Park in the heart of Memphis. The relocation and expansion will provide the Museum with the physical space to increase programming and to grow and diversify the educational experiences offered to Memphis and the metalsmithing community. Following a delay in securing the building lease from the City of Memphis, the Museum will start construction at the new location in FY24. This expansion, as well as fundraising and marketing initiatives, will happen concurrently with the Museum’s current programming at the Bluff Campus to ensure continued success now and in the future. 

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection

Financials

Metal Museum
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Metal Museum

Board of directors
as of 07/30/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Bryan Smith

Pietrangelo Smith PLC

Term: 2019 - 2021

Bryan K. Smith

Real Estate Law

Douglas W. Ferris

Finance

Richard Aycock

Gastro One

Michael Bondi

Artist, Michael Bondi Metal Design

Bruce Campbell

Financial Advisor

Patrick Galphin

nexAir

John Medwedweff

Artist, Medwedeff Forge and Design

Pat Mitchell Worley

Consultant

Richard Ranta

Retired

Janice Holder

Private Legal Solutions

Shannon Brown

FedEx

Sherri Jaudes

Artist

Sarah Perkins

Artist

Kevin Thompson

Memphis Museums

Ted Davis

Linda Foster

Retired

Desmond Lewis

Artist/Educator

Stacy Smith

Porsche Stevens

Consultant

Grace Stewart

American Alliance of Museums

Monica Wharton

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/9/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/12/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.