The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County raises the profile of its first-ever capital campaign.

Seeking “to revitalize and expand…so that it may live up to its potential as the region’s indispensable hub for connecting people and nature”, the Natural History Museum has embarked on a capital campaign to re-imagine key exhibits, restore landmark architectural features and inspire visitors and others to make deeper and more meaningful connections to a changing world.

Applied Storytelling first developed the campaign’s communications framework and has since gone on to collaborate on communications geared to securing contributors as well as inspiring the public. These have included concept development and writing for an overview video that first aired in August on the museum’s YouTube channel as well as an awareness campaign displayed throughout the museum itself. Additional communications are forthcoming.

The public will begin to see the first enhancements to the museum made possible by the campaign later this year, with the effort slated for completion by 2013.

The museum’s NHMNext fundraising initiative comes at a time when charitable giving to cultural institutions has declined, a casualty of the current economic downturn. More broadly, museums are asking hard questions about how to remain compelling, vital institutions in an increasingly media-driven and digital landscape. In this landscape, a strategic approach to communications becomes even more vital to a campaign’s success.

“Ultimately, the museum experience itself must engage many different types of visitor who come to the museum for many different reasons,” says Eric La Brecque, Principal of Applied Storytelling. “But the campaign story has a vital role to play in exciting the imagination—and, to donors, communicating lasting value—long before that experience takes shape.”

Guided by criteria established at the assignment’s outset, the campaign messaging framework builds on the museum’s own overall mission and strategic plan. Messaging elements include a campaign vision, mission and promise as well as supporting value propositions and a call to action. Applied Storytelling also developed the NHM Next campaign name and Join the evolutionslogan.

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