Blue skies over the main entrance of the new Bell Museum.

Advisory Board Responsibilities

Bell Mission Statement
The Bell’s mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world.

Overall Scope of Board Responsibilities
The Bell Board is an advisory board. It serves as a community advocate for the Bell in all respects and provides overall guidance and feedback on its direction, programs, and outcomes.

The Bell Board is not a governing board with fiduciary responsibilities. Budget, staff, and facilities are administered and governed by the University of Minnesota under the direction of the Bell’s Executive Director and the Dean of the College of Food Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). The governing body of the Bell is the University’s Board of Regents.

Role of the Advisory Board
In general, it is the role of the Advisory Board to support the mission of the Bell Museum. Board members are selected based on their individual skills and experience including in such areas as art, natural history, astronomy, education, marketing, and finance, so that, collectively, they can comprehensively address the following roles:

To Build and Extend the Bell Community: The overarching role of the board is to help the Bell Museum build successful partnerships, social capital, and support for collaborations. We connect with a variety of constituencies, including legislators, potential donors, schools, the business community, community organizations, the media, and the diverse communities of the University of Minnesota and the state of Minnesota at large.

Specifically, the Board uses its sphere of influence to enhance the reputation and branding of the Bell Museum with:

  • Expert Advice
    The Board provides expert advice, consultation, feedback and critique, idea generation, financial support and other investments in support of programming, projects, events, and other activities as requested by the Executive Director of the Bell Museum.
  • Strong Advocacy
    The Board serves as an active advocate, with both internal and external constituent groups. The Board assists the museum in achieving strategic priorities and promoting its local, national and international prominence. The Board builds a strong working relationship with the Executive Director and is responsible for recruiting, selecting, and orienting new board members.

Role of Individual Board Members
1. Actively develops an understanding of the mission, ongoing activities, and operations of the Bell Museum.
2. Regularly attends and actively participates in board meetings.
a. Board meetings are held 3 times per year (October through May) with 1-2 other meetings held as needs arise. Board members are strongly encouraged to physically attend meetings in order to effectively communicate with each other and with the staff and to get to know each other. Opportunities to attend meetings via Skype will be made available for outstate board members but we also wish to have on-site attendance at least once each year.
b. Active participation includes: staying informed about Board matters; reviewing agendas and other materials prior to meetings; contributing ideas, suggestions, comments, and diverse points of view; and contributing to a Board culture of openness, candor, and mutual respect.
3. Participates in committees, subcommittees, or ad-hoc task forces that are established to address specific needs and requests by Bell staff.
4. Participates in important Bell public events and offers to volunteer at such events when needed.
5. Contributes expertise by willingly offering to share expertise and knowledge in areas necessary to assist the Bell Museum.
6. Makes a personal financial contribution at a level that is personally meaningful and in accordance with ability. Because this is not a fundraising board, even though we expect financial contributions from members they are not selected based on their ability to give.
7. Seeks out qualified people who could be recruited for Advisory Board positions and recommends them as part of the Board’s recruiting process. Participates in new Board member orientation.

In light of these roles and the commitment a board member makes to fulfilling them, we anticipate that board members will need to commit a minimum of 40-50 hours per year working on Bell activities. Three to five meetings per year is a commitment of 10-15 hours; additional commitments would include 1:1 consultation with museum leadership, ad-hoc committee meetings, advocacy (in the community, legislature, and broader University community), public events, and volunteering.

Board Terms
A board term is three years. Board members are eligible for reappointment after three years.

Board Support
The Bell Advisory Board members, and the Bell Executive Director and staff, will make every opportunity to welcome, support, and engage new advisory board members. This includes an initial orientation session and opportunities to learn more about the exciting work of the Bell staff and curators. The executive director’s administrative assistant also serves as the board liaison and is available to provide assistance as needed.


Interested in joining the Bell Museum Board?

Candidates interested in becoming a member of the Bell Museum Board should submit the following information to Board chair Lee Pfannmuller at

Name and contact information

Answer the following, in around 200 words:

  • What skills, talents, or connections do you bring that will help guide the Bell Museum?
  • Please provide a general statement about your background.
  • What are your personal interests pertinent to the Bell’s Mission?