RTPI Rising
A Bold, New Strategic Vision

In December 2020, RTPI suffered an electrical fire, leading to a six-month closure for repairs. This followed a four-month closure earlier in 2020 due to Covid-19. Undaunted, RTPI board and staff have united to make sure we don’t let a good crisis go to waste. We have used the time to engage in strategic planning, to lay the groundwork for emerging from the literal fire – phoenix-like – transformed: more relevant to our communities, more programmatically vibrant and financially resilient.

Guided by strategic planning consultant Molly Penn of Penn Creative Strategy, RTPI spent several months conducting research, analyzing data, exploring various nonprofit models and came up with several options for mapping out a bold, new, strategic direction.

After thorough deliberation, we determined that our best course – to make the best use of our sanctuary of a building and world class collection of Peterson artwork – is to fully embrace Peterson’s signature legacy as father of the modern field guide. We envision RTPI as the living embodiment of the Peterson field guide. Like the field guide, we are a trusted source of information about the natural world. Like the field guide, we use art to illuminate the wonders of the natural world. Like the field guide, we are accessible to and welcoming of everyone.

RTPI Rising. More than mere metaphor – they’re words we live by.

Goal I: Build RTPI into a nature art museum of regional & national significance

The living embodiment of the Peterson field guide, RTPI uses art as a primary lens through which to engage visitors about the natural world. Each exhibition engages deeply on multiple levels: 1) the exceptional beauty and wonder of nature, 2) the critical conservation challenges of our time, and 3) the creative, heroic solutions to those challenges. In short, RTPI matters for its commitment to exhibiting art with intention: Art that Matters to the Planet.


  1. Establish RTPI as a leading curatorial voice on nature art and the critical conservation issues of our time
  2. Establish RTPI’s credentials as a national museum
  3. Nurture the next generation of artists and conservationists in pursuit of Art that Matters to the Planet

Goal II: Build RTPI into a conservation organization of regional value

Born and raised in Jamestown, Roger Tory Peterson was inspired to his future career by the nature of CHQ. RTPI has an obligation to ensure that the nature that inspired Roger is accessible and healthy enough to inspire the next generation of artists, conservationists and those who simply love the natural beauty of CHQ.


  1. Build RTPI into a gateway organization for nature and birding in Western NY
  2. Establish programs that incorporate art in cultivating the next generation of conservationists
  3. Develop a regional ecological services business plan that advances mission and financial goals

Goal III: Drive the cultural economy of Jamestown and the CHQ region

With the gift of a $6 million building comes the responsibility to employ that asset for the demonstrable benefit of the community. Jamestown is exceptional for being a small town with a concentration of high-value cultural attractions, including institutions dedicated to three hometown heroes of national significance: Roger Tory Peterson, Lucille Ball and Robert H Jackson. RTPI is perfectly positioned to step up, to fulfill its potential as one of the anchor attractions for Jamestown and CHQ.


  1. Establish RTPI as the “go to” cultural resource for art and nature lovers
  2. Launch a series of annual events that become treasured community traditions
  3. Leverage connections with community partners to attract tourism to the region
  4. Establish a downtown Jamestown presence for RTPI

Goal IV: Build the operational and financial capacity necessary to support the strategic vision

To achieve its goals of becoming a nature art museum of national significance, of driving the cultural economy of the region, RTPI must build its staff capacity accordingly. It must evolve its operations, financial management and fundraising in accordance with accepted best practices in the field.


  1. Enhance operational capacity
  2. Expand and enhance development efforts
  3. Expand outreach, communications and marketing