In addition to cultivating and soliciting donors and other funding sources, a development office establishes the suitability between such funding and an institution's strategic planning. Over the Museum's history, the responsibility for a development program has fluctuated between corporate officers, committees, and personnel from various offices, departments and divisions of operation. At times, one director or manager has been assigned to administer both a development and membership program. There have also been periods when public relations and publicity have been joined to the duties of fundraising. Membership was originally the concern of the Secretary of the Corporation. At the turn of the century, the Associate Committee of Women was active in membership and fund drives. From the late 1920s to early 1940s, under the directorship of Fiske Kimball, private firms were hired to perform such services, with one employee working on site. Julius Zieget, who was the Museum's corporate Secretary and Treasurer, also worked with Kimball on Museum development. Another officer at that time, J. Stogdell Stokes, chaired the Museum Fund Committee, which had its own office in the city, separate from the museum building. The earliest Museum Fund Campaigns, initiated in the late 1920s, were also conducted by the outside firms hired by Kimball and the Board of Trustees, and charged with raising funds for Museum construction and for financing the purchase of significant collections. During most of the 1950s, an Administration staff member handled membership and also served as press representative. Soon after, those duties were split.
In the 1964-1965 Annual Report, a Museum staff person was listed for the first time in connection with the Fund Office. Madeleine S. de Miège, who was secretary to the Museum President, also served as Fund Office Secretary and Assistant. In 1967, the Museum hired Robert Safrin as its first Manager of the Development and Membership departments. Other than a Membership Secretary, Safrin was the sole staffer of these departments. His position was listed as part of the Museum's Administration division. Both Safrin and de Miège held their positions through 1971. The following year appears to have been a turning point in the way the Museum intended to cultivate its development and membership programs. As noted in the 1970-1971 Annual Report (which included a list of staff as of April 1972), a Development and Membership Department, separate from Administration, was listed. Noble Smith was the department's Acting Manager, overseeing Jane Custer, membership supervisor, and Cathey McClain, annual fund-giving coordinator. A Development Steering Committee was also initiated that year. The next year, Development and Membership became separate departments, each operating with the same staff positions of annual giving coordinator and supervisor, respectively. The management position for development, however, once again became part of Administration, with the appointment of Philip Thompson as Assistant Director for Development, who replaced Noble Smith. Thompson remained in that position through 1977, and in 1979 Noble Smith returned to the Museum, replacing his replacement. For 1980 and 1981, Smith's responsibilities expanded to include membership and public relations in addition to development.
During the collective Administration tenures of Thompson and Smith, the designation of Development and Membership departments--while separate from Administration--fluctuated between individual and combined offices. From 1973 to 1975, Development was its own department, staffed by an annual giving coordinator. Cathey F. McClain, Judith H. Renner and Ardith Talbot each held that position, respectively, over those three years. For the same time period, Jane Copeland and Dorothy M. Hanbury served respectively as supervisors for Membership. In 1976, the offices were once again combined and Copeland was named manager. In 1978, the offices were split. Copeland continued to manage Development, while Thomas L Conti was given charge of Membership and Planned Giving. Melanie M. Yulman was Development manager for 1979.
As indicated in the 1980-1981 Annual Report, the Museum revised its overall staff structure, so that each office and department was categorized under one of three divisions: corporate, curatorial, and programs and supporting services. In 1980, Noble Smith's Administration position became a Corporate one. And for the first time, a director was appointed to oversee the Development Department, which was classified within the latter division. Maria Giliotti assumed that position, which put her in charge of staff responsible for annual giving, major gifts, grants, and planned giving. Although the organizational structure of the Museum would continue to fluctuate in the following decade, in 1982 the Development Department, as well as Membership began operating as it does today, independent of any corporate supervision.