New York's Museum of Sex (MoSex) got a lot of press attention before it opened in 2002--but not for the sensational reasons one might expect. The stories focused on the state Board of Regents' refusal to charter MoSex as a nonprofit. Using "sex" in the same breath as "museum" makes a mockery of the institution, they said, forcing founder Daniel Gluck to open a for-profit museum.
Gluck wasn't too upset with the state's decision. Worried that conservative-leaning nonprofit board members would undermine his mission to frankly explore "the history, evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality," he had originally planned to launch the museum as a private venture--but advisors encouraged him to try for nonprofit status.
Once jilted by the state, the Wharton grad felt free to pursue his original, for-profit vision (with a nice publicity boost from the brouhaha). Since opening day, growth has been slow but steady, with a 15 percent uptick in traffic each year. The museum, on Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District, broke even operationally after the first year. Gluck predicts a profit of 15 to 20 percent of net for this year, and expects that percentage to double in 2013. MoSex is adding 15 employees, and the facility's basement bar/cafe will be shuttered in September in favor of a full-service restaurant.
A self-described serial entrepreneur, Gluck came up with the idea for MoSex in 1998 during a brainstorming session with some colleagues. The irony of opening a museum focused on sex while Mayor Rudy Giuliani's administration was busy scrubbing the smut out of Times Square did not escape Gluck, but he warmed to the idea after doing some market research.