From the time of the first mouseion in the third century Before the Common Era (BCE), the prominence and importance of museums in society has steadily risen. Through the centuries, as societies and public interests changed, so too did the very purpose and nature of museums evolve from houses of curiosities to finely organized depositories of historical and archaeological explorations and, finally, to cultural institutions promoting education and learning. Significant political, societal, economic, and cultural changes in the United States in recent decades have once again caused a major shift in the structure and role of American museums. My study takes an anthropological approach to analyzing the changes in the public's interests and motivations surrounding museums, as well as the challenging economic environment faced by these institutions. Based on this information, my study identifies innovative cultural and economic survival methods that museums can implement as part of museum best practices in order to thrive. Using the San Diego Archaeological Center (SDAC) as a case study and built on my research findings, I offer a detailed plan for the implementation of these best practices. Ultimately, this case study offers a roadmap for the application of my research findings at other museum around the United States and the world.