Other San Francisco cultural institutions are sitting on a similarly precarious ledge. The California Academy of Sciences is another institution in my will. Their portfolio would fare even worse than the Exploratorium's under hyperinflation. Check out page 11 of the Academy's audited financial statements. Add up the $48.5M in U.S. government notes, $51M in other government obligations, and $145M in corporate bonds. That's 58.9% of their total portfolio that is extremely dependent on the U.S. dollar's stability.
The good news for the San Francisco institutions I've named above lies in their brand strength and market position. The leading cultural attractions in a major tourist city like SF have enormous pricing power as long as they can attract patrons whose spending power isn't impaired by a hyperinflated currency. I truly believe these institutions can continue to thrive through hyperinflation if they target their marketing to tourists from countries least likely to hyperinflate: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and possibly other countries that have the sense not to bury themselves with sovereign debt. Museums in some American cities charge higher admission prices for out-of-town visitors, so tourists effectively subsidize attractions that are available to locals. This tiered pricing structure would work wonders for the financial security of cultural attractions in a hyperinflationary environment.
Of course, I could very well be wrong about prospects for serious inflation in the U.S. The Fed hawks may prevail in the face of macroeconomic deterioration long enough for equities to find their true equilibrium (hint: much lower) without monetary stimulus. The federal government may elect not to restrict Americans' investment choices. Panicky policymakers may not force banks to lend newly minted dollars to consumers, forcing a wage-price spiral. Then again, if even one of these preconditions fails, the U.S. can and will experience serious inflation that will render fixed income investments undesirable. That is reason enough for non-profits to consider diversification into hard assets and non-dollar currencies.