This year’s Massachusetts Humanities conference focused on collaboration and community among cultural organization throughout the Commonwealth. As an attendee hailing from Central New York, I was of course interested in gathering useful insight to apply to New York’s current state of affairs regarding public history institutions. Organization representatives at the conference came together and agreed that maintaining or regaining relevancy at a cultural site or institution depended on institutions’ willingness and ability to look inward and outward – inward toward the organization itself, and outward toward the larger community outside its doors. Similarly, New York State’s cultural and heritage organizations stand to benefit from increased and tangible collaboration, between sites, organizations, and communities, as well as other state and local institutions. Continue reading
This week I came across an article about Joe Bagley, the 31-year- old archaeologist who has been put in charge of one million mostly un-cataloged City of Boston artifacts. Underpaid and overburdened, he’s found ways to triage the projects that come at him each day. He has to be a historian, a fundraiser, a bureaucrat, a volunteer coordinator, a social media guru, an artifact guardian, a cheerleader for preservation, a meticulous registrar, and a broad minded strategic planner, all at the same time.
You’re not alone, Joe. This has become the narrative of the post-recession workplace. It’s like a reality TV premise: we give you poverty level pay and a mountain of responsibility, and expect you to turn this organization around with your hipster ingenuity. I see it so often that I’ve started to refer to it as the martyr-hero motif. Continue reading
After a nationwide search, the board of trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum has appointed a new Executive Director.
“It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Jim Letts as our new Executive Director,” Anthony Ianniello, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum said in a statement issued to the press. “While serving as the CEO of the Saratoga Regional YMCA for the past 12 years, Jim has had amazing success, growing the Y’s membership from 6900 to 26,900 while raising many millions of dollars through capital campaigns to support and expand the Y’s facilities and activities. We think he is a perfect fit for our extremely active, rapidly growing museum and are thrilled to have him on board for our busy summer season!” Continue reading
The New York State Board of Regents has made the Museum Education Act (MEA) a Legislative Priority for 2016. The Act would provide museums and other eligible institutions access to grant funding to conduct curriculum-based educational programs for students and teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and adults enrolled in continuing education programs.
The grants are expected to be competitive in nature and could be used for a variety of curriculum-based educational programming, including funding for the transportation of students to museums or museum staff to classrooms. Continue reading
The Board of Trustees of the Museum of the City of New York has appointed Whitney W. Donhauser President and Director of the Museum. She will join the City Museum on January 1, 2016, succeeding Susan Henshaw Jones who is retiring at the end of the year.
Whitney W. Donhauser has had a 23-year career in museum management and fundraising. As Senior Advisor to the President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Donhauser worked with the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Director, President, and executive leadership on formulating and implementing Museum policy. Continue reading
The Albany Institute of History and Art opened an exhibit in September entitled “Capital Region in 50 Objects” that runs through next April. It is a model of creative, imaginative display of historical objects, using a quotation from Henry Ford as a starting point: “Every Object Tells a Story If You Know How to Read It.”
There are 50 objects and for each a corresponding photograph putting the object into historical perspective. The captions are uniformly informative. Continue reading
The Illinois State Museum and four satellite facilities closed on October 1 as the result of budget cuts imposed by Governor Bruce Rauner. New Yorkers may be able to learn from what is happening there.
The Governor warned that the budget being proposed by the state legislature in June was out of balance and exceeded state revenues. The legislature passed it despite his warning that he would have to cut programs. In July, he made good on his promise, announcing the Museum’s closure among other cost-cutting measures. Continue reading
“Collections Care 101” will be held at the Rensselaer County Historical Society (RCHS) on Friday, June 12, 2015 from 9 am to 4 pm.
The day-long workshop covers the basics of collections care and is presented by Stacy Pomeroy Draper, RCHS Curator; and Kathryn Sheehan, RCHS Registrar and Rensselaer County and City of Troy Historian. Continue reading
Thanks to the FoodNetwork, The Cooking Channel, TLC, and a variety of other shows, a society of foodies has been created and encouraged. Understandably, tourism has become part of the foodie craze – farmer markets are now part of destination shopping.
Museums and historical societies have used food programs as fundraising opportunities and to attract new visitors, with the hope that the program will foster an interest in history, and new members/regular visitors. It’s a great idea, but there are some things to consider. Continue reading
The Hyde Collection has announced the appointment of Erin B. Coe as its new director. Coe was the chief curator of The Hyde until she left in 2014 to complete her doctoral degree in the history of art and architecture at Boston University. She also served as the museum’s interim co-director. Continue reading