Thursday, December 16, 2010

Update on IMLS Re-Authorization: Going to the President

Just a quick update to let you know that IMLS has passed the House and is now onto the President. The bipartisan bill reauthorizes the agency for the next five years. Please consider contacting your congressmen and women to thank them. I'll also have a report soon about SMA and locally based advocacy. Well, assuming the predicted snow doesn't impact my meeting today on the subject!

Romance versus Precision! Bring on the Debate

Speakers coordinator Jen Ruffner passed on this fascinating link for us to consider, which asks if cultural institutions should be in the business of "romance" or "precision"? The articles considers the nature of exhibition design and the audiences it needs to consider. The author discusses the work of Alfred North Whitehead, who after being a mathematician and a philosopher, went onto become an educator. He proposes that learning involves three stages: romance, precision, and then generalization. So, where do museums fall on the spectrum? Do we assume that visitors come to us because they already have an interest/knowledge base in the subject (precision)? Do we cater to newcomers who know nothing of which we speak (romance)? Read the article and see what you think! Please share.

http://www.sloverlinett.com/blog/2010/november/should-cultural-institutions-be-in-the-business-of-romance-or-precision-ask-your-newcomers

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Senate Re-Authorizes IMLS - Onto the House!


Moderator's note: SMA will also be announcing some additional local advocacy measures geared towards small museums soon. Stay tuned!
IMLS Reauthorization Bill Passes Senate - Ask House to Pass Bill in Final Days of Congressional Session

On December 7, the U.S. Senate approved S. 3984, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2010.

This bipartisan bill would reauthorize the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and contains several provisions proposed by the museum field, including enhanced support for conservation and preservation, emergency preparedness and response, and building statewide capacity. The bill specifically supports efforts at the state level to leverage museum resources, including statewide needs assessments and the development of state plans to improve and maximize museum services throughout the state.

“Now that the Senate has passed the bill, we need to turn our attention to the U.S. House of Representatives,” said AAM President Ford W. Bell. “There are only a few legislative days left in this Congressional session so we have to make our case NOW. I encourage everyone to visit AAM’s advocacy website, www.speakupformuseums.org, and take advantage of our easy-to-use online letter feature to send a letter to your Member of Congress today.”

Send a letter to your U.S. Representative TODAY asking them to support the Museum and Library Services Act, S. 3984, when it reaches the House floor.

A note about Congressional procedure: If you are wondering why a bill would go through the House with an “S.” number, then first of all: good for you for noticing this! While it is far more common for “H.R.” bills to be taken up by the House, it is possible for bills on a faster track (that will forgo the regular House or Senate committee procedure) to be picked up for consideration in the House with their Senate bill number, or on occasion in the Senate with their House bill number. This is now the case with S. 3984, which is why we are now asking House Members to vote in favor of S. 3984.

Stay tuned for additional updates on the progress of IMLS Reauthorization!

Job Opening: Executive Director, Museum of Northwest Art


Museum of Northwest Art                  
Position:          Executive Director
Location:         La Conner, Washington

We are seeking an accomplished leader with a passion for Northwest art, as well as being an enthusiastic and engaging proponent to serve as Executive Director the Museum of Northwest Art, which has the distinction of being the only museum devoted solely to the art and artists of our region.

The successful candidate will plan, direct, and oversee staff and volunteers; enhance the permanent collection; and oversee the production of exhibitions. In addition, be a dynamic communicator with an in-depth knowledge of museums, regional art, and its patrons. The position requires strategic planning, fundraising, and strong financial management experience.

Founded in 1981 as the Valley Museum of Northwest Art, it exhibited the work of Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, Morris Graves and Mark Tobey, four artists with strong connections to the Skagit Valley. In 1995, the Museum moved to its current location, a 12,000 square-foot space that reflected its new mission to “collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art by Northwest Artists.

If interested, please submit in confidence: a cover letter (including your qualifying experience), resume, salary requirements, and three job-related references (including your working relationship with the reference) and their work and/or home telephone numbers to:

Patricia Watkinson, Interim Director
Museum of Northwest Art
PO Box 969
La Conner, WA  98257 

See MoNA’s website for expanded information and specific qualifications: www.museumofnwart.org

OPEN UNTIL FILLED

If you have a job posting, please email conference@smallmuseum.org with the information. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Small Museum of the Month: Blount Mansion

Blount Mansion

Visiting Information: Open Tuesday- Saturday, 9:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. (Closed December 18-February 15, except by appointment)
 
Why we're great:
Blount Mansion was the home of William Blount, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, governor of the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio, and one of Tennessee’s first Senators. Blount Mansion served as a capital of the Territory and Tennessee for a portion of time and is the only National Historic Landmark in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tours of the property include the Mansion, the reconstructed kitchen, and the Governor’s Office. With a full-time staff of two and regular volunteers numbering around six, it’s not uncommon to receive a tour from the Director or Education Coordinator (who attempt to be highly knowledgeable of the site, despite only being on staff for six months) or see them running around campus fixing plumbing, selling parking spaces for home football games, or attempting to set up an exhibit due to open in five minutes.

Contact: Ashleigh Oatts, Education Coordinator (865-525-2375, educationcoordinator@blountmansion.org)
 
Blount Mansion Association
200 W. Hill Ave.
PO Box 1703
Knoxville, TN 37901-1703

(865)525-2375
(888)654-0016 (toll-free)

Employment Opportunities

Executive Director
John F. Peto Studio Museum
The newly created John F. Peto Studio Museum seeks a dynamic, proactive, collaborative candidate for a full-time, year round Executive Director position. The Museum, located in the historic town of Island Heights, New Jersey, is the recently restored home and studio of the renowned American 19th century still life painter, John Frederick Peto. The mission is to preserve the legacy of John F. Peto by creating and maintaining his studio as a working museum.  The emphasis will be on fostering educational opportunities in the arts, while serving as a partner in the community. This is a unique and exciting opportunity for the qualified professional to help build the Museum from its infancy to a national level stature.
The Executive Director, reporting to the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the successful leadership and management of the Museum according to the strategic direction set by the Board of Trustees.
Principal Duties:
Understanding the need to multi-task in today’s museum world, the Executive Director will have a hands-on role in many facets of the Museum’s operations. The principal duties of the Executive Director include:
  • Lead the Museum in the achievement of its mission and vision by exercising strong management skills, including the supervision of staff and volunteers.
  • Initiate, develop and secure diverse funding and grant sources and maintain relationships with current donors and funding organizations.
  • Oversee overall operations of the Museum including: staff management, volunteer management, policy decisions, and facility management.
  • Work with Board of Trustees to establish goals, policy, strategy and budget
  • Develop a strong volunteer core by recruiting, training and supervising volunteers.
  • Oversee the conservation, exhibition, housing and growth of the Museum’s collections.
  • Manage the Museum’s public relations and communication plan, including advertising strategy, newsletter, web-site and promotional materials.
  • Represent the museum to the public and professional organizations.
  • Travel regionally to expand the Museum’s profile and opportunities.
  • Other appropriate duties as assigned.
Qualifications:
  • Professional training in museum leadership, education, or a related field with a minimum of a baccalaureate degree; master’s degree preferred.
  • Significant experience in a leadership position in a successful organization.
  • A successful and demonstrated track record of fund-raising is highly desirable.
  • An understanding of operations, goal setting, strategic planning, program development, project management, marketing, and personnel management both volunteer and paid staff.
  • Demonstrated financial management skills: administration of funds according to budget, bookkeeping and accounting procedures.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills required.
  • A demonstrated capacity to engage the community and to facilitate the Museum’s role as an integral part of the community.
  • Ability to work effectively with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Ability to work independently and assume direct responsibility for complex tasks.
  • Physical requirements: Ability to climb stairs-the museum is a restored 2 ½ story historic house without an elevator. Willing and able to move and unpack boxes of artifacts, antiques and small pieces of furniture to set up the Museum.
  • Willing to travel as required to represent the Museum.
Application Submission-Deadline: December 31, 2010
Anticipated start date February 2011. Review of applications will begin on January 3, 2011 and will continue until the position is filled
Application Materials to Include:
  • Cover letter to address: comparable work life and/or life experience and past success, interest in the mission of the museum and fund-raising capacity
  • Current resume
  • Three professional references with contact details
  • Salary requirements
  • Any additional supportive materials
Application materials should be sent by mail or electronically to:
Executive Director Search Committee
John F. Peto Studio Museum
PO Box 1022
Island Heights, NJ  08732
petomuseum@comcast.net
All applications will be treated confidentially until finalists are identified
An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Organization

11/28/2010

November 5, 2010

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Paid Summer Internships at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Positions for Summer 2011 are in the Art Library, Asian Art, Education, Modern and Contemporary Art, Public Relations, Registration, and Technical Production.
The internship consists of ten, 40-hour weeks from May 27 – August 4, 2011.  Interns earn $11.25 per hour (less taxes) and are paid bi-weekly. Interns are responsible for their own housing (the Museum will assist with locating nearby rentals).
Candidates must be graduating seniors or current graduate students. International students must have a current US Visa and be eligible to work in the US.  The positions require fingerprinting.  The Museum encourages students from all backgrounds to apply and is committed to a culturally diverse group.
Position descriptions and the application are available on at http://www.ringling.org/Opportunities.aspx.
The application deadline is March 1, 2011.
Located on a 66-acre estate on Sarasota Bay, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the State Art Museum of Florida. The Museum of Art offers 21 galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities, Asian art, American paintings, and contemporary art. The campus also includes Cà d’Zan, the Ringling historic mansion; the Circus Museum; the Tibbals Learning Center; and The Historic Asolo Theater.  As a division of Florida State University, the Ringling estate is one of the largest university museum complexes in the nation.
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Site Name and Address: Purdue University – Department of Agricultural Communication – West Lafayette, IN
Position Title: Exhibit Specialist
Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology, Industrial Design, Visual Design, or related field.
Experience Required: Two years experience in exhibit design, fabrication, and installation.    
Position Description: The exhibit specialist is instrumental in all aspects of the department's traveling exhibit program. The exhibit specialist, working as part of a team, is responsible for design, fabrication and installation of museum quality exhibits for the Ag Comm Exhibit Design Center at various locations locally, across the state, and nationally. Develop, design, fabricate and install two and three dimensional educational exhibits from small portable tabletop displays to very large museum exhibits.
Other pertinent information: A check of criminal conviction records will be made for employment in this position.
Application Requirements (resume, cover letter, salary requirements, writing sample?): Purdue application and resume required.
Contact Name: Christine Strawsma
Title: Administrative Assistant
Where to send application packet (e-mail address, street address, fax?):  For consideration, submit resume and apply online at: www.purdue.edu/jobs and reference Job Number: 1001010
Is there a closing date? When should this listing be deleted from the site? 12/10/10

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Pre-Conference Program Has Landed!

The mailer will be shipping out soon, but here's your first taste of what's in store for this year's conference!

Click here for the pre-conference mailer.
(Adobe Acrobat Reader required)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Judge rules in the never-ending Fisk University/O'Keefe case

Ruling by Tennessee Judge that allows the sale to go forward but says that $20 million must go into an endowment, leaving only $10 million to the university.  Neither the university nor the attorney general are happy with the outcome. I imagine that they are already getting started on appealing the ruling.

Summary of Fisk University/O'Keefe Case:
"In 1949, painter Georgia O'Keeffe facilitated the exchange of 99 paintings from the estate of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz. She made an outright gift of two of her own paintings to the school. These are on permanent display at the University's Carl Van Vechten Galleries.
"In 2005, mounting financial difficulties led the University trustees to vote to sell two of the paintings, O'Keeffe's "Radiator Building" and Marsden Hartley's "Painting No. 3". (Together these were estimated to be worth up to 45 million U.S. dollars.) However, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, the legal guardians of her estate, sued to stop the sale on the basis that the original bequest did not allow the art to be sold. At the end of 2007 a plan to share the collection with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to earn money was being fought in court by the O'Keeffe Museum." - Wikipedia

This case drives home three issues that are critical to many museums: sustainability, donor's intents and deaccessioning. So, I ask, was this the correct decision, and if not, what is? What sort of effect might this have on other museums (or will it only affect those in Tennessee)? In other words, what do you think?

As a reminder, here are the stances of some of the major museum organizations on deaccessioning:

Deaccession stance by AAM: (from the 2000 Code of Ethics)

The disposal of collections through sale, trade, or research activities is solely for the advancement of the museum's mission. Proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections are to be used consistent with the established standards of the museum's discipline, but in no event shall they be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.

Deaccession stance by AASLH: (from their Statement of Professional Standards and Ethics)

"Collections shall not be deaccessioned or disposed of in order to provide financial support for institutional operations, facilities maintenance or any reason other than preservation or acquisition of collections, as defined by institutional policy."

Deaccession stance by AAMD: (from their 2010 AAMD Policy on Deaccessioning)

"Funds received from the disposal of a deaccessioned work shall not be used for operations or capital expenses. Such funds, including any earnings and appreciation thereon, may be used only for the acquisition of works in a manner consistent with the museum’s policy on the use of restricted acquisition funds."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Employment Opportunity with Purdue University

Site Name and Address: Purdue University – Department of Agricultural Communication – West Lafayette, IN
Position Title: Exhibit Specialist
Educational Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology, Industrial Design, Visual Design, or related field.
Experience Required: Two years experience in exhibit design, fabrication, and installation.     
Position Description: The exhibit specialist is instrumental in all aspects of the department's traveling exhibit program. The exhibit specialist, working as part of a team, is responsible for design, fabrication and installation of museum quality exhibits for the Ag Comm Exhibit Design Center at various locations locally, across the state, and nationally. Develop, design, fabricate and install two and three dimensional educational exhibits from small portable tabletop displays to very large museum exhibits.
Other pertinent information: A check of criminal conviction records will be made for employment in this position.
Application Requirements (resume, cover letter, salary requirements, writing sample?): Purdue application and resume required.
Contact Name: Christine Strawsma
Title: Administrative Assistant
Where to send application packet (e-mail address, street address, fax?):  For consideration, submit resume and apply online at: www.purdue.edu/jobs and reference Job Number: 1001010
Is there a closing date? When should this listing be deleted from the site? 12/10/10

Do you have an employment opportunity? Please email it conference@smallmuseum.org. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Big Ideas for Small Museums

Earlier this week, AASLH rolled out their quarterly newsletter, Big Ideas for Small Museums, which can be found at http://www.aaslh.org/SmallMuseums.htm. Their first issue focuses on... drumroll please... blogging!
 
They say, "Through this publication, the AASLH Small Museums Committee shares resources that are pretested and approved by actual small museum professionals. The articles are brief and practical – giving you the shortcuts you need when you don’t have enough time, money, or people. The newsletter is sent directly to the Small Museums Affinity Group. Sign up to receive Big Ideas for Small Museums automatically by joining the AASLH Small Museums Affinity Group. The Affinity Group is not a membership organization and there is no fee to join. However, you will need to create a username and password and share your contact information. Go to www.aaslh.org/SmallMuseums.htm and click on “Join the Small Museums Affinity Group” link at the top of the page and then on “Don’t have a Login? Click here.”

Enjoy! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Small Museum of the Month: Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center




The Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center was just a dream to Nebraska firefighters until it opened its doors on August 15, 2009! Since then, this beautiful new facility has been utilized by kids (and kids-at-heart!) as a place to engage with the proud history of Nebraska’s approximately 500 volunteer or career fire departments, and to learn hands-on about the importance of fire prevention!
Located just off Interstate-80 in the heart of the nation, the shiny restored trucks & apparatus, historic antique equipment & tools, detailed 40-foot timeline of Nebraska’s firefighting heritage since 1856, and bold educational fire prevention exhibits have been seen by thousands of visitors from literally around the world!

Each day, we strive to live out our purpose of preserving Nebraska’s tangible and intangible firefighting heritage, of educating our visitors about the importance of fire prevention and fire safety, and of memorializing Nebraska's firefighters & EMTs.
 
Phase One of the three planned phases of construction was the facility itself, which includes the Don & Ardath Smeal Family Gallery - named for the founders of the Smeal Fire Apparatus factory in Snyder, Neb., our $1,000,000 donors - a community birthday party room and a community conference room. Phase One was completed on August 14, 2009.

In order to showcase as many of Nebraska's fire departments as possible in the current available amount of space, we feature a rotating exhibit system, through which we annually exchange trucks on the floor, bring in new displays, and enhance the more permanent exhibits of the Gallery, including the fire prevention Hazard House.
Phase Two of construction was a stately Nebraska Firefighters Memorial Garden. After raising the funds for this project from private and corporate donors, we proudly broke ground in April 2010, and dedicated the completed landmark granite garden on 10.10.2010 at 10:00AM at the Nebraska Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service! The Memorial Garden is a permanent way to pay respectful homage to the dedicated service and ultimate sacrifices made by Nebraska’s past, present and future firefighters and EMTs by showcasing granite monuments engraved with the names of Nebraska’s line of duty deaths, and the sponsored names of many of our state’s past and present firefighters & EMTs.  May they never be forgotten.

Phase Three will be the expansion of the exhibit gallery by 12,000 square feet, which will more than double our current exhibit space, distributed by 6,000 square feet to the east and to the west of the current gallery building. We will strive to raise the needed dollars to complete these additions, and complete the construction and exhibit installation process in the next few years.



- Summer Hours (Memorial Day-Labor Day)                 
 Open Daily:     9:00AM-6:00PM
 - Off-Season Hours (Labor Day-Memorial Day)                  
Friday – Sunday:   10:00AM-5:00PM                  
Weekdays by Appointment:     Call 308-338-FIRE(3473)

 - Admission:                
 Ages 5 & Under:    FREE!                  
Youth (ages 6-17):          $3                 
 Adult (ages 18-64):        $6                 
 Senior (ages 65+):          $4

Want to be a Small Museum of the Month? Learn more here!

Photo of Museum of the Month will be added to the front page of the SMA website shortly. All photos courtesy of the Nebraska Firefighters Museum.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Social Media and Museums

This is waaaaaaayyyyy cool! Check out what 41 different museums are doing with social media (much of which is still free and/or inexpensive) here. I think it is empowering to see these museums using these devices in such novel and creative ways and really find a way to connect with their audiences.

Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Quick Survey


The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming is conducting research for an IMLS Connecting to Collections planning grant.  For part of their research, they are investigating the biggest collections care needs for small, local museums and libraries.  If you have a moment, please email answers to their quick survey below to Laura Fry at lauraf@bbhc.org. Thank you! 
 

 
Connecting to Collections Survey
 
With regards to collections care, which of the following does your museum or library need the most?
 
1. Collections storage funding
2. Disaster planning and networking
3. Digitization of collections
4. Cataloguing collections
5. Education for board members
6. Education for museum staff
7. Other __________________
 
Please send your response to: lauraf@bbhc.org
 
      
This survey is conducted as part of an IMLS Connecting to Collections Planning Grant at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody , Wyoming .  If you have any questions, please contact Laura Fry at lauraf@bbhc.org, or Beverly Perkins at beverlyp@bbhc.org.
 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Historian's Code

On H-Net (the Public History listserv), this Historian's Code was posted courtesy of historian Glenn Williams of the National Museum of the U.S. Army, and I thought it was useful to all of us who are involved in history in any such way. The code was written by Dr. Richard Stewart. May it guide you and inspire you.

A Historian's Code (1)

1.     I will footnote (or endnote) all my sources (none of this MLA or social science parenthetical business).

2.      If I do not reference my sources accurately, I will surely perish in the fires of various real or metaphorical infernal regions and I will completely deserve it.  I have been warned.

3.      I will respect the hard-won historical gains of those historians in whose steps I walk and will share such knowledge as is mine with all other historians (as they doubtless will cheerfully share it with me).

4.      I will not be ashamed to say "I do not know" or to change my narrative of historical events when new sources point to my errors.

5.      I will never leave a fallen book behind.

6.      I will acknowledge that history is created by people and not by impersonal cosmic forces or "isms."  An "ism" by itself never harmed or helped anyone without human agency.

7.      I am not a sociologist, political scientist, international relations-ist, or any other such "ist."  I am a historian and deal in facts, not models.

8.      I know I have a special responsibility to the truth and will seek, as fully as I can, to be thorough, objective, careful, and balanced in my judgments, relying on primary source documents whenever possible.

9.      Life may be short, but history is forever.  I am a servant of forever.

(1)     Stewart, Richard, Ph.D., "Historians and a Historian's Code," ARMY HISTORY, No. 77 (Fall 2010), p. 46.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Small Museum of the Month: Virginia Center for Architecture

  


Museum Information
The Virginia Center for Architecture
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220


(804) 644-3041
www.virginiaarchitecture.org
 

Hours of Operation
Tuesday–Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday 1–5 p.m.

The VCA is a great small museum:
As home to exhibitions, discussion forums, student programs, and a museum shop, the Virginia Center for Architecture provides an important cultural resource
 
The Center’s comprehensive exhibition program exposes the community to the importance and power of architecture, landscape architecture, and other aspects of design in our lives. Visitors discover how, of all the arts, architecture is the most public, most visible, and thus, the most defining — and how it shapes our communities and, in doing so, helps shape our citizens. 
   
The Center — located in the historic Branch House, a home with equal stature to Monticello, Mount Vernon, and the James River plantations — offers exhibitions and programs to engage visitors in considering the built environment that surrounds them. By presenting the best architecture of all eras, including promising designs for tomorrow, the Center for Architecture nurtures a society that distinguishes architecture from mere building and understands the value of well-designed places.


Want to be a Small Museum of the Month? Learn more here!

Photo of Museum of the Month will be added to the front page of the SMA website shortly. All photos courtesy of the Virginia Center for Architecture. 

Employment Opportunity with the El Paso Museum of Art

Site Name and Address: City of El Paso, 2 Civic Center Plaza 3rd Floor, El Paso, TX  79901
Position Title: Art Museum Senior Curator
Educational Requirements:  Candidate must have a Master’s degree in Art History or Museum Studies.  
Experience Required:  Six (6) years of museum exhibit staff supervision, exhibition development, design, and curatorial experience.
Position Description:  The City of El Paso seeks a highly motivated and experienced leader to serve as Art Museum Senior Curator at The El Paso Museum of Art.  The ideal candidate under direction, plans and directs the activities of a special curatorial department of the museum; plans, assigns and supervises the activities of subordinate personnel engaged in assisting with such work; and is responsible for the administration of the registration, art storage and general planning function of the curatorial department.
Other pertinent information:  Please visit our website at www.elpasotexas.gov to see complete job description
Application Requirements (resume, cover letter, salary requirements, writing sample?): Please visit our website at www.elpasotexas.gov to apply online.
Contact Name: Nuria Valdez       
Title:  Senior Human Resources Analyst
Where to send application packet (e-mail address, street address, fax?): n/a
Is there a closing date? When should this listing be deleted from the site?  10/25/10

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Interview with Small Museum of the Month: Dumbarton House


Dumbarton House
Earlier this month, we announced our August Museum of the Month, Dumbarton House. SMA recently conducted an interview with their director, Karen Daly. Check out what Karen had to say! (All photos courtesy of Dumbarton House/The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America.)

SMA: What is your name and position at the museum?
DH: Karen L. Daly, Executive Director 

SMA: What is the most surprising/interesting thing in your collection?
George Washington Beaker
DH: We have a copy of the first printing of the Articles of Confederation, with marginal notes from James Nourse—the father of our early resident Joseph Nourse, and a leader in colonial Virginia. We also have a silver beaker, or camp cup, used by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Both are very exciting links to our nation’s founding over 200 years ago. 

SMA: What do you hope people take away with them after visiting your museum?
DH: I hope they leave with a better sense of the effort and determination of early Americans—the idea that our nation was a great experiment, and the building of our national capital here in Washington and our national identity overall took many years and countless patriotic Americans to make a lasting reality. 

Articles of Confederation
SMA: What are some of the programs/exhibitions/services you offer at your museum?
DH: We offer a regular calendar of temporary exhibitions, school & Scout programs, and public programs for the community.  This fall, for example, we’re hosting monthly walking tours of our historic Georgetown neighborhood, Jazz in the Garden during extended evening museum hours, theatrical performances, and Cotillion Classes for pre-teens. 

SMA: Are there any fun stories about your museum?
DH: Absolutely!  On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, Dumbarton House served as first point of refuge for First Lady Dolley Madison as she fled the threatened White House.  When she received word from the President about where to meet in Virginia later that day, she travelled on and escaped to safety across the Potomac.  The British only hours later would arrive in Washington, setting fire to the Capitol and then the President’s House. 

SMA: Besides your own, what is your favorite small museum and where is it located?
DH: I love Riversdale in Maryland.  Home of the Mistress of Riversdale, Rosalie Stier Calvert, the historic site has lovely grounds including a working kitchen and period-appropriate gardens. Their interior has undergone exciting restoration efforts in recent years and staff are always hosting new and interesting public programs.  To me, the site reflects exactly what is best about small museums—a real connection to the local community and a personal feel to tours and programs. 

SMA: What do you think small museums can do to become better and/or stronger?
DH: I think working with each other and collaborating is the key to our future success.  We can accomplish far more as a group than any one institution can accomplish on its own, and SMA is a great organization working to foster that kind of camaraderie.

Want to be a Small Museum of the Month? Learn more here!