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.

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,, 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:


If you have a job posting, please email 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,
Blount Mansion Association
200 W. Hill Ave.
PO Box 1703
Knoxville, TN 37901-1703

(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.
  • 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
All applications will be treated confidentially until finalists are identified
An Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Organization


November 5, 2010

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
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.
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: and reference Job Number: 1001010
Is there a closing date? When should this listing be deleted from the site? 12/10/10