Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Conference Presenter: PastPerfect Software

Small museums are constantly adapting and reusing what they have.  I know this from working as a curator and serving on the board of directors of small museums. I also talk to small organizations every day, helping PastPerfect users as a support technician at PastPerfect Software. That is why this year’s conference theme got me (and the rest of the PastPerfect team) thinking about how we can help small museums better use resources they already own -- PastPerfect and their data.
In support of SMA, PastPerfect Software is offering a Support Lab on Sunday, February 19 from 12-4 pm. Our entire support team will be available to answer any PastPerfect-related questions, whether you are just getting started or have used PastPerfect for years. Please stop by, and get free help with your software. Our museum and technical specialists will be on hand, as well as our conversion and PastPerfect-Online experts. We will also be available all day Monday, February 20 at the Resource Hall. We truly want to help you use one of your museum’s most valuable assets – information about your collections and contacts. 

Jennifer Whitfield, PastPerfect

Monday, January 30, 2012

Conference Presenter: Linda Stanek

Making Learning Fun

Kids today are a new breed. They’ve been called “digital natives” because they have grown up in a digital world. They learn differently, socialize differently, and connect with the world differently than previous generations. In our presentation, Jen and I will share with you new research that shows that puzzles (think crosswords and more) are an effective way to reach and teach this generation, as well as older generations. 

“People of all eras, all cultures, and all kinds of educational backgrounds have made and solved puzzles,” says Marcel Danesi, author of The Puzzle Instinct. Now, research shows that the disfluency of puzzles, as well as the emotional response people have to them, actually promotes the processing of information into long-term memory. In addition to learning about the scientific research, we’ll walk you through the puzzle making process, so that you will leave with a puzzle for your institution, and the ability to make more of them later.

At 1:30-3:00 on Monday, February 20th, we (children’s authors and puzzle specialists, Jen Funk Weber and Linda Stanek) will present Make It Fun! Creating and Using Puzzles to Engage, Teach, and Reinforce the Learning of Your Visitors where we’ll explore this research and how you can harness the power of puzzles to further the mission of your museum. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Small Museum Sessions at the AAM Conference

Let’s Get Small! Celebrating Small Museums at the 2012 AAM Annual Meeting
2012 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo
Minneapolis Saint Paul
April 29-May 2

The 2012 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo offers plenty for small museums. Don’t miss out. Register by January 31st to save 40% off the full registration rate.

The premier professional development and networking opportunity of the museum year, the AAM Annual Meeting has numerous offerings designed to help small museums. With the leadership of the Small Museums Administrators Committee, there will be numerous sessions devoted to the issues confronting smaller institutions of all types, including the following:

Your Turn: Answers About MAP, CAP, and StEPS National Assessment Programs
Monday, April 30, 9-10:15

Building Community: Addressing the Challenges and Achievements of University Museums
Monday, April 30, 2-3:15

Small Museum Successes: Creative Ideas and Helpful Hints for Small Institutions
Monday, April 30, 3:30-5:30

Learn more about the Annual Meeting, check out the hotel bargains and roommate options, explore fellowship opportunities (also due January 31!) and plan your learning opportunities at http://aam-us.org/am12/.

Conference Presenter: Douglas Horhota

Partnerships  (Monday Feb 20 3:30 -4:30)

We all are under increased pressure to raise our museum's visibility and vitality.  One way to accomplish this is to establish partnerships with outside organizations.  As museum professionals we typically speak the same language, but what happens when we set up partnerships with non-museum organizations?  Representatives from Jamestown/Yorktown and St Mary's City will lead a group discussion focusing on your experiences in developing partnerships and their background in building corporate and educational relationships.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Employment Opportunity with the Newlin Grist Mill

Newlin Grist Mill Site Manager
The Nicholas Newlin Foundation seeks a Site Manager. The private, non-profit foundation maintains a collection of ten historic buildings including the 1704 gristmill, working blacksmith shop, and a research archive situated on 160 acres. The organization has a dual mission of historical and environmental preservation and education.
The Site Manager is responsible for the preservation and maintenance of Newlin Grist Mill’s buildings, archaeological resources, grounds and all associated equipment. The Site Manager will oversee preservation planning, creation of historic structure reports, periodic inspections, project planning, and work with maintenance staff to complete maintenance projects for the various structures. The foundation’s structures include a working millrace with canals, dams and gates. Since water is critical to the operation of the site, the position is also responsible for conducting water quality monitoring and overseeing the fishing operations in the ponds and streams. Responsibilities include maintaining the 8.5 miles of trails, protecting the foundation’s environmental resources, overseeing public safety and site security, and completing all paperwork associated with these duties.
The Site Manager must be enthusiastic and possess the manual skills required for historic property maintenance. The Site Manager will be required to work well with other staff and oversee outside contractors. Extensive practical maintenance experience in historic structures or a Bachelor’s degree in Preservation, Museum Studies or a related field is required. Experience with project management, research, and landscape preservation is desired.
Application deadline is February 15, 2012.
Inquiries and resumes to:
            tshahan@newlingristmill.org or
            Director, Newlin Grist Mill, 219 S. Cheyney Road, Glen Mills, PA 19342

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Conference Presenters: Rod Cofield & Mary Alexander:

Let's face it, working with visitors is hard. They demand a lot, they're always asking questions, they want to know everything about everything, and they don't often care if we're having a challenging day. But..., museums exist for visitors and thus we need to pay attention to our visitor experiences. This participatory session, Visitor Services Improv, will draw on real life examples to help us all become more attuned to how museums are sometimes not so visitor-friendly. (No one was actually hurt in this photo shoot.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Historical Society Seeking Early 20th Century Schoolbooks

The Historical Society of Marshall County (Iowa) wants to buy texts for our 1913 country school reenactments:
Gordon Readers First Book, 1910 or 1912.
Gordon Readers Third Book, 1910 or 1912.
Brooks's Readers Second Year, 1907
Brooks's Readers Fourth and Fifth Years, 1907
Please take a few minutes to dig and see if you have any of these. The authenticity of our full day reenactments, for every fourth grader in our county, will be enhanced by using these texts.
Julie Lang, Volunteer Director
Taylor #4 Country School
605 Elmwood Drive
Marshalltown, IA 50158

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions


The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Division of Preservation and Access has offered Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions for more than a decade. These grants help small and mid-sized cultural heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections.  Awards of up to $6000 support preservation related collection assessments, consultations, training and workshops, and institutional and collaborative disaster and emergency planning.  Preservation Assistance Grants also support education and training in best practices for sustaining digital collections, standards for digital preservation, and the care and handling of collections during digitization. Institutions may request funds for a preservation assessment of digital collections.  NEH does not fund digitization or the development of digital programs in this grant category. 
All applications to the NEH must be submitted through Grants.gov. See the application guidelines for details.

The 2012 guidelines for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions are available at http://www.neh.gov/grants/guidelines/pag.html. You will also find sample project descriptions, sample narratives, and a list of frequently asked questions. The deadline for applications is May 1, 2012.

Small and mid-sized institutions that have never received an NEH grant and those considering projects in digital preservation are especially encouraged to apply.

For more information, contact the staff of NEH's Division of Preservation and Access at 202-606-8570 and preservation@neh.gov

Conference Presenter: Beth Maloney

One thing I love about working with small museums is how good they are at getting folks around the table and tackling problems in nimble,  creative and concrete ways. Our session, " Making your site Family- Friendly: Expert Advice from the Pros ," tries to capture this spirit.  We've gathered together some colleagues who have a wealth of  experience in the field of family-focused programming, interpretation  and exhibit design. And we're inviting you, session participants, to bring one issue or problem you've encountered while trying to make  your site or museum more family friendly. At our session we'll address your issue specifically and develop some concrete tips and suggestions  for real solutions you'll be able to take back to your site and try out. If you'd like us to address your issue, please send me an email at beth@bethmaloney.com and include your name/contact information, the   name of your organization/museum, the number of staff you have, a 5 sentence description of your problem or issue and a one sentence  desired outcome. We'll take a look at issues in the order they are  received so don't delay!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Employment Opportunity with PastPerfect

PastPerfect Software, Inc. has an open position for a Museum Software Specialist to assist clients with the implementation and use of PastPerfect Museum Software and PastPerfect-Online.  Our team of museum and technical professionals is based in Exton, Pennsylvania and serves over 8000 organizations around the world.  PastPerfect continues to grow as the leader in providing collections and contact management to museums of all sizes. 

Position Details:
-Full time permanent position in our Exton, PA office.
-Assists clients with all aspects of ordering, installing, and operating PastPerfect Software.

-Complete medical and dental benefits at no cost to the employee.
-$32,000 a year starting salary with additional pay increases and incentives after the first year.
-Regular business hours 9:00am - 5:30pm weekdays.  (some weekend hours may be required for conferences occasionally)
-Leave (vacation) accrues from start of employment. After first year, employee accrues 12 days per year of paid vacation and 7 paid holidays.

-Uncompromising commitment to help fellow members of the museum community.
-Excellent communication skills with the desire to work as part of a small team.
-Strong computer skills with a focus on Microsoft products.
-Preference given to the candidate who has put collection management principles in place at a small to medium size museum.
-Undergraduate degree in a museum studies related discipline.
-Familiarity with our products is a plus.
Applications are being accepted by email through January 20, 2012.
Please provide references with your resume and give us your earliest available start date.  

Brian L. Gomez
Vice President, Operations
voice: 800-562-6080 Ext 102
cell:     484-883-4198

Monday, January 9, 2012

Conference Presenter: Nomi Dayan

When I saw this year’s conference theme, I just knew I had to give a presentation!
The subject "Adapt & Reuse: Fresh Ideas and New Approaches” could not describe our museum enough. Our museum has undergone a major change in the past few years. I was hired by the Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum in 2008 in an effort to help revitalize the museum’s vision and approach to education programs. I would like to share our experiences and inspiration with you and show you how we started new programs throughout the year, expanded our audience, rethought how we use our physical spaces, and revamped our offerings to adults, families, and children.
I plan to talk about the strategies I’ve used to maximize every inch possible, making creative connections between our mission and fresh program ideas (celebrating Chinese New Year in a Whaling Museum, anyone?), interdisciplinary learning in rotating stations, and what I call “imaginative transformation” of a given space.
Take a look at the picture  – what’s going on? Why is there a boy absolutely thrilled for having found what he is holding? Join me on Tuesday morning for “Salt Water? Fresh Ideas: Creative Programs in Small Spaces to find out!
See you in Ocean City – and remember to bring your imagination!
Nomi Dayan
The Whaling Museum 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Conference Presenter: Alana Blumenthal

As we lead up to SMA 2012, we will be sharing posts from several of this year's speakers! Come back regularly to learn more. Thanks! 

Hey folks!  I am really excited to be facilitating a roundtable at this year’s SMA conference.  The topic is one that I think benefits everyone in the small museum field, the role of the Emerging Museum Professional. 
Who is the emerging professional?  What does their educational and professional experience tend to look like?  And, most importantly, how does that experience benefit a small museum?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Because there are relatively few openings, candidates may have to work part time, as an intern, or even as a volunteer assistant curator or research associate after completing their formal education. Substantial work experience in collection management, research, exhibit design, or restoration, as well as database management skills, will be necessary for permanent status.
(you can check out more here: www.bls.gov/oco/ocos065.htm )

Sound familiar?  It did to me.  I have put in my time as an unpaid intern, an underpaid employee, and, of course, unemployed.  We will discuss that experience and how to make the best of it.

We will also discuss the other end of the EMP experience.  

As the collective belts of the non-profit world tighten, we have all seen significant changes in staffing.  As the theme of this year’s conference indicates, museums have had to “adapt and reuse.”  Part of that adaptation includes bringing in young professionals in roles that formerly might have been shared by multiple employees.  That’s where I am now, as the only paid professional at a small museum that formerly had a staff of six.  We will try to tackle how a museum can best utilize the talent available, and how an EMP must balance the responsibilities.

I hope you will join me for “Learning and Doing: Emerging professionals in Today’s Museums.”  The more perspectives we have in the discussion, the more valuable it will be for everyone.  See you there!

-Alana Blumenthal, Curator/Collections Manager of the Loudoun Museum, Leesburg, VA