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: )

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

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