Thursday, February 14, 2013

SMA Conference: Emerging from the Shadows: Using Paranormal Programs to Build the “Spirit” of Community

Have you noticed the growing popularity of paranormal programming in the museum and historic site community?  Have YOU ever suspected you are not alone when working late?  If so, then perhaps your site has an opportunity to expand your program offerings with something “spirited!” 

When I joined Fort Mifflin as Executive Director a couple of years ago I was very skeptical of how paranormal programs fit within the context of a National Historic Landmark. After a quick review of the financial statements the mist cleared – this was an essential financial element of our program calendar.  Still, I wondered if it made sense from an historic context.

Over my tenure our paranormal programming has evolved, and I am happy to report that we consider it to be fully mission based, no longer on the “special event” line on the IRS Form 990.  This is just another avenue for us to tell the story of the site, and by its nature, a paranormal investigation will yield different results every time.  There is always an incentive for a visiting investigator to return!  Repeat visitors often develop a relationship with the site, and we have found that a significant portion of our essential volunteer pool comes from folks who initially visited to check the dark corners of the Fort for ghosts.

Let’s get together to explore possibilities at YOUR site – I will share my experience at Fort Mifflin, review our successful programs and talk about how we manage the unique challenges of extensive night time programming.  I might even bring a few photos that will make believers out of skeptics….

Elizabeth Beatty
Executive Director
Fort Mifflin on the Delaware

No comments:

Post a Comment