Giving Tuesday, and Celebrating 200 Blog Posts

December 7, 2020

It is that time of year again to talk about the importance of Giving Tuesday and generosity as we prepare for the holiday season. Giving Tuesday is a global movement that started in 2012 to encourage people to do good especially during the holiday season. It inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. Last year, according to their website, individuals in the United States raised $511,000,000. While the Giving Tuesday event occurred on December 1st this year, it is not the only time individuals can donate to museums and non-profit organizations. It is a reminder to be inspired and inspire to do good Museums and non-profit organizations prepare each year for Giving Tuesday to connect with the communities they are a part of, including through emails and newsletters, and encourage community members to donate to their causes if they are able.

There are many Giving Tuesday campaigns that museums and non-profit organizations utilize to bring awareness to their causes. Some of them include but are not limited to:

Three Village Historical Society, which works within the community to explore local history through education about the history of the people who have lived in the Three Village area from earliest habitation to the present, sent emails out to members, volunteers, et. cetera the Giving Tuesday campaign. Within the email, they were selling the new book A Celebration of House Tours Past to commemorate the 40 years of the Candlelight House Tour that would have occurred this year and were originally going to have a limited-space dinner to replace this year’s tour but had to cancel due to updated regulations in response to the pandemic. The Candlelight House Tour typically accounts for a large portion of the funding that sustains TVHS for the year to come. The email also stated:

All of us at the Three Village Historical Society are doing everything we can to give back as we continue to adjust to the world around us. We are excited to offer new virtual programming in the coming year to help you engage in online education, and learn something new about our local history!

That’s why we’re asking for your continued support this #GivingTuesday. If you are able, please consider making a donation today. We’ve set an ambitious goal of 50 online donations and new or renewed memberships. You can become one of our generous supporters with a donation of any amount or with a new membership beginning at just $40 annually.

In addition to the donation and membership, there is also an Online Holiday Market. Originally going to be outdoors, the Holiday Market have items that include but are not limited to vintage framed photos, ornaments, books, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags.

 I received an email from Reimagine which is a non-profit organization sparking community-driven festivals and conversations that explore death and celebrate life. Reimagine shared a letter from one of their collaborators, she wrote about how much Reimagine meant to her when she lost both of her parents, to show how the support they receive helps them build a community that gives needed space for grappling with loss.

Facing History and Ourselves is a global organization with a network of 300,000 teachers, in every type of middle grade and secondary level school setting, that uses the lessons of history to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate. Through the partnership with educators around the world, they are able to reach millions of students in thousands of classrooms every year. Within their Giving Tuesday email campaign, Facing History and Ourselves expressed their gratefulness for this year’s Thanksgiving for the teachers’ creativity, compassion, and resilience as well as the contributions members made to make the work with teachers and students possible. Also, they expressed that while the holiday season will be challenging for all of us they found hope in the teachers being able to use their resources and being able to help teachers transition to remote learning when the pandemic hit.

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) shared their Giving Tuesday campaign through the members’ Weekly Dispatch email newsletter. They ask readers to think about doing good with AASLH through the Annual Fund, and shared that the donations power new professional development programs, efforts to improve diversity and inclusiveness, and help promote the relevance of history.

Preservation Long Island sent a thank you letter to express that they are thankful for the continued support through their virtual programming. There were also included links to make donations and becoming a member if one is able to do so.

Each of the above examples pointed out that if you are able to make a donation to please make a consideration to donate, and that you do not need to wait until Giving Tuesday to extend generosity.

In the past four years since starting this blog then ultimately the website, I wrote and released 200 blog posts. Thank you everyone who has read, shared, and commented on the blogs from when I first posted a blog to the most recent blog posts. To celebrate this milestone, I decided to do something really special for the blog and website. The blog and website will be expanded to offer everyone more opportunities to bridge between individuals and the museum and public history field through various projects that strive to be more accessible offsite.

Some of the various projects I am planning include books to become a part of the narrative within both fields. I will be making an announcement soon about an upcoming book project on the museum field I am starting work on.

In order for these projects to come to fruition, I ask you all to make a donation of as little or as much as you can on the donation page.  I believe that every little bit helps, and that it is especially hard nowadays make large donations. This is why I created a page on Buy Me a Coffee, and you can access it on the donations page. Buy Me a Coffee is a more simple and fun way to support projects like this one, and you do not need to create an account to contribute. You can donate as little or as much as you could. On this page, I am also offering consulting to provide advice on content creation as well as advice on any upcoming projects related to museums, history, and public history.

If you are not able to make a donation, you can also share this post and donation page. Also, I will share updates in the blog on how the projects are coming along to share with you what each donation is working towards; so, stay tuned.

Thank you in advance! Your support is greatly appreciated.

Donations Page

To go directly to my Buy Me a Coffee page, click here.

Previous Relevant Blog Post:

Reaction: Giving Tuesday; Low Salaries in Museums

Links:

Three Village Historical Society

TVHS Online Holiday Market

Reimagine

Facing History and Ourselves

AASLH

Preservation Long Island

About Buy Me a Coffee

Reaction: Giving Tuesday & Low Salaries in Museums

Added to Medium, December 6, 2018

Many museum professionals, as well as non-profit professionals, are familiar with Giving Tuesday. This takes place annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to ask shoppers to consider donating money to non-profit organizations, and museums also participate in asking visitors to donate to help support museums. It is ironic that while museums participate in Giving Tuesday to convince people to give charity to these museums, museum executives and boards are not using the same mentality of charity to its hard-working staff. While I was celebrating Thanksgiving and working at the Long Island Explorium, I came across the blogpost “Giving Tuesday & Low Salaries in Museums” by Seema Rao, and I started to think about the current state of museum professionals’ salaries and working conditions. Articles and blog posts like this one prove that while we are bringing more awareness to the situation we have so far to go to make the changes we need to make for our museums. Another thing that these articles,blog posts, seminars, etc. about salaries and the museum workforce have in common is the salary is the most talked about topic in our field right now.

Our field needs to be doing more to make changes in how we pay our staff and the working conditions in the museum. As Rao pointed out, staff are aware of how low their salaries are:

Junior staff members see their peers making vastly more in other sectors. Colleagues are learning that peers in other parts of their organizations are making more for the same job, and they are unhappy. Mid-career professionals are looking around for other jobs that pay better.

Museum educators are definitely not happy with the current state of salaries in the field. It was one of the topics discussed in NYCMER’sprogram last year “Career Growth in Museum Education” in which we not only focused on  how to build and sustain careers in museum education but we talked about the survey results from the “Why are Great Museum Workers Leaving the Field?” survey conducted in September 2016. According to the results of the survey, which were also shared in the “Leaving the Museum Field” article on AAM’s website, the pay was too low was the number one reason respondents who answered why they left the field. 

I also wrote a reaction piece to the AAM article last year highlighting my thoughts about the conditions of the museum field. In that post, I said that 

I still believe museums can illuminate an individual’s educational experience, and by continuing in the museum field I hope to make an impact on the public. It is a challenge to accomplish this when there are things that prevent me from fulfilling this goal.

This statement is just as true now as it was then. Unfortunately, for many museum professionals including myself, the challenges preventing us from fulfilling our goals in our careers is continuing to present problems that make us want action to be taken to correct our field sooner. And we should be not only having more open discussions about salaries with one another and with our executives we need to see results to keep our passions for our work alive. 

We cannot make effective change without bringing awareness of this issue to the executives and museum boards who make the big decisions to run the museum. Rao has pointed out that

Museums replicate some elements of corporate America, giving their CEO’s higher salaries. But, they have chosen to ignore others. Lower level staff generally doesn’t have any perks that keep them there. Flex time, infinite vacation, and profit-sharing don’t generally exist in museums. Instead, museum staff members remain in place due to their drives and hopes. There is the dream that their penury will have a long-term payoff when they get to the top, or their martyrdom is worth being part of this amazing mission. For others, there is no job mobility. The majority of cities in America don’t have enough museums for professionals to move from museum job to museum job without moving. In other words, museum executives get the benefit of corporate salaries while leading a group of people who might feel trapped by their ideals.

By changing the way museums are run to make them resemble corporations, the staff are the ones that pay the price of greater hardship within their personal and professional lives. While we may be holding on to our passions for museums and to our hopes of having a long-term payoff for the hard work we put in, we cannot hold on forever. Eventually, if we have not done so already, will burn out and be trapped in a never-ending loop of the hardship while the higher ups will reap the rewards they see in their paths.

A question was posed in the blog post that resonatedwith me: If we can’t even preserve our staff at a living wage, why should people trust us with their collections or money?

Since the purpose of many museums is to preserve its collections, we will not be able to do the work that we do if museums continue down this path of paying its staff low wages. What museum executives and boards seem to not realize, as Rao has beautifully stressed in her post, is the staff engage with the visitors on a regular basis and the visitors’ impressions of the museum also depend on how the staff treats them. Staff members may be able to conceal their unhappiness with their work conditions and low salaries, but there may be days that they are  unable to conceal it as well and this could easily effect how they interact with the visitors. 

If the executives and boards are not willing to properly compensate their staff with living wages and create a safe work environment, then how can they convince visitors to come into our doors?

For those who do not workin the museum field, please keep in mind what museum workers are going throughand be supportive to them. To learn more, please read the following sources:

https://www.medium.com/@artlust/giving-tuesday-low-salaries-in-museums-b4080566c81b

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2017/09/27/leaving-the-museum-field-a-reaction-to-the-alliance-labs-blog/

https://www.aam-us.org/2017/09/22/leaving-the-museum-field/