Winter Holidays in 2020 and Happy New Year

December 16, 2020

As with everything this past year, the winter holidays are going to be celebrated a little bit differently because of the pandemic. Museums are continuing to offer virtual programs, tours, et. cetera to help us all engage with and keep our spirits up during the holiday season. While we are figuring out how we are celebrating this year, I thought I would do a short examination of the history of holidays that take place during this time of year.

There are many holidays celebrated in December around the world, and the ones I mention in this blog are only a sample of what holidays are out there. I have included in the list of links a link to the December holiday calendar that shares various holidays celebrated this time of year (even some that secular holidays). The holidays celebrated in December include but are not limited to Yule, Christmas, and Hanukkah.

Yule is a celebration, practiced by pagans, neo-pagans, and other individuals who incorporate witchcraft practice in their lives, which involves gathering together to enjoy meals and gift giving, and activities like feasting and wassailing (where the tradition of singing carols comes from) are sometimes regarded as sacred. Also, it is one of the celebrations from the Wheel of the Year acknowledging the change in seasons; Yule represents the celebration of death and rebirth in nature, and the eventual return of the sun from its weakest point in the year, faced during the winter season. Some of the traditions that are practiced during this Yuletide time are but not limited to decorating the Yule tree, lighting the candles on the Yule log, making and hanging wreaths, and telling stories.

This celebration corresponds with the astrological change of the Earth tilting away from the sun, known as the Winter Solstice. The amount of sunlight on Earth during this time varies, short day and long night to long darkness, depends on which part of the globe one lives on. In the Northern Hemisphere, it also marks the first day of winter. In Mary Kate Hagan’s article “Winter Solstice Celebration”, she pointed out that

Winter Solstice is a time to pause, with the restraints of winter, to perceive the seeds of our future growth. It is an invitation to align ourselves with the turning of the seasons and the natural world, experiencing ourselves as being woven into the sacred web of life, acknowledging the mystery of the Divine creative presence pulsating through all. (185).

Yule is linked to a number of religious celebrations and spiritual traditions that coincides with the Winter Solstice which occurs on December 21st this year in the Northern Hemisphere.

One of the most common examples of Yule’s connection with other religious celebrations and spiritual traditions is Christmas. A lot of the traditions that have been adopted into Christmas traditions came from pagan celebrations. Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas: A Social and Cultural History of Our Most Cherished Holiday is one of the examples of books written about the history of Christmas and its roots in paganism. Nissenbaum used documents and illustrations in his book to share Christmas’s carnival origins and shows how it was transformed, during the nineteenth century, into the celebration we know now. His book also shared the origins of Christmas traditions from St. Nicholas to the Christmas tree and the practice of giving gifts to children.

Christmas is the celebration in the Christian religions to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and, especially in the secular world, gather with loved ones by giving presents and having meals together. There are many customs that vary in different countries, and in the United States Christmas traditions are celebrated together with many customs from other cultures and countries. Families around the world decorate the tree and home with bright lights, wreaths, candles, holly, mistletoe, and ornaments. Some individuals attend church on Christmas Eve, and Santa Claus comes from the North Pole in a sleigh to deliver gifts; in other parts of the world, Santa arrives on other modes of transportation such as in Hawaii he arrives by boat and in Ghana he comes out of the jungle.  Another holiday celebrated in December is Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday.

Hanukkah is celebrated by the Jewish people honoring the Maccabees’ victory over King Antiochus who forbade them from practicing their religion. They celebrate over eight nights to remember how the oil in the temple was supposed to last for one night ended up lasting eight nights. To celebrate Hanukkah, they start with a prayer, the lighting of the menorah, and food. The menorah holds nine candles, eight candles to be lit on each night and the nineth is used to light the other candles. Also, children play games such as the dreidel, sing songs, and exchange gifts. Unlike Christmas, the days the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah changes each year because the holiday follows the lunar cycle. This year Hanukkah starts at sundown on December 10th and ends on December 18th. As I am writing this blog post, it is the sixth night of Hanukkah (when this is posted, it will be the seventh night) and will be lighting the menorah with my husband and his family.

All of the celebrations that I mentioned above and the ones I share within the links section have in common is the focus of celebrating with loved ones whether we are in person or not. While celebrating the holidays this year will be different, technology will be able to help us connect with family members as we focus on getting a better control of the pandemic.

I am taking a break from posting on the blog for the holidays. I will be working on the campaign and more posts on the blog for the upcoming new year. Stay tuned for more posts and exciting developments in the new year! Thank you all for your continued support, and I hope all of you have a fun and safe holiday.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

Related Posts:

Blog Campaign:

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/lbmfmusedblog

Happy Holidays! Museum Education during the Holiday Season

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year: Ready for Museum Education

Links:

Holiday Calendar List

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/winter-celebrations/

https://religiouslife.princeton.edu/religious-holidays

USA Today: “Hanukkah 2020: When it is and what to know (no, it’s not the ‘Jewish Christmas’)” by David Oliver

F. C. Conybeare, “The History of Christmas”, The American Journal of Theology, Jan., 1899, Vol. 3, No. 1 (Jan., 1899), pp. 1-21, Published by: The University of Chicago Press.

Jan M. Ziolkowski, “The Yuletide Juggler”, The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity, Volume 5: Tumbling into the Twentieth Century, Open Book Publishers.

Mary Kate Hagan, “Winter Solstice Celebration”, The Furrow, Vol. 61, No. 3 (March 2010), pp. 185-188 (4 pages), The Furrow.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/12/winter-solstice-2017-first-day-winter-definition-space-science/

The Battle for Christmas: A Social and Cultural History of Our Most Cherished Holiday by Stephen Nissenbaum

America’s Favorite Holidays: Candid Histories by Bruce David Forbes

All About Yule

Holidays Calendar: Yule

James Buescher, “Wiccans, pagans ready to celebrate Yule”, Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster County, PA, Published: Dec 15, 2007.

Happy New Year!

January 2, 2020

It is officially 2020, and there is so much to look forward to this year. I hope for more progress in the museum field, especially in providing salary information in job descriptions and equity. I also hope to incorporate more self-care into my everyday life to maintain a work/life balance. And finally, I hope to read more books this year (this will always be my new year’s resolution).

Normally in the past blog posts, I provided a list of books I would like to read in the new year. This year, I ask all of you to share with me what books you are either hoping to read or have already read. It can be history and museum related, or any book in any genre. Happy New Year to you all! Thank you for continuing to read my blog. I wish you all good health and happiness in the new year. Stay tuned for more posts this year.

What books have you read or have already read? What do you hope to accomplish this year?

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year: Ready for Museum Education 2020

December 19, 2019

2019 has gone by so quickly. There is so much that have happened in the past year, and I hope there will be more accomplished in the upcoming new year. I took a look at the first blog post I wrote in 2019 to take a look at what I have accomplished since the post. In the post “A New Year: What Needs to be Accomplished in the Museum Field”, I stated that

One of my goals for 2019, for example, are to gain and develop my skills as a leader in the museum education field. To accomplish this goal, I hope to take more courses and other professional development programs that will help myself move forward in my career. At the beginning of my career, I have developed skills as a museum educator. After a number of years in the field, I knew that in order to move forward I need to gain and develop new skills to challenge myself and make more impacts on the museums I work for and the field in general. Within the past few years, I focused more on professional development programs and courses, and sought opportunities that focus on administration, leadership, program development, and other related opportunities. I recently completed a course through the AASLH’s online program called Small Museum Pro!, and in the course Museum Education and Outreach I work through the basics of museum education, how to implement programming, training staff, and partnering with the community for outreach. For 2019, I will continue to seek similar professional development programs and opportunities to accomplish my career goals.

As 2019 comes to a close, I can see that I have continued to seek professional development programs and opportunities to accomplish my career goals and I plan to continue this main goal in 2020.

One of the examples was attending the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) conference for the first time. While I have attended conferences before, this past year’s AASLH was the first time I attended an in-person professional development conference with AASLH. In the past I was not able to attend AASLH conferences because I was not able to financially afford to travel to the cities they were located in and the conference fee at the same time. This past year’s conference was located in Philadelphia where I attended sessions, presented at a poster session on the Founder’s Day program the Three Village Historical Society won a leadership award for, and explored the city.

Also, I attended a webinar hosted by AASLH called Beyond the Spreadsheet: Finance and Organizational Priorities and the instructor for the webinar was Becky Beaulieu, who is the author of Financial Fundamentals for Historic House Museums (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Designed for staff, volunteers, and board members, the webinar was designed to help participants foresee and tackle challenges of incohesive financial planning, such as fragmentation within the institution, lack of proper fundraising strategy, and potentially weak and even uncompliant organizational management. Beaulieu also addressed building buy-in amongst internal and external stakeholders to best position your organization for financial stability and strong partnerships. I participated in a Twitter discussion that focused on our goals as museum educators and on a personal level from the past year and for the new year.

In the MuseumEdChat, there was discussion about endings and beginnings in honor of the new year and museum education. The first question we answered and talked about was: Q1 What’s something that ended *well* for you this year (ideally #MuseumEd related)?  What made it end so well? #MuseumEdChat. I mentioned the leadership award that was earned for the Three Village Historical Society’s Founder’s Day program, a local history program that teaches fourth grade about the founding of the town of Setauket, diversity, and inclusion.

Then the next question we addressed was: Q2 We’re ending a *decade* – so tell us about “good endings” you’ve had in the past 10 years. #MuseumEdChat. Since a lot has happened in the past ten years, I decided to give a small highlight of what the “good endings” were in the past. My highlight was that I graduated college, attended and graduated with a Master’s in Public History, moved to Long Island, and stopped working in a job that underappreciated and underpaid me.

The third question we answered on Twitter was: Q3 What are you personally looking forward to starting next year in #MuseumEd? (Maybe goals you are striving for, a new initiative, a work anniversary?) #MuseumEdChat. To answer this question, I stated that I look forward to expanding my skills so I could have more well-rounded experiences as a museum education professional, and I strive to present at professional development programs. Also, I said that I hope to start a new position in the museum education field that will financially and equitably support me.

I also delved into the skills I wanted to expand upon which were leadership, lesson planning, digital learning, and financial. The financial skills are especially important for me to develop because in my educational background finances were not covered enough in my courses, and I believe that it will help me learn more about how to develop a budget for education programs.

The fourth question we addressed in the conversation was: Q4 Any trends you see that could have a *positive* effect on #MuseumEd in 2020? #MuseumEdChat. I believe that having salaries shared in the job description will have a positive effect on museum education in 2020 because it will help job seekers understand what the museum can afford for salary and make the decision on what will fit their needs the best.

The final question was: Q5 Finally… clink your glass virtually with someone who had an influence on you this past year to you want to wish “Buona fina e buon principio” (good ending and good beginning). Pay it forward! #MuseumEdChat. There are too many to list since my colleagues, both in the museum I work with and online, are the ones that had an influence on me this past year. My colleagues and their journeys inspire me to pursue more in professional development for my own career. I am also inspired by all of you who continue to read these blog posts and share your experiences, especially in museum education.

On a personal level, there was a lot that happened in 2019. For instance, I got married to my love and best friend that I have known for over eleven years. Also, I have a new niece who is growing up so fast and she is not even a year old yet.

I wish everyone has a happy holiday and a new year. Thank you all so much for reading my blog posts this year and in past years. I am looking forward to what is in store for 2020!

Buona fina e buon principio!

Relevant Posts:

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2019/01/10/a-new-year-what-needs-to-be-accomplished-in-the-museum-field/

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2019/09/05/aaslh2019-conference-recap/

A New Year: What Needs to be Accomplished in the Museum Field

Added to Medium, January 10th, 2019

We are in the new year and this is the time of year when we figure out what and how we will accomplish our goals and resolutions. Museum professionals, especially myself, develop personal and professional goals. For museum professionals to accomplish the goals and resolutions, there are a number of considerations to be addressed and utilized specific with the goals and resolutions developed.

One of my goals for 2019, for example, are to gain and develop my skills as a leader in the museum education field. To accomplish this goal, I hope to take more courses and other professional development programs that will help myself move forward in my career. At the beginning of my career, I have developed skills as a museum educator. After a number of years in the field, I knew that in order to move forward I need to gain and develop new skills to challenge myself and make more impacts on the museums I work for and the field in general. Within the past few years, I focused more on professional development programs and courses, and sought opportunities that focus on administration, leadership, program development, and other related opportunities. I recently completed a course through the AASLH’s online program called Small Museum Pro!, and in the course Museum Education and Outreach I work through the basics of museum education, how to implement programming, training staff, and partnering with the community for outreach. For 2019, I will continue to seek similar professional development programs and opportunities to accomplish my career goals.

I have come across a number of blog posts I have come across reveal examples of what museum professionals should do to accomplish their goals. In a recent Leadership Matters blog post written by Joan Baldwin, she explained what museum professionals should contemplate to move readers’ careers forward. Baldwin pointed out in “It’s January: A Natural Time to Change-up Your Museum Career” that we are the ones in control of our careers, and it is up to us to make the changes we need to be happy in their career. According to Baldwin, there are a number of considerations both staff and leaders should consider for 2019:

So…if you work for an individual you suspect may have no clue about your day-to-day work life, much less your career, here are some things you may want to contemplate.

1. If you don’t already have a standing appointment with your boss, make one.

2. Outline your day, hour-to-hour, and quantify percentages so you (and your boss) can see how much of your time is spent on what.

3. Talk about prioritizing. Maybe you do a lot of nice things–maybe you’re the person who cleans out the volunteer break room or restocks the education space–and it’s nice, but you’re underutilized. You do it because others don’t, but it means you’re not doing things nearer and dear to your heart or your job description. And if you’re underutilized, you may be busy, but you’re likely not happy or challenged.

4. Evaluate whether you’re reactive or proactive. Talk with your boss about how that could or should change. Own your goals and push for them.

And if you’re a leader, think about:

1. How you communicate. Are tasks poorly executed because what staff heard was mushy and confusing? Do you ever ask “Did I explain that well enough?”

2. Listen to your staff. Watch for signs of distress. Is one job full of responsibility but no authority? Does everything have to be checked with a higher power–like you? Are other staff showing signs of boredom? Are deadlines met in five seconds?

3. Check-in often. Remember, check-ins don’t have to be formal. You can check-in in the hall or an office doorway, but they need to be meaningful. You need to have the time to focus and remember what your last conversation was about.

4. Set deadlines and keep them. Is there a sense they matter because it will take your staff about a nanosecond to realize if deadlines don’t matter to you, they don’t need to matter to them.

5. Know whether your staff is challenged or not. A recent study by Salary.com showed that more than 50-percent of employees were either not challenged or bored at work so ask yourself whether you really know what’s going on.

Both staff and leaders need to re-evaluate how they approach their responsibilities to take control of their work and open communication between both parties. This will hopefully help resolve issues and situations that create tensions within the workplace.

Another example I found is from Ed Rodley’s “Museum Challenges for 2019” on the Thinking About Museums website. Rodley collected tweets from Twitter responding to his question about what the biggest issues facing people making museum experiences in 2019. In his post, he revealed that

If I had to sum up the responses in a single statement, it would seem that you think the challenges museums face in 2019 are the following:

In a world where the global context includes existential threats like climate change and large scale social unrest, it can be a real struggle to fight the malaise and find balance, especially in a field that offers low pay for most, expects overwork to be the norm, and creates scarcity of time and resources. Exacerbating that, museum organizational culture is conservative and ill-suited to the needs and wants of audiences and employees in the current century.

We are our own worst enemies some times, and continually reinvent the wheel and perpetuate ways of doing our work that are destructive to staff and creativity. Methods and models exist in the world that could be inspirations for new ways of being a museum, but they’ll require vision and systems thinking.

I think the previous summary is accurate to what is currently happening in the museum field. We need to be able to address larger issues such as climate change but because we have so many issues going on within our own field the actions we take to addressing larger issues lead to slower processes in resolving issues. The question we all should be asking ourselves is: How are we going to address our own issues in the museum field to accomplish our goals? We need to open up communication among one another to address them and move forward to resolve them.

The Leadership Matters blog also shared their wishes for the museum field to resolve issues within the museum field. In the “It’s A New Year” blog, they shared their 2019 wish list:


o For the American Alliance of Museums [AAM] and the American Association of State & Local History [AASLH] to join forces to combat sexual harassment in the museum/heritage organization workplace.

o For museums, their boards and leadership to lead the non-profit world in closing the gender pay gap.

o For museum and heritage organization boards to commit to spending a minimum of two meetings a year on why they do what they do, what it means, and how to be better leaders.

o For museums, their boards and leadership to work toward eliminating tokenism, bias, and stereotyping throughout the hiring process.

o For AAM & AASLH to follow the lead of the American Library Association and pass a living wage resolution.

These items on the list are important for all museum professionals, museum associations, and museums to be talking about and taking action to make the changes we need to make to move museums forward in the 21st century. The items on Leadership Matters’ wish lists should be on every museum professionals’ wish list so we can accomplish our individual career goals. To accomplish what is on this wish list, again we need to open up communication, and we need to educate ourselves on the issues to change things within the museum field.

What are your goals or resolutions for 2019? How are you going to accomplish your goals?

Resources:

https://thinkingaboutmuseums.com/2019/01/07/museum-challenges-for-2019/

https://aaslh.org/programs/continuing-education/online-courses/

https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/its-january-a-natural-time-to-change-up-your-museum-career/

https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/its-a-new-year/

Moving Forward in 2019 for Museum Education

Added to Medium, December 20, 2018

This past year has flown by so quickly and a lot has happened in both my career and in the museum field. For instance, I have written the 100th blog post, and I am thankful for everyone who has read and commented on the blog. With the rest of the Education Committee at the Three Village Historical Society, I completed the revamp of the docent manual and we are preparing for a docents’ appreciation luncheon to thank the docents and go over the new manual. Also, I completed an online course through the American Association for State and Local History on Museum Education and Outreach.

The course is part of the AASLH’s Small Museum Pro! Certificate program, a professional certificate program for history practitioners who work or would like to work, in small local museums. This course’s main theme is about how museum educators can facilitate visitors’ meaningful and memorable experiences in the informal environments of museums. During the eight weeks for the course, myself and other participants worked through the basics of museum education, how to implement programming, training staff, and partnering with the community for outreach. By the end of the course, we were able to:

describe the characteristics and learning needs of various museum audiences

summarize what we know about learning in museums

assess the strengths and weaknesses of interpretive techniques and program approaches

utilize a system for planning, operating, and evaluating museum educational programs

access resources to assist you in future development of effective learning experiences

Some of the topics that we went over for each week include Interpretation Strengths, Weaknesses, and Best Practices, Education Program Planning, Management, and Evaluation, Community Partners and Funding, Leading Staff and Volunteers, and Action Plan for Future Programming at your Museum. After completing the course, I felt that taking this course not only helped strengthen the skills I have as a museum educator but I also gained new techniques and advice on how to proceed with developing and implementing educational programs. This course has provided a number of opportunities to discuss with other class participants ideas based on our experiences and give each other advice.

The museum field has also made some progress and I hope we continue to make progress in the next year. Museum professionals discussed the importance of self-care for all museum professionals especially for museum educators. As we come to the end of the year, a number of museum professionals are continuing the discussion about self-care. For instance, on the Leadership Matters blog, Joan Baldwin wrote in her post “Museum Women: Take Care of Yourselves” on what female museum professionals should think about moving forward into the new year. Baldwin listed five things to think about which are

1. You need to take care of yourself. You, your family, and your friends will all benefit from a happier, healthier you.

2. Put your health first. Somehow women don’t. It’s something embedded in our DNA that says, I can do this. My temperature is only 101. I haven’t pick one: (thrown up, cried, coughed up a lung) for at least an hour. No you can’t. Stay home. Ask for help. Take care of yourself.

3. Give yourself some alone time. Even if it’s only a short walk in the middle of a work day, take time alone. Let your thoughts settle. Regroup.

4. My mother used to have a little note near her phone. This was the era of landlines so the phone never moved. The note said, “Say no.” I thought it was hysterical, but in retrospect, we all should have that note. It’s your internal monitor that says, I don’t have time, energy or the skillset to do that. (It also might say, I’m not going to enable you, you do it.) It’s a learned skill to say no nicely, and not to judge yourself for bowing out.

5. Make a tiny change. Promise yourself that in the coming year you will do something different that’s just for you. Don’t make it so grandiose that it feels impossible, make it doable. Try a new recipe once a month. Walk every day that it’s sunny. Read a poem before bed. Whatever floats your boat and is for you.

While these can be applied to all museum professionals, museum women especially need to think about this because according to reports listed in Baldwin’s post they are more likely to work harder and spend less time on taking care of themselves. There is also more discussion about low salaries and equity within the museum.

A number of museum associations are requiring museums who want to post available jobs to list salary information to create more equitable opportunities for job seekers in the museum field. Also, more people are talking about the consequences of giving museum workers low salaries as evident in Seema Rao’s post Giving Tuesdays and Low Salaries in Museums. I have also given my own thoughts about low salaries in the museum field in one of my previous posts reacting to Rao’s post. While having discussions about raising salaries and creating equitable workplaces is important, more action to make them a reality needs to continue to move the museum field forward and we should take more action each year.

Also, the American Alliance of Museums announced that last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The IMLS supports all types of museums in their work to educate students, preserve and digitize collections, and connect with their communities. Reauthorization of IMLS means that there is support for the agency’s programs and a renewed commitment to its funding. Advocacy for museums do not end as long as there is progress to be made in the museum field. As I think about the past year, my thoughts naturally turned to what I want to accomplish next year.

I hope to continue to develop my skills as a museum professional, and to gain more experience in the field to provide more influence on progress for museums. By progressing to a more managerial role, I would be able to effect change on a higher level. In addition to my professional life, I am looking forward to getting married this upcoming March and spending more time with family.

Happy Holidays to you all! Happy New Year!

Because next week is Christmas, I will not post a new blog post for that week but I will be back to share with you an updated list of books I want to read in 2019.

In the meantime, I would like to hear from you: What would you like to accomplish for the new year?

Resources:

https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2018/12/17/museum-women-take-care-of-yourselves/

Our Museum Plans for 2018

Added to Medium, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year! I am back to writing more on this blog after taking time to celebrate the holidays and work on holiday activities with museum visitors. We are officially in 2018, and there is so much to hope to accomplish this year in museums.

For instance, I hope to continue molding my skills as a museum education professional and help my field become a more inclusive field. With the museum field continuing to grow, we learn from one another about how we can serve our communities and help our colleagues fulfill their personal and professional goals. I am thankful to all of you who have continued to read my blog posts, and reading what I have to say about the field.

We all gather together in person and online to share what we learned in the field, and it is important to work together to move the museum field forward. Many museum professionals have been discussing their wishes and resolutions for 2018.

For instance, there are museum professionals that expressed their wish to dedicate time to read more books in the field. In the Sustainable Museums blog, they talked about one of the books that are written about the future of museums.

The author did a short book review of The Future of Natural History Museums, edited by Eric Dorfman and published by Routledge for the International Council of Museums (ICOM). According to the blog post, The Future of Natural History Museums takes a look at “where natural history museums have been, are right now, and may rightly go if their staff and leaders are courageous enough to venture forth in the manner humanity requires.” While this book is for and about natural history museums, the arguments presented in the book can be easily widen to all types of museums since it is our responsibility as a field to provide research and discussion about what we all can do to preserve our planet’s future.

Other museum professionals also focus on what we can do as a museum community to continue to improve visitors awareness of what we offer.

On the Wilkening Consulting website, Susie Wilkening pointed out what museums need to do based on the survey results from the 2017 Annual Survey of Museum Goers. She revealed that we have to do much better identifying extrinsic motivations for learning, meeting those needs, and articulating them in our promotional materials. Also, Wilkening stated that museums need to be able to express their practical impact in the community. In other words, museums should find out how museums philosophically matter to people in the community not just as an assessment tool. She argued that museums are likely to open more minds, cultivate compassion and empathy, and create connection and community.

Creating a connection with the community can also include working on establishing the museums relationship with colleges and universities.

In the article “Imagining What Museums Might Become” written by Seph Rodney, they wrote about a multifaceted conversation on the future of museums that took place at the CUNY Graduate Center, and noted some of the contrasting and competing visions for what the museums might become. According to the article, the CUNY Graduate Center hosted a discussion on the Next Generation of Museums answering questions of that museums can be and what they should be.

The four panelists Ken Arnold, Svetlana Alpers, Jeff Levine, and D. Graham Burnett approached the question from distinct, and sometimes opposed, vantage points, according to the article. Each panelists shared their perspectives in the museum field, and gave their opinions on cultivating the relationship between museums and universities.

Ken Arnold, who is the director of the Medical Museion in Coopenhagen and creative director at the Welcome Trust in London, gave a presentation that argued “museums can provide wider audiences and can mount deeper and more well-researched exhibitions when partnered with a university.”

Meanwhile Svetlana Alpers, a professor emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, stated that she wasn’t entirely sure “the new generation of institutions are indeed museums at all.” She explained her perspective, which mainly is from an object-based background, using historical examples including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to talk about how museums were once havens for learning craft (such as weaving) to contrast them with new institutions such as The Shed (New York’s first multi-arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture), which seem structured as platforms for a variety of types of social, intellectual, and playful interactions.

This article presented interesting perspectives that are worth continuing the discussion. Museums have so much to offer to our audiences and visitors need to be more aware of what we offer.

Museum professionals have also express the importance of not only taking care of our relationships with our communities but we also need to maintain our relationship between our museums and the staff/boards that work within them.

Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin’s Leadership Matters blog discussed their wishes for 2018 in the museum field. Some of the wishes they expressed in their post include:

Museums commit to an open, fair, equitable hiring process; that they cease posting jobs without posting salaries, and that they stop insisting on a graduate degree for every position.

Museums make time to hit pause, to plan, to think big, fight mediocrity and encourage community engagement. Consider how you will nourish creativity among your staff.

All museums articulate their organizational values and figure out tangible ways to live by them….every day. Doing so will keep them agile and responsive.

That museums remember that empathy isn’t just for the visiting public; it belongs in the workplace and boardroom too.

These are wishes I also have for our field in 2018. I expressed similar wishes in one of my previous blog posts about the new year, and I reiterate here that if we help museums improve as a workplace we will be more effective within the community.

Even at the beginning of the new year we delve into serious topics in the museum field we need to address. Since it has been announced that The Met is changing their admissions policy that will be instated on March 1st, there has been discussion about ticket fees for visitors to access museums’ exhibits and programs among the museum professionals. This decision has made us take a look at our own museums and evaluate what works for our financial operations. There is no one simple answer for every museum since we are all different museums that operate in various ways. I will continue this discussion in next week’s blog but this is a thought that we need to keep in mind as we make resolutions for our museums.

What are your hopes for your museums or organization in 2018?

Resources:
https://sustainablemuseums.blogspot.com/2018/01/start-new-year-with-intellectual-bang.html?spref=tw
http://www.wilkeningconsulting.com/datamuseum/conclusions6
https://leadershipmatters1213.wordpress.com/2018/01/02/looking-forward-leadership-matters-wishes-for-2018/
https://hyperallergic.com/417976/imagining-what-museums-might-become/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=sw

Reflections on Museum Education in 2017

Added on Medium, December 21, 2017

2018 is quickly approaching, and I have been thinking about what has been accomplished in the museum field in 2017. I looked back on blog posts I have written about what I anticipated for 2017, and there has been new developments that I did not anticipate but I am proud of what I have accomplished and I look forward to what the next year has in store.

There are some examples I list here but are not limited to of what I have accomplished this year in my professional career so far are what I am especially proud of.

I started working with the Maritime Explorium, a children’s science museum on Long Island. Since I started there, I not only worked on museum programming and museum education programming I began work on administration tasks to assist in running the museum. An example of a program I work in is a pre-school program, Little Sparks, which allows children to play while learning STEM lessons.

I began working with an Education Committee at the Three Village Historical Society to assist in revamping school programs and docent manual. In addition to researching for the programs and manual, I observed an education program delivered at a high school to see what can be improved on.

I have written this blog for over a year now, and it continues to be a learning experience I enjoyed. So many of you have expressed your views and opinions on the topics I introduced. Many also have shared the posts I made to help continue the discussion, and I am very grateful to all of you who read and share them.

There is more I still need to accomplish in my professional career but I am proud of how far I came. I hope to keep moving forward in my career and help the field continue to grow.

The museum field has been moving forward as well. While we still have a long way to go, our work as museum professionals showed the community we are working towards being more relevant. Also, we have been more vocal on things that we need to work on as a field especially equity, diversity, and how to have better working conditions to encourage individuals to stay in the field. There has been so many things that have happened this year for museum professionals.

Museum professionals, especially in the past few months, have been discussing what the future would be like for museums. Not only have museum professionals discussed the future of museums on American Alliance of Museums Alliance Labs and Museum magazine but many other museum blogs and websites continue the discussion as well. I recently came across the Museum Id magazine website, an international magazine which shares progressive thinking and developments in museums globally.

According to their website, Museum Id is an influential magazine and global conference for museum professionals since 2009. It is dedicated to serving the international museum community and is designed for museum professionals interested in a more innovative and open approach to professional inquiry and development.

The Museum Id magazine features a collection of various articles about the future of museums called the #FutureMuseum Project (I included the link in the Resources section below).

Some of the titles that were shared in the #FutureMuseum Project include Increasing Diversity And Helping To Establish A Sense of Ownership; Not Just A Building, But Building Community; Collaboration And Well-Being; Agile, Accessible, And Distinct; Engaging Audiences More Deeply; Retaining Their Sense of Public Service; and Museums As Young Learner’s Classrooms.

Each of the articles focus on museums working towards making their institutions more accessible to its audiences as well as more engaging within the community. The articles were written by museum professionals who contributed to the project by writing the short articles and sending them to the magazine via email.

As a field, we continue to work together to improve our museums and our communities. We also need to be reminded to be thankful for the museum colleagues we work with, for our visitors who come to use our resources and participate in our programs, and the community partners that we collaborate with to work towards making our communities better places to be in. I am proud to be working in this field, and I hope we continue to make progress in the New Year.

I decided that this would be the last blog post for the year 2017 because I will be spending time with family for Christmas and running children’s activities to celebrate the New Year. I will be updating my website with more resources I came across to help other museum, non-profit, and education professionals. I look forward to what is in store for 2018.

What are your personal and/or professional resolutions for the New Year? Do you have anything your institution is doing that you are looking forward to?

To those who are celebrating, Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Resource:
http://museum-id.com/the-futuremuseum-project-what-will-museums-be-like-in-the-future-essay-collection/

What Museums Hope For 2018

Added to Medium, December 14, 2017

As 2018 approaches, I have been thinking more about what I hope the museum field will accomplish in this upcoming new year. What I hope for 2018 as a museum professional is to have an improved work environment in the museum community and continue our work to have more inclusive accessible museum programming. We need to continue to remember we are a changing society and our practices need to reflect our communities wishes to remain relevant.

Museum professionals especially throughout social media such as Twitter have been thinking about what they hope for 2018. On Twitter, there is a hashtag being shared: #museumtrends2018. There has been a lot of discussion about what the future of museums can be, and I hope we can make the changes and adaptations needed to continue to collaborate within our communities and around the world.

American Alliance of Museums magazine, Museum, has recently discussed about the future of museums in their most recent edition, Museum 2040. I previously discussed this edition in a previous blog post “Creating an Environment-Friendly World with Museums” which focused on the museums encouraging our communities to work towards a more environmentally friendly world. While this edition of Museum magazine was written as if we are in the year 2040, the information presented in the magazine can inspire museum professionals to take actions that would help create an environment-friendly community. Our world continues to change, and museums as well as any institution also need to recognize this change and learn how to change with it.

We need to consider changes we need to make on a personal and professional level as well to help ourselves be in a healthy environment. Many museum professionals have gathered together to think about what we want to work towards in 2018. Seema Rao posted a survey last month on Twitter asking museum professionals what trends we are most likely working towards for 2018.

According to the survey results, the themes for 2018 trends in museum education are equity and inclusion, workplace issues, and visitor-centered experiences. Some of the trends in the equity and inclusion include fostering relevance, social justice, and museum ethics. Workplace issues in the survey results include money, jobs, and stress. The visitor-centered experiences shared in the results include digital experiences, skill development, and student and family programs.

When I read about the survey results, I was not surprised to see these main themes and trends for 2018. Each of these themes are especially important for the museum professional community who continue to find ways to make their institutions relevant to our continuously changing society. We are recognizing that our society is more politically correct than when museums first appeared in our nation, and we understand that we need to reflect this in our staff, board, and museum practices.

It is particularly hard for many museum professionals to stay in the field in its current work condition. Since we are discussing this more in recent months I hope for our field that we continue this discussion and work on making the changes we need to fulfill our personal and professional expectations for our museum work.

Our work in the museum also needs to adapt to our visitors and potential visitors needs for an engaging museum experience. As technology continues to make advances, museums try to adapt to these changes by creating digital programs that allow more opportunities to interact with museums’ collections and narrative.

The survey continued with more specific results that revealed we are most likely not going to see immediate results within the next five years.

Rao pointed out that museum education in 2018 would like to offer visitors a high-quality, inclusive experiences but feel real challenges in order to do so like funding and training. Also, survey respondents indicated that museum educators do not foresee that the problems in the field will improve in the next five years since there were real concerns about balancing technology and collections-based experiences and there were also real fears about challenges for the future in terms of funding and staffing.

Current conditions in our field such as the lack of proper funding and training do prevent us from providing high-quality and inclusive experiences. We continue to argue our case for museums needs to have appropriate funding during Museum Advocacy Days, and by continuing our discussion on these days in Washington D.C. each year we increase awareness as well as inspire measures to increase funding.

I do not believe that all of the challenges we face as museum educators will be resolved overnight. If we continue to plead our case and continue this discussion, we would be able to work towards having better experiences in addition to sufficient funding and staffing. Since we do not know how much we can accomplish at this moment, we also see what survey participants say could be trends in 2022.

Museum educators, according to Seema Rao, pointed out in the survey that there was a greater disparity in themes for the 2022 trends since predicting so far out is more challenging. For 2022, the museum education field would perhaps be facing possible obsolescence, increasing equity, developing engaging experiences, and changes in technology.

It is hard to predict what may happen a few years down the road but I can see our museum community continue to work towards making museums more relevant in a changing society. I look forward to finding out what we accomplish in the upcoming year and I hope that museums continue to work towards relevant programming as well as better working environment.

What do you hope for 2018? Do you have New Years resolutions for yourself professionally?

 

Resources:
https://medium.com/@steward.lindsey/creating-an-environment-friendly-world-with-museums-b2e0a7f77556
http://www.aam-us.org/resources/center-for-the-future-of-museums/museum-2040
https://brilliantideastudio.com/art-museums/museum-education-2018-trend-forecast/

The Future of Museum Education

Originally posted on Medium. January 5, 2017.

2017! It has been a few days since it has officially become the new year, and it has been so far so good. Everyone around this time of year hopes to start accomplishing their new year’s resolutions and I am no exception. To start the new year, I am going to be fulfilling my resolutions to be a better person and a better professional. I always strive to be a better person but it is important to remind myself about the important things in life, and if we all strive to be better people I believe we can make the world a better place for the individuals we treat well. In addition to fulfilling personal resolutions for the new year, I have also been researching about the future of museum education and the trends of museums.

I read Trendswatch 2016 published by American Alliance of Museums Center for the Future of Museums. For each year, the American Alliance of Museums has written a guide for museums to help shape their futures based on cultural, political, and economic challenges by doing the following: monitoring cultural, technological, political, and economic trends that are significant for museums; assist with museums to share with their communities challenges that will be faced for decades to come; and builds connections between museums and other sectors in the country. Trendswatch 2016 is written about trends that occurred in 2015 to predict what may occur for 2016, and it discusses the future of jobs as well as the use of technology especially digital technology used in museums and the relationship between museums and identity. This report discusses the 2015 trends in five articles after introducing the guide as well as providing examples of how organizations could use the report.

The first article was written about labor continuing to be reshaped by technological, cultural, and economical changes in the United States; technological advances will continue to reshape the nature of work, culture, and our economy. The second article discusses the 25th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act being passed and hypothesizes what the next 25 years will be like for creating equity for all people in diverse states; advances in technology has allowed museums to expand the spectrum of human physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities. In the third article, it shares information about augmented reality and virtual reality technologies that hold promise and peril for museums and argues that if AR and VR experiences become widely accessible and affordable museums will need to sharpen their positions and value the proposition within their communities. The fourth article pointed out that museums have found themselves entangled in the struggle over representation, identity and material culture. The fifth article argues that it is important to remind ourselves to make us happy we need to measure how we feel rather than money by revealing that people as well as organizations are rebelling against the focus on finance to point out the government has fostered accumulation of wealth at the expense of health, sustainability, and wellbeing. If we redefine success to include not just cash, museums will have the capability to make sizable contributions to our communities.

While I read these articles, one question came to mind: What will Trendswatch 2017 look like when it is published? If I was writing about trends in Trendswatch 2017, I believe a lot of the trends introduced in the most current report would reveal they continue to develop in 2016 and then start discussing how museums would be effected by introducing the new presidential administration. Then I read about trends for museum education to help me foster and improve my knowledge of the field.

I read Building the Future of Education: Museums and the Learning Ecosystem, also published by the Center for the Future of Museums and published in September 2013, is a bunch of essays by educators, students, researchers, and reformers that explore how leaders from the worlds of education and museums to combine its assets to create ways to make education better for the future. Each essay reinforces the idea that it is important to help schools and education organizations see museums can tailor their educational programs to the needs of state and local curriculum standards. Also, the essays discuss possible futures for education including vibrant learning grid (all who care about learning create a personalized learning ecosystem to meet the needs of all learners) and a fractured landscape (families who have the time, money, and resources to customize or supplement their learning experience have access to learning that adapts to their needs). They also emphasize the need to allow students to work on projects that are related and adapted to the real world of museums, businesses, organizations and communities.

It is important to figure out the future of museums and museum education all staff members need to emphasize the significance museums have in our communities now. What do you think about where education is going in our country?

New Year’s Resolutions in Museum Education Field for 2017

Originally posted on Medium. December 30, 2016.

All museum educators, including myself, strive to improve our programs for the people we teach and ourselves as educators. 2016 was an interesting year for me as a museum educator. I transferred from historic house museums in Connecticut to New York to work at the Long Island Museum; I started working there and found out that it was not the right fit. Afterwards, I ended up doing some work for various historical organizations including the Long Island Maritime Museum. With each year I have had as a museum educator, I gained experiences that help me to become a better educator and museum professional. At the Long Island Museum, I learned new skills that I have never had before.

For instance, before I started there I educated the children and the rest of the public in various programs focused on eighteenth and nineteenth century Connecticut history; later in my career, I started work with colleagues at Connecticut Landmarks to improve the quality of the visitor experience by researching a theme introduced in the interpretive framework. When I started at the Long Island Museum I learned about how education programs for audiences such as schools, Alzheimer’s patients, and public programs were booked; I had the opportunity to schedule and supervise docents for school programs; wrote introductions for presenters in Arts & Alzheimer’s Conference and helped run the Arts & Alzheimer’s Conference; and collaborate with the education and communications department on promotional flyers for education programs, then I was responsible for mailing them to the county libraries. These are some of the examples I have done at the Long Island Museum, and I am thankful for the experiences I have gained because I learned a lot more about the field including the difference between how historic house museums and larger American Alliance of Museums-accredited museums are run. As I began work with the Long Island Maritime Museum, I also learned more about the museum field.

When I discovered the Long Island Maritime Museum, I acknowledged that I had limited knowledge about maritime history and thought that it would be an enlightening experience for me. I was not disappointed. My first experience at the LIMM was assisting school groups go to each station to learn about boats and boat building, the oyster business in an actual Oyster House, what life was like as a bayman inside the Bayman’s House, and lifesaving stories from storms, shipwrecks, and pirates. As I saw the kids invested in each station, the smiles on their faces reminded me of why I love being a museum educator in the first place; to get kids invested in what we teach them is a rewarding experience and to know we can make an impact on their learning experience gives me hope for future generations. Another experience I had was working on transferring collection information to digital databases by scanning books and photographs, and adding information from the Excel spreadsheets to the PastPerfect software. By looking through the photographs and information, I learned about the collections and the unique history of the local area. I also answer phone calls, and sell admissions and gift shop items; while I have done similar tasks in Connecticut, there are different procedures to learn and perform. I enjoy my time at the Long Island Maritime Museum so far because the staff is dedicated to working together to run the museum, and we enjoy our time together while we work. Being able to work together in a close community is what I value as a museum professional since each role in a museum is significant to keep a museum running. I hope to apply the experiences I have gained and the lessons I learned to my current and future endeavors.

This time of year, many people make lists of New Year’s resolutions they hope to accomplish in the new year, and museums and museum professionals are no exception. My New Year’s resolutions include developing my skills as an educator and improving my knowledge of museum administration. I participate in professional development programs as well as utilize resources museum organizations including American Alliance of Museums and New York City Museum Educators Roundtable provide. I also am researching online programs that provide information on museum administration. Also, I continue to utilize my growing experiences at places like the Long Island Maritime Museum. 2016 became a year of big changes for me, in more ways than one, that have opened my eyes to many opportunities to grow as a person and a museum professional. Let’s see what 2017 has in store for all of us especially museum professionals.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Whether they are personal or professional, it is important to have goals to help you become a better person and professional.

To all of you who have been reading my blog posts so far, thank you so much! It really means a lot to me to see so many people have an interest in what I have to say. I have read and responded to all the replies you have made, and I am glad to hear all of your insights on topics I have written about. I am also happy to hear that there are people who have been inspired by what I write about, and have supported me as I continue to use my voice in the field. For those who have just started reading my posts, welcome and thank you for reading! If there is something you want more insight on or want my perspective on, please let me know. Expect more blog posts in the upcoming year. Happy New Year!!