Just reminding everyone that there will be a NEMA informal meetup at O’Connor’s Restaurant and Bar in Worcester next Monday.
4:00 – 6:00 p.m on Monday, January 24, directly following the Orphans in the Collections Workshop at the Higgins Armory.
Any Tufts students planning on going? Let us know, and we’ll coordinate for a carpool.
Next up in our series of know your professional organizations, we have a sub-category of last week’s featured organization: the AAM’s Emerging Museum Professionals.
Now, not all of you are just emerging. Some of you have been out there in the ranks for years. But even if you’re fully emergent, you can surely keep an eye on this group, because they do great things. (For that matter, the definition of an EMP is someone who’s been in the field for less than ten years.)
Look over the website – there are resources there for the national organization, such as the EMP blog, Facebook page, and listserv.
What you will find most helpful, however, is the local Boston group. It’s starting up again after a bit of a hiatus. Email the coordinator, Leslie Howard (BostonEMPs[at]gmail[dot]com) to be added to the email list, and you’ll be invited to terrific events like the upcoming highlights tour of the new MFA wing. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter, too.
There aren’t a lot of concrete benefits to becoming involved in the EMPs like there were for AAM. Think of the benefits for becoming involved as more intangible – meeting great people with your own interests who are all in the same boat, tapping in to a network of great minds who are about to go out and change the museum world. It’s a way to get in on the ground floor, as it were.
Today’s New York Times reports that a spanking new museum, Go Fish, is reaping criticism. Some residents think that the 14 million dollar institution in Georgia is a boondoogle; an out-of-scale extravagance for a poor state during a recession. Others defend the museum, explaining that it was built to lure tourism and lucrative fishing competitions (which had previously ignored Georgia)… and it is working.
This new museum reveals some of the underbelly tensions in the museum world. Many museum directors spend time trying to convince state purse-string holders that their institutions significantly contribute to luring tourism dollars. Aquariums, like sports arenas, have long been considered economic assets, and some cities have built them for the express purpose of drawing visitors to the area. So is Go Fish any different? Would people be complaining if it was a sports arena?
But perhaps Go Fish does cross that shifting line in the sand of inappropriateness. Maybe it is more like the Creation Museum, founded on ideology rather than a collection or an educational mission. Would it make a difference if this museum emerged from a fish-related collection? Or if it was dedicated to exploring environmental issues in Georgia’s waterways? Here’s one more test: would you work there if offered a job?
Remember our post a while back about skills every museo should have?
Well, one of them was grant writing. In that spirit, we’ll be talking about a few ways to educate yourself about writing grants. They may not be the flashiest, quickest way to fundraise, but they are an important piece of the puzzle. Being able to point to your resume and say “yes, I wrote and secured that grant to fund that program/conservation/collection assessment” is a great big plus for anyone seeking a job.
First up is The Foundation Center. This is a HUGE website and resource, and primarily exists to connect grantmakers with grant writers across the nonprofit field, not just museums. At its heart, the Foundation Center is a searchable database of all places you can find funding. It’s really so much more than that, though. The Center also provides research reports on all aspects of fundraising, and extensive training opportunities for those interested in learning more.
There are a few ways to get that training.
1) The Grantseeker Training Institute is the Center’s most comprehensive overview of how to set about finding, writing, and administering grants. It comes highly recommended. It’s a bit pricey, at $795 for a week of training, and is only offered in certain locations.
2) One-Day Training Sessions. These run about $195 per session, and are more tightly focused than the Training Institute. They’re also offered more widely – there are several coming up in Boston this spring.
3) Last, but most certainly not least: free webinars. Lots and LOTS of them, on all sorts of interesting and useful subjects. They’re 60 minutes each, and if you watch even a handful you will be well on your way to understanding all sorts of issues with grants, foundations, fundraising, and nonprofit management.