Last week, a number of current and former Museum Studies students took part in a workshop put on by the Museum Studies Department and led by Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, President and CEO of the Abbe Museum. “The Art of Schmoozing” discussed networking beyond trying to get a job or making a conference more bearable. Networking helps you talk to potential (and current) donors, volunteers, and community members. Knowing how to speak intelligently and politely is important both professionally and personally (picture sitting at a dinner party and not knowing how to talk to the people around you).
Museum Studies Alum Jennifer Clifford (middle) practicing her networking with Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko (right). (Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Robinson)
While many of us panic at the sight of a crowded conference happy hour, and the prospect of talking to billionaires (should we be so lucky) can evoke anxiety, there are several small tricks that can help ease the nerves. Cinnamon imparted some of her own first-hand experiences with some of the following tips:
- Always introduce someone new to the whole group. It seems straightforward, but often someone joins a group conversation in the middle of a conversation. Rarely do people stop in the middle to say, “Oh by the way, this is my friend Colleen…” before continuing on. It’s awkward to halt the conversation, but it’s also awkward to be chatting with an unknown, unnamed stranger.
- To get out of a conversation, either make something up (“Oh you’ll have to excuse me, I need to check on the caterer”) or be straightforward but put the onus on you (“I’m sure there are lots of people you’d like to talk to tonight. I’m sorry for monopolizing your time. It was great to meet you. Thank you!”)
- To break into a group conversation, you can watch body language and wait for an opening (as long as you’re not lurking!), or you can interrupt very briefly and say, “I’m so sorry for interrupting, I just wanted to introduce myself and tell you that I loved your talk at NEMA. Would it be alright if I follow up with you later? I have some questions I’d like to ask you.” With any luck, you’ll get that person’s card and you can email them later.
Cinnamon’s presentation was frank and funny, and included tips on knowing how to work with people with different personality types (check out DiSC if you’re interested). Afterwards, participants were able to practice their new skills over wine and snacks.
Keep your eye out here and in the Museum Studies newsletter for further fun workshops!
Museum Conversations: Curating Data/Challenging History
Monday, April 11, 2016, 6:30pm
Northwest Building, B-103, 52 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA
Fred Wilson, artist and Laura Kurgan, Associate Professor of Architecture, Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation, and Director of the Center for Spatial Research and of the Visual Studies curriculum, Columbia University
In this year’s seminar on innovative curatorial practice, Laura Kurgan of Columbia University and artist Fred Wilson will, from different perspectives, reflect on their work to reimagine how museum exhibits present information, often by juxtaposing the unexpected to create new insights. Their short presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion.
Public Lecture. Free and open to the public.
Co-sponsored by the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture and the Harvard Art Museums as part of the Harvard Museums’ Seminar on Innovative Curatorial Practice
REGISTER NOW FOR THE VISITOR STUDIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
July 19-23, Hyatt Regency Boston
With 14 in-depth workshops ranging from introductory statistics to data visualization and reporting, over 45 presentations of papers, roundtables, and think tanks, and keynote speakers from across the fields of data visualization and data science, the 2016 VSA conference will not disappoint! Check out the conference schedule of events and the workshops offered.
In addition to a robust schedule of sessions, workshops, and keynote speakers, The Data Revolution will offer space for both the discussion of innovative uses of data, presentation of new findings and methods, as well as opportunities to reflect on the purpose and utility of current data collection, analysis, and visualization techniques and the ethical and practical issues around collecting and sharing data on audiences.
Register NOW at the cheapest rate. The early bird registration pricing is available for two months, but don’t delay, as workshops have limited space available.
Worried about Boston housing being too expensive? VSA is offering a forum for all attendees to find a roommate.
Today’s post was written by Ken Turino, Manager of Community Engagement and Exhibitions at Historic New England, and a Tufts professor. Ken is currently co-instructor of the Tufts courses Exhibition Planning and Revitalizing Historic House Museums. Here he offers insights to career development and shares stories from his own fascinating path.
Over the years, I have found networking to be a great way to stay in touch with classmates, colleagues, and Tufts students. You often don’t know where these connections may take you so it is important to keep them up. Thirty-four years after completing graduate school, I am still in touch with my professor, the head of the Museum Education Program at George Washington University and over the years she has served as a reference for me and we have co-written an article together for History News, gotten together at conferences, and socialized. These many years later I am still in close contact with several of my classmates (we rented a castle together in Scotland for a big birthday two summers ago). Over the years, we have offered each other support and advice. Some have left the field but our experience together has bonded us, and we have used each other as consultants for projects, sounding boards, and served as references for each other.
It is also important to keep up your further education which leads you to new contacts. In my case, the contacts I made while attending The Seminar for Historic Administration, led many years later to my current job at Historic New England. One of my GW classmates and I participated in the seminar and I became friendly with one of the faculty, Bill Tramposch. Subsequently, I had him speak for the Museum Education Roundtable in Washington, DC, and we kept up over many job changes in both our careers. I even visited him when he ran the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Subsequently, he came to Historic New England and asked me to come work with him to create an Exhibitions Program. Although I was director of my own museum, this was an opportunity I could not pass up on.
The point is these connections can lead you in many different paths but you have to keep them up and yes this takes effort but the benefits can be both personal and professional. I am happy to pass on job announcements, internship opportunities, etc. to my friends, colleagues and students. You should too. I have found our museum community particular warm and inviting. So go to the national and regional conferences and talk with people, keep up with your professors and classmates, take seminars and make new acquaintances. All are a great way to make new connections and keep up older acquaintances. It paid off for me.
The Museum of Science in Boston is hosting a webinar event to watch the AAM series on accessibility (see below for more information). The event will be followed by a talk based on the information. Check out below if you’re interested in joining!
Stories of Inclusion: Inclusive Practices at Cultural Institutions
The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), in collaboration with the Coalition to Advance Learning in Archives, Libraries and Museums is planning a three-part webinar series on accessibility, Stories of Inclusion: Inclusive Practices at Cultural Institutions, scheduled for October 7, 14 and 28, 2015. The Museum of Science, Boston will be hosting a webinar “watch and talk” event from 1:30-4:30 in conjunction with this series. This is a great opportunity to bring local colleagues from museums, archives, libraries and the disability community together to share ideas, information and inspiration around this important topic. There is no cost to attend a local “watch and talk” event.
In this series, advocates and experts explore issues of accessibility and inclusion from the perspective of visitors, staff and facility or program users in museums, libraries, archives and other cultural institutions. Presenters and special guests in each webinar highlight case studies and examples of inclusive practice, addressing and responding to the first-hand stories of visitors with disabilities.
- October 7: ADA at 25 and Universal Design at Cultural Institutions
- October 14: Responding to Visitors who are Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, Blind or with Low Vision
- October 28: Responding to Visitors with Cognitive, Developmental and Emotional Disabilities
Each “watch and talk” event consists of:
- 30 minutes of pre-webinar check-in and networking
- 90-minute live webinar
- 60 minutes of post-webinar facilitated discussion or activity
RSVP for the Museum of Science, Boston “watch and talk” event HERE. The Museum Of Science is easily accessible by public transit and will provide complimentary parking for event attendees. Light refreshments will be served. Upon arrival, please check-in at the information desk.