Sunday, June 8, 2008

Since I started this blog I have been tracking my readers which can get to be a little obsessive. It has confirmed my suspicion that they are all friends and family. So, thank you and hello again! I am right now only posting about once a week because of time and topic ideas. To tell you the truth there isn't much going on that might be of interest to you or anyone. Topic ideas are always welcome.

When I was thinking about what to write this week, I realized I have never fully explained what I do for a living. This would be a good week to do that. I sometimes share some articles on the Reader about my field, museum work, and you can see several now like The Salary Conundrum
Non Profit Leaders
Are Boards Failing Their Historic Sites

As a museum educator my job is to connect the visitor with the museum. This is usually done by translating the content of the museum (history, science, etc.) into exhibits, programs and field trips. As an administrator in museum education I have additional duties including managing staff, budgets and long-term plans. The size of the staff, budget and plans usually is in proportion to the size of the museum. I am currently working at a relatively small museum but with a national focus so it is further reaching than most small museums. We count traveling exhibits and on-line programs as part of what we do for visitors.

I began my week on Monday traveling on the Marc train to DC ($14 round trip, a deal) to attend the Smithsonian Affiliates conference. The conference was from Sunday to Tuesday but I only went on Monday. I attended a couple of sessions on planning programs and spoke with several people from Ohio, Montana, Arizona and other states. I also marketed our traveling exhibits as is my duty. After creating exhibits to travel across the country we have to sell these exhibits and we have to reach our income goals for these exhibits each year. I made some contacts I can use in one of my new projects which also makes my job easier. It was a long day but I love visiting DC and only wish I had time to see some museums. Speaking of, you do not want to visit museums with me (see Gettysburg post). I will pick it apart, especially if they have a guided tour. I can't help it, its what I do. And as a museum guide, when I see those museum professionals coming, I cringe.

Tuesday, I couldn't even concentrate because Obama was going to win the nomination and I couldn't wait. We were glued to the TV all evening for the returns and the speech. At one point I was on my computer and watching TV to get all the info available. The speech was truly amazing and exciting and when the Obamas did the "Dap" Mark exclaimed "Hey, that's what we do" and its true, we do that all the time. But apparently some people didn't like it. Speaking of museums, this brings up another interesting recent article, Museums: A Hotbed of Liberalism?

On Wednesday I gave some tours, as I do many days a week. We have volunteers sometimes but it often falls to me to help out here too. I really love giving tours, more now that I no longer have to wear an 1860's dress and corset to do it. Tours really depend on the teacher and the group so you never know if they will be good or really, really awful. As an administrator, I like getting feedback on the exhibits and the tour experience. It makes me a better advocate for visitors during the exhibit planning process and program planning. I also just love connecting with the kids, inspiring them and teaching them. It gets me out of my office, away from my computer and on my feet which is a nice change in the day.

On Thursday I was back on the Marc train to the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capitol headquarters for a vendor thank-you luncheon. This was important for me because we have a well established Girl Scout program and Girl Scout USA is undergoing some major changes to their mission and vision which will affect our current and new programs. I heard about all the changes, dropped off some current program info and talked with other museums about what they do for GS. This helps me to understand how our programs stack up, do we charge too much? Is the program too long? I had so many ideas in my head when I left I had to write a lot of notes.

I ended the week up against some deadlines for our Board of Visitors annual meeting next week. Once a year we have a weekend meeting/celebration for our BOV, volunteers from all over the country. We plan a party for them and try to open a new exhibit that weekend. So I had final details for exhibits to work out (only a week in advance, totally stressful!) and help to finalize party details like favors and entertainment.

As often happens, the week didn't end on Friday because we scheduled an outreach opportunity on Saturday at a local fair. We had a booth to provide an activity for kids and give out information to families to visit the museum. I worked the booth for 3 hours in the afternoon in 97 degree temperatures! Also my car doesn't have air conditioning and I didn't drink enough water so I got a headache and was very sweaty. Yuck.

We picked up our second week of CSA produce after I got home. We received more oregano, strawberries and asparagus and also received 2 kinds of peas. Yum!

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