Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where I've Been

So much has been going on with me lately that I haven't had time to blog.

I spent most of March getting three presentations ready for the Arkansas Museum Association Annual Meeting. Then at the end of the month I traveled to Jonesboro and gave my presentations. Based on the feedback they went really well. I was also elected to the AMA board as the representative for District 3.

April was spent in research mode for the music exhibit that I'm in charge of, as well as catching up on reading AMA information and attending my first board meeting.

May went in a flash. I narrowed down photos and audio excerpts from oral history interviews for the music exhibit and worked on a big project securing release forms for older interviews that the museum has. I also tallied the votes for the music exhibit. . .did I mention that we let the public vote on what artifacts we will use in the exhibit. And I attended my second AMA board meeting where we made a lot of progress on the professional development workshops that AMA will be sponsoring for the year.

June and July feel like they have been squashed together. I celebrated my birthday. I helped with our two history camps that we had at the museum. Our museum finally got permission from the city to be on Facebook. Our education coordinator and I submitted a session proposal to AAM. And I've started organizing the panel session on social media that will be presented at SEMC in Baton Rouge this October. At the beginning of the month I attended the Arkansas Educator's Technology Conference and had a great time hanging out with the teachers that also attended.

Out of all of this there have been two stand out projects. One is the music exhibit. Exhibits are always a labor of love and you constantly question if the public is going to like what you produce. However, I haven't worried as much about that with this exhibit since we had the public vote on what artifacts they wanted to see. At this point I'm in the process of designing the physical layout of the exhibit and it is such a creative process. I see the light at the end of tunnel and now I'm so anxious to finally get to share this exhibit with the public, but I still have to wait until October.

The other stand out project has been securing release forms for the older oral history interviews that we have in our collection. I freely admit at times it is a headache. Unfortunately, a number of the interviewees have passed away. I've been spending a lot of time researching on the Internet and wading through obits to find the next of kin. Sometimes it is very frustrating. Sometimes you hunt down an obit just to find out that the next of kin has passed away too. However, there is this wonderful feeling when it all works out and then you get that phone call from the next of kin. "I didn't even know they had given an interview. Is there any way I can hear it?" Even sweeter is when you get that second follow-up phone call. It's often a soft, watery voice on the other end, but then sentiment is always the same, "Thank you for giving me back my loved one." Those are the days I live for and that's why I love my job.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Resolution Update

So at New Year's I made the resolution to read all the books in my house that I've bought and just haven't got around to reading yet. I thought the number was 31, but then I went around my house and gathered them all up. The final count was 55!

By January 18 I was down to 47. Mostly I was catching up on souvenir books I had bought on recent trips, but also finishing the multiple books I was trying to read at once. Then I started hitting some mysteries.

Is there anything better than a good mystery? My love of mysteries started with the late, great Rex Stout, author of the beloved Nero Wolfe mysteries. Then my mother-in-law got me hooked on Janet Evanovich. I love her Stephanie Plum books the best. Then there were the Bed & Breakfast Mysteries of Mary Deheim. Then a friend got me hooked on the Heather Wells mysteries by Meg Cabot. Most recently my mother-in-law introduced me to the Callie Parrish mysteries by Fran Rizer. I'm not sure what I would do without a retired librarian as a mother-in-law.

I was a little "bad" at the end of January when I actually bought a few books on my trip to Jekyll Island. I couldn't help it, they told the history of the island and had fabulous historic photos. To my credit I read them on the plane on the way back.

It's now toward the end of February. I'm down to 43 books. I've decided to take a break from the mysteries and in honor of St. Patrick's day I'm concentrating on the books about the Celtics and Ireland. The first is Celtic Inspirations and the second is Cultural Traditions in Northern Ireland. I have no doubt that reading these will put me right in the mood to show my green on March 17.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Obviously, I did not blog every day I was on Jekyll Island. But I don't think I can be blamed. I was immersed for a week with 14 other fabulous museum professionals. Every day was filled with intense, but fun, brainstorming and learning.

There were 16 sessions total. Covering everything from working with boards, strategic planning, fundraising, working with volunteers, exhibits, interpretation, disaster planning, collections planning, collections management, ethics, leadership styles, time management, PR and more.

Frankly, after a day of classes I was too tired to blog about it once I got back to the hotel. So I'll just use this post to share the highlights.

My favorite class was Public Relations and Marketing because I've never had much experience with it. The instructor was Lisa Littlefield from Oglethorpe University. If you ever have the chance to see her present, do it. She is so funny and personable. She really impressed me because she shared her success stories and her failures.

I did have some personal time while I was on Jekyll Island. It was lovely taking walks on the beach. The historic houses were beautiful. The bookstore was charming. The geocaching was fun. And the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is awesome, a truly not to be missed venue. I can't wait to go back to Jekyll Island for vacation with my family.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This week I'm attending an 8 day museum management institute on Jekyll Island. Today was just the first day and although it was mainly welcome speeches and getting to know each other there was one session that was presented and I think it was a very interesting one.

The session was on management and leadership. I think the thing the presenter hit on the most for me was the difference in what it means to be a manager and what it means to be a leader. It was very interesting to quickly learn the differences in the two types of work that both positions fill. He'll be continuing the discussion in a second session tomorrow, so I'll speak more on it later.

Jekyll Island is beautiful and we were able to tour the historic district today. I highly encourage anyone to come out here if you ever get the chance. Georgia has laws that the island must remain 65% un-developed making it such a beautiful natural setting. Also every dollar spent on the island stays on the island and is re-invested in the upkeep of this wonderful little jewel.

My plan is to try to blog everyday about my experiences here at JIMI but the schedule is pretty rigorous so I may not be able to keep up.