A Public History Newbie's Thoughts on Everything and Nothing

Public History. Comments. Questions. Sarcasm. Maybe Some Hippie Rants.

A Learning Opportunity into Progress

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Yesterday was a learning curve, a positive one. As an employee of a small museum at that has sat by the wayside for many, many a year, (“there is a museum about tobacco in my town? What!? I never heard of it” ) I am learning about museums, nonprofits, inter-institute relations and negotiations by hands on experience.

In fact, many issues that are popping up are extraordinary for this particular museum because they have never been addressed before. In fact, I am stirring the metaphorical pot of ethics, relationships with the partnering Town Municipality, ect… and then cleaning up the splashes with the Board of Directors. We are becoming a new type of team as we set goals and work together through ugly conversations.

Constant conversation, a positive attitude (but don’t be fake either) and knowing what the heck you are talking about ahead of time matters.

So, the conversation on the table yesterday was about clarifying pay raises and assessments for staff (me, the current Curator/Director) through the Town.  While the matter has been talked about, this was an opportunity to make everything clear, and have documentation of the arrangement. The museum staff that the Board has hired, is then officially hired by the Town and is Town employee. The clarification needed, is that since the position’s salary is a donation to the Town provided by the Board of Directors, who is really eligible to assess staff goals and progress.?

The details of the conversation are certainly not for me to share but, I will share why this conversation is important. It has taught me how to communicate on behalf of the museum that I work for and the Board of Directors who comprise the Historical Society, to better serve as a liaison between the Town and them.

This also matters directly for my pay, and the pay of future museum staff. This sticky conversation was guide the two parties out of a grey area into the same page. My hope is that the future will be much easier for my future replacement with the team-work done now.


Author: greengoddesshistory

Public History Masters Student. Museum Director. Trail Runner. Gym Lover. Dove owner.

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