Mission Statements
Welcome to the Collections Caretaker e-Newsletter from Northern States Conservation Center. The newsletter is designed to bring you timely and helpful content that is pertinent to situations we all encounter in our museum and archives work. Feel free to let us know what topics you would like to see featured in Collections Caretaker or even contribute an article.
In This Issue

When a Mission is Like a Cake
Featured Course
February 2018 Online Courses
March 2018 Online Courses
Conferences and Meetings
When a Mission is Like a Cake
By Joan Baldwin
 
For the last month I've worked with a small local history organization. It is big
enough to employ a part-time staff member, own a building and a sizable collection, but small enough to suffer from too few resources and a certain amount of instability. Although it's located in a little community, where many people with an interest in history and historic preservation know one another, its current board is largely new to the organization. They are each passionate about their slice of the pie whether it is black history, archaeology, women's fashion, or early technology.
 
For years their mission was the classic "preserves, promotes and presents the history of" statement. Its blandness was used to respond to questions on grant applications and little more. Everyone believed they knew what it meant. Individually, their ideas about the same vague sentence sustained the organization in a half-hearted way. Collectively though-to quote Gertrude Stein-there was no there there.
 
The board has talked a lot recently about its hopes and dreams for this organization. They've talked about being a task-oriented board and about living in a community where the demographic skews older not younger. They've argued-mildly-about whether history is a story or whether history is some immutable truth or both. They understand how wishy washy their current mission statement is, and they've gamely brain-stormed verbs to create a stronger statement that embodies their collective hope going forward.
 
What is apparent though is how fragile this formula is: A group of interested, committed people + mission = action. If we asked every history organization to bake a cake, they would all be different. And don't get us wrong those differences are wonderful and important. But the fact that some hire a caterer, some bake one from scratch, and others buy gigantic sheet cakes at the grocery store affects the resulting party. And just as in cake baking there are outside forces working for or against the baking aka organizational stability.
 
Today, the museum field puts more resources into career training than ever before, but boards need guidance too. We understand that even gathering boards together is like herding kittens, but there is no question they need training, support, and encouragement. And yes, the StEPs program works to enable better board leadership, but boards change, sometimes quickly, and StEPs knowledge isn't always passed on. The bottom line? The field needs to make the same sort of investment it's making in staff, in boards because better boards mean stronger, better-enabled leadership and staffs, and more meaningful missions. We're all for that.
 
Reprinted with permission from Leadership Matters Posted: September 25, 2017  
Thoughts on 21st Century museum leadership by Anne Ackerson and Joan Baldwin
For more information on Leadership please check out other articles from this Blog.

Featured Course: Introduction to Museums

The United States has more than 17,000 museums, we can only guess at the
National Museum of African American History and Culture
world's total. While most people think of a museum as a well-staffed, professionally run institution, the vast majority of museums are started and run by people with little or no basic training in museum studies or preservation. Introduction to Museums is designed to change that. The course introduces basic concepts, terminology and the role of various staff members, including curators, registrars and directors. Introduction to Museums is aimed at staff members, board members, interns, volunteers, as well as anyone interested in becoming a museum professional or learning more about the profession. 
 
Want to learn more about the operation of a museum?  Join Kimberly Kenney for  MS101 Introduction to Museums starting February 5, 2018.
Early Bird Discounts Available for Full Length Courses
 
An Early Bird Discount is available for anyone who signs up for a full length course from museumclasses.org 30 days prior to the start of that course.  
 
Sign up for a full length course up to 30 days prior to its start and save $100.00!
 
For our course list or to sign up: http://www.collectioncare.org/course-list  
 
To take advantage of this discount, you must enter coupon code EARLYBIRD at checkout at collectioncare.org
 
The Early Bird Discount deadline for March courses is February 3, 2018  
February 2018 Courses
 
February 5 to March 2, 2018
Instructor: Kimberly Kenney
Description:
The United States has more than 17,000 museums, we can only guess at the world's total. While most people think of a museum as a well-staffed, professionally run institution, the vast majority of museums are started and run by people with little or no basic training in museum studies or preservation. Introduction to Museums is designed to change that. The course introduces basic concepts, terminology and the role of various staff members, including curators, registrars and directors. Introduction to Museums is aimed at staff members, board members, interns, volunteers, as well as anyone interested in becoming a museum professional or learning more about the profession.
 
February 5 to March 2, 2018
Instructor: Karin Hostetter
Description:
So much to say and so little space in which to say it. That is the dilemma when scripting an exhibition. How do you say what needs to be said in the space available? How do you even figure out how to limit the information in the first place? Discover the value of themes, tangibles, intangibles, and universals in writing exhibit text that visitors really want to read -- and remember. Additional resources provided on font size and colors as well as label layout.
 
February 5 to March 16, 2018
Instructor: Tom Bennett
Description:
Sprucing up your exhibits with safe, effective, inexpensive mounts can be easier and more fun than you thought. With a few tools, good technique and a bit of practice, you will be well on the way to presenting your objects in their most interesting light, with an eye on long-term safety and security. Design and Construction of Exhibit Mounts presents the basics of mountmaking for the small to medium-sized museum including tools, techniques and materials. Be prepared to construct mounts during the course. Students will be sent a list of materials and tools to acquire before the course commences. Come along and exercise your creative side while doing the collection a world of good.
March 2018 Courses 
 
March 5 to 30, 2018
Instructor: Karin Hostetter
Description:
Volunteers are essential for most non-profit institutions. But good volunteers aren't born -- they are made. Even though they don't get paychecks, it takes time and money to have effective volunteers. Fundamentals of Museum Volunteer Programs teaches the basics of a strong volunteer program. Topics include recruiting, training and rewarding volunteers, as well as preparing staff. Instruction continues through firing and liabilities. Participants will end up with sound foundational knowledge for starting a new or strengthening an existing volunteer program based on a nine-step process.
 
March 12 to April 13, 2018
Instructor: Sue Near
Description:
Sound business practices are critical for a museum to fulfill its mission. Sounds like vegetables, right? Museum management is complex. A museum exists to preserve collections and educate, but it is also an institution that must employ sound business practices while being accountable to the public as a non-profit organization. Instructor Sue Near teaches participants how to administer a successful museum efficiently and effectively. Participants will engage in discussions about the changing cultural climate and its effect on museum operations.
 
March 5 to 30, 2018
Instructor:  Diana Komejan
Description:
Archaeological finds come out of the ground fragile - and they often stay that way. Yet archaeologists and museum professionals have few clear guidelines for handling, moving, storing and displaying such materials. Participants in Care of Archaeological Artifacts From the Field to the Lab learn techniques for safely lifting and packing artifacts, safe transportation and temporary and permanent storage. The course also covers a broad range of excavation environments; including the Arctic, wet sites, tropical and temperate. Though Care of Archaeological Artifacts is not intended to train archaeological conservators, it is designed to help participants understand what can and can't be done to save the artifacts they unearth.

Conferences and Meetings
 
2018  
California Association of Museums, Palm Springs, CA
February 5-7, 2018
 
Museums Association New York, Rochester, NY
April 8-10, 2018
 
Colorado-Wyoming Association of Museums, Cheyenne, WY
April 12-15, 2018
 
Texas Association of Museums, Houston, TX
April 18-21, 2018
 
Museum Store Association, Washington, DC
April 27 to 30, 2018
 
American Alliance of Museums, Phoenix, AZ
May 6-9, 2018
   
AAMG & UMAC Conference 2018, Miami, FL
June 21-24, 2018
 
 
Association of Midwest Museums, Chicago, IL
July 18-21, 2018
 
Society of American Archivists, Washington, DC
August 12-18, 2018
 
Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Dunedin, New Zealand
August 25-September 2, 2018  

 
   
Mountain-Plains Museums Association, Billings, MT
September 11-September 15, 2018
 
Oklahoma Museums Association, Edmond, OK
September 19-21, 2018
 
 
American Association of State and Local History, Kansas City, MO
September 26-29, 2018
 
 
Southeastern Museums Conference, 2018 Annual Meeting, Jackson, MS
October 8-10, 2018
 
 
International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection, Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA
October 13-17, 2018 
 
Western Museums Association, Tacoma, WA
October 21-24, 2018 
 
New England Museum Association, Stamford, CT
November 7-9, 2018
 
National Association for Interpretation,  
New Orleans, LA
November 27-December 1, 2018
 
2019  
National Association for Interpretation, Denver, Colorado
November 12-16, 2019

2020
National Association for Interpretation,
Saint Augustine, FL
November 10-14, 2020
 


Submissions and Comments
How to submit an article or upcoming workshops for inclusion in the Newsletter:  
If you would like to submit an article, notice of an organizational meeting or upcoming workshop for an upcoming Collections Caretaker Newsletter, send your submission to peggy@collectioncare.org .  
 
We are always looking for contributions to this newsletter. Submission deadline is the 10th of each month. 
 
Have a comment or suggestion?   
 
Northern States Conservation Center (NSCC) provides training, collection care, preservation and conservation treatment services. NSCC offers online museum studies classes at   museumclasses.org in Collections Management & Care, Museum Administration & Management, Exhibit Practices and Museum Facilities Management.
 
Sincerely,
Helen Alten, Director
Peggy Schaller, Publications Manager