An Open Letter to My Colleagues
What do we mean by systemic change? This article by TMG Founder Elaine Heumann Gurian explores how many museums are respondingor attempting to respondin the face of social and cultural injustice. What she sees are piecemeal and, often, hollow efforts. Gurian calls upon museums to question all their assumptions in this moment, and she offers some starting points for boards, staff, and operations (the real systems, she notes). “I keep hearing that everyone is supposed to be ‘listening, listening, listening,’ she writes. “To what end? I would suggest it is for the purpose of learning and upending. It is to change the system.”
Webinars and Zooms
This thought-provoking webinar from November 10 explored how museums can connect with their communities using their collections. It is more important than ever for museums to engage with their communities digitally and use collections to inspire their community. Three industry leaders, Barbara Henry, Kathleen McLean, and Evelyn Orantes, discussed their experiences and shared innovative ideas museums can implement to engage with their audienceseven when the doors are closed. Facilitated by Joy Tahan, Director of Museums & Collections, Catalogit.

On October 21, Mac West was part of this Zoom panel hosted by the Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre in South Africa. His presentation focused on responses to the pandemic by North American institutions. Others on the Zoom panel were from Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, India, Mauritius, and Burkina Faso.
On October 29, Gretchen Jennings participated in a virtual conversation exploring systemic racism.

Laura Roberts and David Ellis, members of the NEMA911 crisis response team, will be presenting on the program at the New England Museum Association annual conference on Friday, November 20. Their sessionWho you gonna call? NEMA911! will review some of the calls the program has handled.
What We're Reading Now
Beatty, Bob. Election Scenario Planning for Museums. Medium. October 31, 2020.

The Baltimore Museum of Art made headlines for its plans to sell deaccessioned artwork in order to diversify its collections. Chaos ensued. The following articles trace the unfolding story:

MASS Action. Museums and Anti-Racism: A Deeper Analysis. October 30, 2020.

Wilkening, Susie. Curiosity: A Primer. A 2020 annual survey of museum-goers data story.
A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career
At the invitation of Kimberly Springle, executive director of the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives in Washington, DC, Anne W. Ackerson spent a morning virtually visiting with museum staff discussing career planning strategies, including drafting personal/professional mission statements and tracking annual accomplishments. Student intern Kimberly Oliver wrote, “You've inspired me to start working on my own strategic plan as I look toward starting my career!” Ackerson is a contributor to the popular book, A Life in Museums: Managing Your Museum Career, edited by Greg Stevens and Wendy Luke. Ackerson’s chapter on strategizing your career was subsequently published by AAM in the March-April 2017 edition of Museum magazine.

Ackerson's trick to capture a year's worth of accomplishments (big, small, personal, professional) is to collect them on slips of paper and stash them in a handy container. They help her plan for the coming year.
In other news...
Dan Danzig recently completed development of a strategic plan for the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Los Angeles.

Laura Roberts has joined the Museum Education Committee of Old Sturbridge Village, and serves on the steering committee of Bridge Street Friends, a new support and networking group for Mass Humanities.