Video: Finding a Museum’s IRS Form 990

This blog shares lots of the intriguing ideas that I encounter at house museums and historic sites in my travels, and often they’re best explained through video. How else can you really understand how a hands-on activity works or how visitors behave during a tour? I’ve shared plenty of videos created by others but this past year I’ve been learning how to create my own videos for the museum field, using my ever-present iPhone to shoot video snippets, mastering ScreenFlow, and studying how others create videos on YouTube (e.g., Peter McKinnon, Curtis Judd, DottoTech, and Video Creators).  Now my efforts have been nudged along by the classes I’ve started to teach this year at George Washington University where I’m incorporating “flipped learning” approaches to move some of my lectures online to devote as much time in the classroom to group discussions and activities.

I shared one of my initial forays into video creation several months ago on a cool interactive technique from a traveling exhibition at the Indiana State Museum and this week I’m posting two more videos which are a bit more complex.  I’m hoping my videos will improve over time but I do want to maintain their “hand-crafted” nature so they stays personal (in other words, the quality should get better but don’t expect “high production values”).

I created today’s video for my museum studies classes to help students find the Form 990, the “annual information return” for non-profit organizations that is required by the Internal Revenue Service. My classes attract graduate students from throughout the university, so while they’re all smart and resourceful, someone in anthropology or art history may have never heard of a Form 990 or know where to find one.  This video provides a step-by-step explanation of where to find them online, either through a museum’s website (using Mt. Vernon as an example) and Most museums won’t be interested in this content because they already are familiar with it, but if you have suggestions for making it more useful for graduate students or someone who’s never heard of them before, I welcome your comments.