Highlights and Lowlights for Engaging Places in 2018

Last year was incredibly busy with various planning and research projects for Engaging Places along with directing the History Leadership Institute and teaching fulltime in the museum studies program at George Washington University. The result is that the blog had only 21 posts, which is less than half than what I produced a couple years earlier.  It’s not that I’m lacking for topics, just time.

I hope to be more productive this year and as usual, I look at the statistics for my blog/website to guide me for the upcoming year.  For 2018, the most popular posts were:

  1. Welcoming New Members: Examples from the Field (posted 2012)
  2. Rethinking the Mission Statement (2013)
  3. HBR: The Truth About the Customer Experience (2013)
  4. Million Dollar Salaries at America’s Biggest Museums (2014)
  5. Try Question-Storming Rather Than Brainstorming (2018)

Not only does this reveal some of the major interests, but also their longevity.  As you may have noticed, membership and mission seem to be undergoing some fundamental rethinking and they’re definitely worth exploring further.  “The Truth About the Customer Experience” discusses “customer journey mapping,” a technique that I now regularly incorporate into my interpretive planning.  I provided an update in a 2016 post along with a four-page handout and will also address it in my forthcoming book (with Ken Turino), Reimagining Historic House Museums: New Approaches and Proven Solutions.  My thinking with this technique continues to evolve and my work with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage is prompting me to incorporate additional elements. Stay tuned.

It’s always intriguing to know how much (or how little) you can earn as a CEO at a museum and this 2014 survey still provides surprises.  I’ll need to update this post because the Newseum’s $1.5 million salary has fallen drastically as a result of its precarious financial condition, which the Washington Post has called “a slow-motion disaster“.  I predict this museum is going to be a case study in many graduate programs.

The last “question-storming” post suggests that readers are always on the lookout for new approaches and ideas to be more productive and effective.  I’ll continue to supply plenty of those, especially because I’m trying new techniques or exercises with my students, clients, and workshops.  Some succeed, some fail and we can learn from both experiences.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to take a look at the blog posts that were ignored.  There are dozens that only attracted one view the entire year (yes, just one view!) and they included:

Okay, maybe only one person was interested in advocacy (but more should be!) but membership, social media, deaccessioning, board relationships, and Google data fell into the same hole. Hmm. I’ll have to do more thinking about this.