Tag Archives: George Washington University Museum

Reimagining Historic House Museums: Observations From the Field

Cover of the book, Reimagining Historic House Museums, published 2019.
Reimagining Historic House Museums (2019)

This afternoon Ken Turino and I will share the common factors that create a sustainable path forward for our country’s historic places. We’ll be drawing from the dozens of innovative sites described in our newly-published anthology, Reimagining Historic House Museums: New Approaches and Proven Solutions. Topics will include assessing whether an organization’s purpose is meaningful to the public, challenging institutions to think holistically, and ensuring that leadership supports risk and experimentation. We’ll be joined in conversation by Kathy Dwyer Southern, Immediate Past Co-Chair of the International Council of Museums United States. If you’re in the area, we welcome you to join us at 5:30 pm at the George Washington University Museum, 701 21st Street NW (at G Street) in Washington, DC. Several of the contributors to the book will be attending and I suspect we’ll have a rousing discussion over drinks at the nearby Tonic.

Ken and I continue to offer our one-day workshop on reimagining historic house museums around the country through the American Association for State and Local History and we’ve now added this shorter “Observations from the Field” presentation to highlight the big ideas from the book. We first presented it with Lisa Ackerman, Interim CEO of the World Monuments Fund, in New York City in October at the request of the Historic House Trust (video below). It was so well received that we’re bringing it to DC today and to Los Angeles in March (as part of the California Association of Museums meeting). We’ve also presented portions of this talk for the National Society of The Colonial Dames in America and Historic New England. If the workshop or presentation could benefit your organization, contact Ken or me for more details (we can only accommodate a couple of these each year, so we may have to plan far ahead).

“Observations from the Field”, Historic House Trust, October 2019

Interactive Station Using a Tablet and Stanchion

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The equipment for interactive displays is becoming increasingly easier, thanks to powerful computer tablets that can show documents, images, and videos.  There’s no need to mount a monitor to the wall with a fat cable snaking to a computer unit tucked into a cabinet.  I recently saw a nice example of an interactive tablet system at the George Washington University Museum in Washington, DC.  The tablet (such as an Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab) is mounted on a stanchion with a special head from the Exhibit Stanchions Group.  That’s it. None of the tablet’s ports are blocked so it can be charged or updated even when it’s held in place.  The tablet is securely fastened and the stanchion is heavy enough to withstand a casual bump, but if you need to remove the stanchion for an event or use it elsewhere, it can be easily picked up (yes, a thief could steal the whole thing but if they’re walking out the door with a stanchion, you’ve got bigger problems).