Tag Archives: Jim Collins

Vision Statement: Encyclopedia Edition

The Encyclopedia of Local History will issue its third edition in 2017.

The Encyclopedia of Local History will issue its third edition in 2017.

Carol Kammen and Amy Wilson are preparing the third edition of the Encyclopedia of Local History for publication in early 2017 and invited me to update my entry on “Historic House Museums in the 21st Century” as well as contribute a couple new entries, including “Vision Statement.”  Businesses and nonprofit organizations have been adopting vision and mission statements for the past two decades but drafting this encyclopedia entry gave me a chance to step back to look at its evolving history and see where they might be headed.  Here’s what I submitted (and remember, while books have been written about this topic, I have to condense it into a short summary):

Vision Statement. A vision statement describes a business’ or non-profit organization’s long-term major goal or desired end state and directs the planning, implementation, and evaluation of its programs and activities. There are many definitions for vision statements, some that conflict with each other, but the consensus is that they describe an ambitious but achievable long-term goal (10-30 years ahead, beyond the term of the current board or tenure of the executive director); that the statement is clear, compelling, and short (about 25-50 words); and yet is sufficiently vague and abstract to be unaffected by typical economic cycles or social fads.

An often-cited example of a vision statement is found in John F. Kennedy’s address to Congress in 1961 on urgent national needs: Continue reading

Delaware Offering Lessons on Museum Management of the Wrong Kind IMHO

I’m a 1980s graduate of the University of Delaware, which is a great place to learn about museums because of its affiliation with Winterthur, Hagley Museum and Library, and Longwood Gardens.  Now we’re all discovering it’s also a great place to learn how to mismanage a museum.

Delaware Art Museum

If you haven’t been following the story for the past year, the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington is selling some of its collections in an effort to pay off a $20 million debt for the construction of a museum expansion in 2005 and refill its endowment.  They first sold a painting by William Holman Hunt a few months ago and they’re getting ready to sell a couple more items soon, including a painting by Winslow Homer and a sculpture by Alexander Calder.  Their actions were censured by the Association of Art Museum Directors (a group that’s typically reluctant to criticize its members), but the Delaware Art Museum doesn’t care.  In “Museum Under Fire for Selling Its Art,” Deborah Solomon of the New York Times provides the latest painful details.

This case study isn’t finished (and it’ll be a doozy), but we’re learning plenty of lessons already:

1.  People visit museums and historic sites to have a great experience with the collections, not Continue reading