Tag Archives: Morven Park

Recap of Historic House Museum Symposium at Gunston Hall

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On Saturday, the Historic House Museum Consortium of Washington DC hosted an all-day symposium on “how are historic house museums adapting to the future?” at Gunston Hall in Virginia.  The sold-out symposium featured three speakers, a tour of Gunston Hall, and lots of time to chat with colleagues during breaks and over lunch.   The cost?  A mere $15, truly a bargain.  The symposium not only attracted professionals from Virginia, Maryland, and DC, but as far away as Connecticut!

I opened the symposium by discussing Michael Porter’s “Five Forces” as a way of identifying opportunities and threats to help historic sites prepare and adapt.  If you’re not familiar with the Five Forces, it’s a framework for identifying those issues that have the biggest impact on your operations.  This is a much more useful alternative to SWOT, which may be a good outline for summarizing an analysis, but it’s not a helpful way to analyze a situation.  If you’d like to get an introduction to the Five Forces and how it applies to historic sites, take look at my presentation (warning: it’s an 18 Mb pdf).  Even better was the discussion that followed, which explored a wide range of ideas from the growing role of photography to changing demographics to the interpretation of African American history.

Jana Shafogoj at Morven Park discussed how the current emphasis on STEM has allowed their site to Continue reading