Tag Archives: New England Museum Association

A Mixed Prognosis for Regional Museum Associations

In the United States, museums are served by six regional museum associations that are associated (allied?) with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM):

While AAM is doing well with about $10 million in annual revenues and net assets of $2 million, the regional museum associations are much much smaller by comparison. Their annual revenues range from $70,000 to $600,000, which is 1-7% of AAM’s annual revenues (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Chart of revenues for regional museum associations in the US, FY 2014-16.

That might be acceptable given these associations serve a few states rather than all 50, but a further analysis of their financial condition in fiscal years 2014-2016 suggests that their health is decidedly mixed: Continue reading

Reinventing the House Museum in Portsmouth

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A sold-out crowd of history enthusiasts packed the auditorium at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on April 21 to discuss ways to reinvent the house museum.  Sponsored by the American Association for State and Local History and the New England Museum Association, the one-day workshop explored ways that historic house museums can more successfully engage their community and improve their financial sustainability.

The morning featured several presentations and the afternoon was a hands-on workshop at a nearby historic house.  I opened the day with a process for developing a plan and then focused on Michael Porter’s Five Forces, a diagnostic tool that’s superior to SWOT for assessing a house museum’s strategic position.   Ken Turino of Historic New England provided a smorgasbord of ideas from house museums around the county to rethink existing conceptions.  Larry Yerdon, CEO of the Strawbery Banke Museum, discussed ways they are introducing new programs and activities to be both more engaging and financially sustainable.

After lunch, we gathered at the Governor John Langdon House, a property of Historic New England, where Joanne Flaherty and Linda Marshall led us on a quick inspection of the property and described its operations and recent efforts to use it for temporary exhibits.  Then the audience became temporary consultants using the Five Forces, analyzing existing and potential competition for exhibits, interests from visitors, and collaborating with exhibit providers.  The consensus seemed to be that an exhibit program could have a competitive advantage if it focused on the collections of Historic New England and may be better suited for rooms other than the parlor or dining room, which are architecturally significant.

This workshop will travel next to Atlanta, Georgia on June 12, where we’ll be using the Margaret Mitchell House as the case study.  To register and for more information, visit AASLH.org.

 

 

Resources for Historic Sites from the American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums (formerly known as the American Association of Museums) is offering several resources and workshops that may be interest to historic sites, including:

TrendsWatch 2013: Upcoming Town Hall
This year’s edition of TrendsWatch, the annual report on key social, economic, technological and other trends that are shaping the future of museums, will be released next month.  You can also learn about it at the Alliance’s Web-based Town Hall on March 27 at 2 pm ET, which will be hosted by their Center for the Future of Museums.  Registration is free for Alliance members, and will open soon.  Meanwhile, read (or re-read) TrendsWatch 2012 for a taste of the future.

2012 National Comparative Museum Salary Study Available
A national salary study has long been a top request from Alliance members. Demonstrating that we’re stronger together, the 2012 study was prepared in collaboration with the Association of Midwest Museums (AMM), the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA), the New England Museum Association (NEMA) and the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) and based on surveys conducted in their regions. Together, these associations represent 36 states, 64 percent of the American population and approximately two-thirds of all museums in the United States. Available free to Continue reading