Tag Archives: Strawbery Banke Museum

Upcoming Workshops Just for Historic House Museums (plus Big Discount Today)

Wheelwright House was built in 1780 at Strawbery Banke Museum inIf you’re looking to sharpen your house museum or historic site, AASLH is offering two workshops in the next couple months that are just for you.  I’m co-teaching in both of them, but discussing very different topics:

Reinventing the Historic House Museum” on March 22, 2017 at Cliveden in Philadelphia, PA.  Ken Turino and I will explore techniques, processes, and examples for reimaging historic house museums, using Cliveden as a case study and exercises that are based on your historic site.  Unfortunately, this workshop has already sold out with fifty participants, however, additional workshops are under consideration in other regions.

Historic House Museum Issues and Operations” on April 6-7, 2017 at the Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH. George McDaniel and I provide a broad overview of the management of house museums, which I consider one of the most complex responsibilities in the museum field (who else puts their most important object outside 24/7?).  We cover a lot of territory in two days, from boards to fundraising, from collections to interpretation, from sustainability to disaster preparedness.  It’s ideal for those who are opening a house museum or a new director of a house museum, but I’ve found that even those who are working in established house museums benefit because it allows you to step back and get the big picture. With more than three dozen historic houses from the 17th to the 20th century, the Strawbery Banke Museum is a great place to study house museums of every variety, plus Portsmouth is a charming New England town.  Registration is $270 members/$385 nonmembers, but you get $40 off registration if you book by March 2.  If you can act fast, you can save an additional $50 off of the early-bird rate (that’s $90) if you book today (midnight, Thursday, February 23) by using the code “HHMFlash.”

These two workshops are offered annually and travel around the country, often at the request from a historic site or house museum.  If you’d like to bring one of these workshops to your region, contact Amber Mitchell at AASLH at 615-320-3203 x 814.

 

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.