Tag Archives: networking

Recognized Professionalization


This year I coordinated the Core Documents Program at the IVDM, which involved revising the Museum’s Collections Management Plan, Emergency Management Plan, Ethics Policy, and Institutional Plan to meet the standards set by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). These documents passed the Core Document Review earlier this month, which is the first step of Accreditation through AAM. As part of the program, I coordinated two museum assessments that evaluated the Museum’s operation, documentation, and collections stewardship. The Museum Assessment Program, a program of AAM, and the Conservation Assessment Program, a program of Heritage Preservation, are two national standards programs funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services that provide review by a specialist knowledgeable in best practice and national museum standards.

The MAP helps small and mid-sized museums strengthen operations, plan for the future and meet national standards through self-study and a site visit from a peer reviewer. The MAP hails itself as a “self-motivated program” and I took full advantage. The first six months of this year were devoted to evaluating and re-evaluating our core documents (as defined by AAM’s Core Docu

An aspect of the MAP program is to provide your reviewer with a copy of documents, should your institution have them. As a new institution, this was a good opportunity to broaden our paper trail. I documented many of the policies and procedures we already follow in 10 new documents that guide everything from lab procedures to human resources. They are intended to provide tools with which the Museum can relay our goals and values to the community.ments Verification Program). This was rewarded with extremely supportive comments by our peer reviewer, who said our Collections Management Policy was a “model, excellent policy” and our Emergency Plan was the most thorough he’d ever seen.

The MAP final report recognizes “The Museum is in the midst of professionalizing. It has many strengths, including a very knowledgeable, dedicated, energetic, professional staff …”

During the CAP, we evaluated our conservation procedures with the assistance of Dr. Nancy Odegaard, Arizona State Museum’s Lead Conservator and Head of the Preservation Department – a leader in the field. My specialty is in archives and so the discussions with Nancy were invaluable for moving the archaeology conservation lab toward the highest regional standard.

Today the staff tested one of the recommendations Dr. Odegaard made during her visit in September, I described how we accession items into the museum – using B-72 reversible adhesive and writing numbers to identify the objects – pretty standard procedure. Nancy suggested we type the numbers rather than write them – eliminating the age old museum problem of deciphering handwriting and reading tiny little numbers. A simple but elegant solution. The CAP final report is expected by March 2014.

NEH Planning Grant

IVDM Welcome Sign

You know what I love? I love developing a project that fits the description “nationally significant project”.



I have spent the day calling, linkedin-ing, facebooking, and emailing people in the highest echelons of the conservation world. Isn’t technology great?



When one of my new contacts bites, this museum will be transformed into a leader in sustainability. It’s very exciting stuff. I wish I could hang around and tell you more, but the grant’s not going to write itself.



Mixing Work and Pleasure in Yuma

Hard day in the office. I tagged along on someone’s errands into Yuma, AZ and managed to turn it into a work day. while my buddy was on a conference call, I explored the Yuma Quarter Masters Headquarters. This was good for two reasons: 1) I got another history lesson on the area, and 2) I made a contact at both the Headquarters and the BLM in Yuma. Seems like a small accomplishment, but there is nothing small making contacts who have been in the area for 20 years when you have been there for a week. These are useful people to know.

Yuma Quartermaster's Headquarters

Yuma Quartermaster's Headquarters

Plank Road over the dunes

Plank Road over the dunes

We also happened upon an artist with her shop open (almost nothing is open on Monday in Yuma – we did not know that). Since it was a lazy day she showed off her kiln, talked a bit about the firing process, and showed us some pieces in process. She was even nice enough to throw something for our cameras.

Check her out on Facebook – Colorado River Pottery. Vermonters will find her work familiar. She’s lived back east!

Colorado River Pottery in Yuma

Colorado River Pottery in Yuma

On the Road Again

Back in the airport.

This is the fun part (well, aside from security checks and all): the anticipation of what lies ahead. Starting something new, something that will have value, propel you forward. Yes, it’s definitely another step forward.

My serivices have been called in again by Dr. Hitch, who some of you may know directed the museum in the Turks and Caicos when I worked there last year. He’s since moved on to a museum in the desert of southern California. It’s still in the start up stages, so this is museum work as you rarely see: starting a new museum. I’ll learn more in the next few days (or hours if Dr. Hitch has his way, he sets a fast pace, but no worries on my ability to keep up!)

My role will be supervising the efforts of a grant writing seminar for the next 6 weeks, with the goal of submitting 9 before I leave. I’ll be brushing up on the first 2 that we definitely want to apply for on the plane. Today is a work day.