POSTS FROM ‘Member Voices’

  • As many historic house museums across the country experience declining visitation, Portland’s Pittock Mansion has set a new record for annual visitors. Visitation has steadily grown from 81,000 in fiscal year 2013/2014 to 86,000 in fiscal year 2014/2015 to a new record of 103,000 visitors in fiscal year 2015/2016. Reaching over 100,000 annual visitors is […]

  • There’s no missing Americans’ passionate interest in genealogy today. Aging baby boomers have greater free time for research and deepened appreciation for family ties. Massive amounts of demographic and other data are literally at one’s fingertips on a computer keyboard. A wider range of racial and ethnic groups are seeking out their family lineages including […]

  • The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (ULSG) in St. Louis, Missouri, preserves and interprets the lives of Ulysses S. Grant, his wife Julia Dent Grant, and the thirty enslaved African Americans who were owned by Julia’s family and labored at her childhood home, White Haven, in the years before the American Civil War. Although […]

  • Do a quick Google search for the definition of Visitor Experience. Go ahead. You won’t find one. Primarily because we, as institutions, define what the visitor experience is for ourselves. Therein lies one of the most fundamental struggles we all face. What does our visitor experience look like? What do we want our visitors to […]

  • “The kitchen is the heart of the home.” We’ve been saying it since at least the 1890s. Yet for many historic properties, the kitchen is not so much a heart as an appendix – a vestigial organ, often a candidate for removal. In my book Interpreting Food at Museums and Historic Sites, I explore how […]

  • As a student, it isn’t very often that your projects go beyond the classroom and into the community. However, this is one aspect of my Historical Administration M.A. Program at Eastern Illinois University that I have enjoyed deeply. As part of the coursework in two of my classes (Research Methods in American Local History and […]

  • Professional Skills Survey

    April 3rd, 2014

    What skills and attributes do museum professionals need to possess to successfully work in the 21st Century museum? The answers to this question should be on the minds of all museum professionals, and especially those of us engaged in professional development, staff training, and teaching museum studies. Faculty at the John F Kennedy University Museum […]

  • For Throwback Thursday, here’s a post from Bob Beatty, AASLH VP of Programs. It was originally published during the  AASLH 2009 Annual Meeting. Today was a great first “official” day of the conference. I spent several hours today with folks from the small museum community including the Small Museum Luncheon where we asked attendees to respond […]

  • Many years ago when I was first working on entering the museum profession, I talked to the director of a major military museum. This director sent about fifteen minutes telling me that private collectors were absolutely the lowest life form. Later I talked to a curator who believed all historical artifacts, regardless of how many […]

  • War Stories

    October 31st, 2013

    Most Americans these days have little experience with the military, but the military–past and present–is still a significant part of our history. From those of us who deal with the military daily, here is some advice to the non-military museum that finds itself collecting militaria. (And since I deal with the Army, I will use […]