Archive for the ‘Volunteers & Docents’ Category

  • My office was recently found itself in a discussion about office layouts for an organization. Specifically the old debate over an open plan office (or cubicles) vs. individual offices and what would fit our institution the best. Currently we have a mixture of these two approaches. On one floor of our building the education staff […]

  • 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 […]

  • Sometimes, people who start out as our visitors become something more: volunteers, collaborators, contractors, the list goes on and on. In 1999, Ken and Ruth Cooper visited us at the Homestead Museum for the first time. Shortly thereafter, they pitched the idea of Ken instructing an introductory watercolor workshop followed by an exhibit of paintings […]

  • Catered events have become an increasingly important part of the business operations of many museums in recent years. In 2013, The Henry Ford began staffing all evening events in Henry Ford Museum with interpreters in addition to the catering and security staff that had traditionally had responsibility for the guest experience during banquets. For a […]

  • It seems you can’t go a week without encountering a museum-related article in mainstream media. While this should be good for our “industry,” generally speaking, said articles are satirically toned, often with biased language that steers the reader astray rather than presenting two-sided information allowing them to arrive at educated conclusions – or at least […]

  • I’d wager that anyone reading this blog post appreciates a few things from an employer: clear expectations, good tools for completing the job, and feedback on performance. A manager who provides these things for his or her staff is quite an asset. Good employees thrive with clear expectations, good tools, and feedback. When managing front-line […]

  • Volunteers are essential to any organization and department, especially in museums.  All of us have used volunteers to lend an extra hand in many things, but it wasn’t until several years ago that I saw a need to stretch the job duty of a volunteer a bit more.  Museums are always accepting object donations to […]

  • “Sorry Dorothy… but here’s your pink slip. You’ve been useful for the last 38 years but your volunteer services are no longer needed.” Okay, so it probably didn’t go down exactly like that, but when the Hirshhorn Museum (the Smithsonian museum focused on modern art) dissolved its volunteer docent program on very short notice late […]

  • The historic site where I work, Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown, Virginia, has four full-time staff, three part-time staff, and about 50 active volunteers. Our board members and volunteers are indispensable, and we’re incredibly grateful to them. While conversing with colleagues, I realize that we’re a bit unusual in that we have a high level […]

  • Treasure in Music City

    January 15th, 2015

    AASLH staff were on hand to witness an exciting announcement on Monday, one that marked a milestone in Nashville historic preservation. Middle Tennessee has a lively local history and preservation scene, and we were very happy to meet with some of our neighbors and help support the history community in our neck of the woods. […]