A Small Museum Viewpoint

What We Are Thankful For

Thanksgiving is this week. While it’s been a tough year for museums – especially very small ones with limited resources – we still have much to be thankful for.

The economy appears to be starting its rebound, though individual and corporate charitable donations are still down.  Community foundations that restricted their funding to basic human needs during the recession are resuming their support to cultural and educational institutions, including museums.

I sense an increased recognition at the state and national levels of the needs and problems of very small museums. Cost is no longer a factor for museums wanting to join the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), which now allows museums to join at whatever price they can afford to pay. The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) has offered some excellent programs geared to small museums — both at its annual convention and  through Webinars. Even the Federal government’s Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has expanded their free programming and made it available to anyone (though they do not yet offer any funding opportunities for very small museums – a topic for future discussion).

During this Thanksgiving week I am thankful for the increased recognition of small museums. I am thankful for the individuals, corporations, and foundations that have continued to support small museums. I am thankful for the excellent programs and support offered to small museums in my home state by the Wisconsin Historical Society, and for similar efforts in other states. And I am especially thankful for the tens of thousands of volunteers nationwide who do whatever it takes to collect, preserve, and share the stories of their local communities.

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November 19, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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