We're mid-way into the final week of the three-week seminar, and the students are starting to think about re-entry. Since my last post we've had presentations and discussions with David Crosson on the ethical issues often faced in historical organizations; with Harold Skramstad on creating effective mission statements and managing to the mission; with Hallie Rosen and Susan Funk on building volunteer programs that have a positive impact on the organization, the individual volunteer, and the community; and Tim Grove on many ways in which changes in technology are impacting our work. Today we continue with Jim Vaughan and Ken Turino on the issues of historic site relevance and sustainability.
From the first day of the seminar the class has focused on important issues and questions: the shift from object driven to story driven experiences; the role of the object in story driven experiences; how best to create experiences that appeal to everyone; whether exhibits and programs should support the values of a community, or raise sensitive issues and call for action; how best to engage our communities and share authority with others; how to design our work to both achieve the mission and build financial sustainability; how to become highly valued in our communities and not just "nice to have."
Everyday the students have discussed the issues, and learned about strategies and tools for advancing their organizations, from guidance on community engagement to effective leadership practices to planning and implementing change. It's a bit overwhelming. Now is the time to sort things out and prepare for going home. We'll be doing that tomorrow and Friday.