Over the last six years as an emerging museum professional, I have embraced every opportunity to volunteer, intern, or work for a variety of museums with diverse collections. I absorbed every nugget of information taught by those who I worked with, but prior to attending the MMA “ABCs of Collections Management” workshop, the accumulation of knowledge was in pieces. The puzzle of putting together an encompassing understanding of best practices in collections care started to come together, but more pieces than I wanted were missing or not in the correct place.
The Monroe County Museum hosted the 2015 “ABCs of Collections Management” workshop. Only a half of an hour away from where I lived, I could not miss the opportunity to participate. All of my previous experiences with MMA left me with an appreciation of the organization’s commitment to Michigan’s cultural institutions, and I had high expectations for the quality of the workshop. It did not disappoint.
Led by Nancy Bryk, Associate Professor in Eastern Michigan University’s Historic Preservation Program, and Angela Riedel, Collections Manager at the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame, the workshop covered both the administrative organization of collections and the handling and storing of objects. Nancy and Angela presented the information clearly and welcomed all questions. The attendees ranged across all ages and included both paid and unpaid museum professionals. Overall, the excitement and desire to properly care for the collections entrusted to the various organizations were apparent.
Labeling objects in a collection using skills learned at the workshop
Since my participation in the MMA Collections Workshop, I have used the information presented in several institutions. The handy binder provided during the workshop sat on my desk when I interned with the collections at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. I still use it as a reference for my current position working with the collections at The Henry Ford. As I continue to learn more, I use the binder to collect information for future reference. The binder has not split yet, and I look forward to the day in my career when I need to start volume II.
Author standing in front of the completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
If you are on the fence about attending this workshop, I would highly recommend it. Whether you have years of collections experience or are just starting out, the information shared is invaluable. It also provides a space for like-minded individuals to share their experiences—the unique challenges of their collections, as well as their successes. Also, museum professionals always have a good time when we get together. Registration ends June 5th, so sign up today! If you are not yet an MMA member, this would be a good time to join!
Visit the MMA website to register!
The Henry Ford