Post by Lisa Craig Brisson, Michigan Museums Association
MMA is hosting a variety of workshops in the next few months. Topics range from visitor research to digital media and nonprofit basics, and will be held throughout the state from Dundee to Marquette and in between. Here is a list of our workshops with thoughts of why I think people will want to attend.
Nonprofit Building Blocks
July 25, 9-12
Old Mill Museum, Dundee
One of the things I see as a challenge for most museums – large or small, urban or rural – is understanding how a nonprofit is different from a regular business. There are so many nuances or requirements for nonprofits that can seem mysterious or intimidating. In an ongoing effort to provide insight into the basis of nonprofit management, this workshop will focus on two tricky areas – how development and accounting work together and the basics of managing boards. Erica Battle is a seasoned accountant who has worked for several museums and has many museum clients. She truly understands how museums can and should be functioning. She will be joined by staff and leadership from a variety of museums as well, including Laurel Paterson from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Are We Safe Yet? Identifying and Addressing Risk at Your Museum
August 2, 1-5
Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, Douglas
It’s easy to think that nothing bad will happen to our organizations or the people associated with them, but this isn’t realistic. Understanding what some of the challenges can be, and putting a plan in place to deal with them, can often mean the difference between total disaster and mere crisis. Mark Lambert is insurance agent who is very familiar with museums and who will help participants identify general and specific risks at their organizations.
Understanding Your Audience and Effective Survey Design
August 15, 10-4
US Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame, Ishpeming
Museum visitors can be a mystery, but there are tools for helping better understand them. In some cases, museums already collect the data that can provide helpful clues. On the other hand, actually asking your visitors about their needs or experiences can be a direct way to find out the information you are looking for. I am so excited to have Sarah Cohn and Al Onkka share their amazing expertise in Michigan. I know both Sarah and Al from the Visitor Studies Association and have attended workshops led by both. I think MMA members will appreciate their style and their depth of experience.
August 29, 10-4
Michigan Science Center, Detroit
MMA developed the Visitor Experiences workshop almost a decade ago to help staff and volunteers at museums better understand the full breadth of how visitors participate in museums, as well as how to think about visitors in new ways. The field has come a long way since the workshop began, but there are still plenty of people and organizations who benefit from the basics of this topic. Sarah Waters and I have been leading this workshop for several years, but it is different each time. Participants bring their own understanding and experiences to the workshop, just like visitors do to our museums!
What Research Says About Visitor Behavior in Museum Exhibitions and So What?
September 14, 10-4
Michigan History Center, Lansing
Beverly Serrell came to Michigan several years ago to lead a workshop about evaluating museum exhibits. It was so popular that we’ve been trying to get her back again ever since. This time she is going to focus on what she is famous for- Tracking and Timing studies. This visitor research method is relatively easy to implement, and provides great insight into how visitors actually engage with the museum. A delight to hear on any topic, it is wonderful to have the chance to listen to Beverly talk about Tracking and Timing in particular.
Media Workflows for Museum Professionals
September 26, 9-4
Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Campus
MMA members have long been talking about digital media, and asking for more resources. This workshop is our first effort to address the topic. This is definitely not my area of expertise, but Matthew Patulski has worked with a number of museums and is excited to talk about workflows and digital assets with MMA members.
Becoming a Champion for Museums
October 17, 9-4
When we decided the theme of our Lansing conference would be advocacy, we had no idea that there would be so many opportunities for mobilization on the horizon. But we did know that there is never a bad time to help more people be able to articulate the value and needs of museums to many people in in different kind of settings. I know Bob Beatty from working with him on the conference with AASLH, and I find his enthusiasm for any topic inspiring. This workshop focusing on the ABCs of advocacy will be helpful for those who are just getting interested in the issues, and those of us who have been doing advocacy for several years. We’ll have many other chance at the conference to learn about, practice, and participate in advocacy, and this workshop will be a great way to get started!
I hope to see many MMA members at our workshops throughout the rest of the year. But if you don’t see the one you really need, please let us know. I’m already getting started on planning for next year!