Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day is coming...


Just a friendly reminder to all of my museum colleagues out there that Wednesday is Earth Day, so you still have one more day to plan a last-minute tribute to our Mother Earth in your organization if you haven't already. Plant seeds in recycled cups or egg cartons with kids, fly kites in your front greenspace, make "find" art collages and sculptures out of bits of recyclable materials, or commit your institution to running a greener, more earth-friendly operation.

If you are not a museum staffer, but a visitor, check out the Earth Day events happening at museums and parks in your area. What a wonderful day to take a field trip and make an impression on your children of just how much we all at stake in saving our planet.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Whale sharks, wow! A visit to the Georgia Aquarium

I am in Atlanta this weekend visiting my brother for the Easter holiday, and as part of the family fun, we headed to the Georgia Aquarium on Friday. For any of you who may be unfamiliar with the Georgia Aquarium, it is the largest in the world and the only one outside of Asia where you can see whale sharks. Yes, the biggest fish in the oceans, and they have four of them. Amazing! Plus, there were rays, lion fish, otters (two kinds), beluga whales, sea dragons, jellies, cuttlefish, an amazing array of tropical fish, and so much more it is impossible to adequately describe it all. It was simply stunning.

The fish were incredible, the architecture was cool, the exhibitions and staging were top notch, and perhaps most important was the fact that their staff was friendly and accommodating. Talk about southern hospitality, these people actually seemed to care whether or not you enjoyed your visit. Excellent customer service, a truly rare find these days.

If you are ever anywhere near Atlanta, be sure to go to the Aquarium. The visit is well worth the steep admission price. Just make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time, and if it all possible have them sent to you beforehand, rather than held at the will call window. The wait for general admission tickets for anyone buying at the door last Friday was over 3 1/2 hours long, with a line snaking around the building and down the street. Plan ahead and save yourself the wait, but don't miss the fish. The Georgia Aquarium is definitely on my must-see list.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another year, another OMA conference in the books.

Well, here it is another snowy spring night in Northeast Ohio and once again I find myself looking back fondly upon this year's Ohio Museums Conference. It was a great time, from the Sunday afternoon board meeting, where instead of being ushered out the door upon completing my 6-year term I agreed to stay on for two more (as Treasurer no less), to the end of the day yesterday when I presented a "Museum Career Toolkit for Emerging Professionals" with my friend Sarah Stilgenbauer from Opera Cleveland. Thanks again to Terri and Johnna, the OMA staff members who work so tirelessly to make it an annual success. Despite the rampant economic downturn, we still had around 100 participants and everyone I talked to seemed pleased at the chance to get in some quality professional development for just a few bucks.

I also want to thank all of you who participated in the online survey about museum careers. The data we collected via SurveyMonkey was a great framework for informing and encouraging young people who hope to enter our field. Along with the data, Sarah and I shared some information about places where students and other museum job-seekers might find employment opportunities. Besides a bevy of job posting websites, which I'll list later, we mentioned a job fair taking place in Cleveland tomorrow. Idealist.org is hosting a non-profit job fair on CWRU's campus at the Thwing Center from 11:00-3:00. You are supposed to pre-register, however the event is free and I am fairly certain that most who show up will be welcome. So, if you find yourself looking for a new position in the nonprofit field, click here to check out the entire list of over 40 organizations represented at the Cleveland job fair tomorrow.

As promised, here are the museum job sites we shared with the students in our session yesterday:
Unfortunately, I know that too many of my colleagues are suddenly finding it necessary to look for new positions. Hopefully, this short list of job posting sites will be a starting place for any of you who need somewhere else to go to find additional vacancies. My best wishes to you all.

As a somewhat sad aside, I am currently researching an upcoming article on how the current economic climate is affecting museums in our region. If any of you have specific, or even general information you would be willing to share with me on this subject as it relates to your situation, your museum, or that of someone you know, please let me know. I would like to get a clearer idea of just how pervasive the recent spate of staff and budget cuts has actually been. Thanks for your interest and assistance.

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