White text against a darkened facade of the bay window of a historic house.

Workshop: Reinventing the Historic House Museum

Workshop Description

The one-day workshop, Reinventing the Historic House Museum includes an analysis of the most important opportunities and threats facing historic sites in America based on the latest social and economic research, with a discussion on how they may relate to the participants’ house museum. We share a series of field-tested tools and techniques drawn from such wide-ranging sources as non-profit management, business strategy, and software development. Drawing from innovative organizations, we profile historic sites that are using new models to engage with their communities to become more relevant, are adopting creative forms of interpretation and programming, and earning income to become more financially sustainable. A key component of the workshop is a facilitated brainstorming session to reinvent an event or program. Working with an actual house museum not only puts theory into practice but demonstrates the value of multiple perspectives for analysis.

Why should I attend?

Historic house museums face a wide range of challenges in today’s continually changing environment. Traditional methods no longer seem to be as successful but new approaches seem uncertain or risky.  By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to analyze their operations, programs, and events to make better informed decisions, learn how to use a variety of tools and techniques that can be applied to a wide range of activities at museums big and small, identify ways to make their house museum more distinctive and relevant, and feel more confident to try new and different approaches.

Indeed, the workshops have been incredibly helpful to the host sites, who serve as the case study for the brainstorming session:

“Reinventing the Historic House Museum sparked many great ideas on how we can use our historic homes in dynamic, innovative ways. Since attending the workshop, we have implemented many changes, including a new self-guided tour with interactive elements that have increased our attendance and engaged the public in brand new ways.”

Sarah Bader-King, Director of Public Programming & Events,
Wornall/Majors House Museums, Kansas City, Missouri

Reinventing the Historic House Museum helped us visualize how the Margaret Mitchell House could connect with the community around us. While the site was very popular with tourists, we were hidden in plain sight from our own community. Our goal was to discuss the challenges we faced and to pursue practical solutions. The workshop allowed us to collaborate with area professionals and hear from colleagues facing similar challenges. We left the workshop with good ideas and a commitment to reimagine our site. As a result of that work we have increased visibility in the community, created programming relevant to the neighborhood, and are partnering with area organizations to become a community resource and connector.”

Jessica Van Landuyt, Director of 20th Century Houses,
Atlanta History Center, Atlanta, Georgia

Topics include:

  • Recognizing the Myriad Challenges Facing House Museums Today
  • Conducting a Holistic Assessment of Your House Museum’s Public Programs
  • Analyzing the Five Forces that Affect Public Programs and Events
  • House Museums That Are Successfully Reinventing Themselves
  • Discovering Your House Museum’s Unique Value and Distinctiveness

Details

FORMAT: In-person group workshop

LENGTH: One day (8:30 am - 5:00 pm)

DATE: Friday, October 12, 2018

LOCATION: Glessner House Museum, 1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60616

MATERIALS: Workshop materials will be provided upon registration and in-person at the event.

LUNCH: Lunch provided

COST: $30 per person

This workshop is made available at a reduced cost thanks to the gracious generosity of our funders and sponsors. 

Register

Our support

Thank you to our gracious funders and sponsors for supporting this workshop. 

Funders

Partners

Who Should Attend This Workshop

Boardmembers, staff, and volunteers who manage house museums and historic sites or who develop public programs and events. This workshop is designed for organizations large and small who are seeking to increase the impact and sustainability of their house museum, as well as for paid or volunteer staff who want to expand their professional skills.

Register Here

Instructors

Max A. van Balgooy is president of Engaging Places LLC, a design and strategy firm that connects people and historic places.  He has worked with a wide range of historic sites on interpretive planning and business strategy, including James Madison’s Montpelier and Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. He is an assistant professor in the Museum Studies Program at George Washington University, directs the History Leadership Institute (formerly known as the Seminar for Historical Administration), serves on the editorial board of Curator, the Museum Journal, and regularly leads workshops at regional and national museum conferences. He is a frequent contributor to professional journals and books, and with Ken Turino of Historic New England, he is preparing an anthology on reinventing the historic house museum for publication by Rowman and Littlefield in early 2019. These experiences provide a rich source of ideas for EngagingPlaces.net, where he blogs regularly about the opportunities and challenges facing historic sites and house museums.

Kenneth Turino is Manger of Community Engagement and Exhibitions at Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country. Ken oversees community engagement projects throughout the six New England states and is responsible for the exhibitions program. Prior to coming to Historic New England, Ken was Executive Director of the Lynn Museum, an active local history museum in Lynn, Massachusetts. He has worked at a number of historic houses including the Paul Revere House in Boston and is a Trustee of the House of Seven Gables in Salem. He frequently consults on interpretive planning and community engagement projects at historic sites. These include Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee,  James Madison’s Montpellier, Orange, Virginia, Connecticut Landmarks, on the Palmer Warner House in East Haddam, Conneticut and with Donna Harris the Charnley-Norwood House in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Ken is on the faculty of Tufts University in the Museum Studies Department where he teaches a course, Revitalizing Historic House Museums.


Workshop: Reinventing the Historic House Museum

This workshop is full. Please check our calendar for future offerings of this workshop.

Reinventing the Historic House Museum is a one-day symposium is designed to offer current thinking, practical information, and solutions to the challenges facing historic sites. The Historic House Museum in America is not dead nor is it dying. The field, however, needs to take time to reflect and renew as the world around our historic homes continues to change. The symposium will include presentations by historic house game-changers and local historic site administrators, discussion, a boxed lunch, historic site visit, and a brainstorming workshop at a historic house museum to try out the new ideas proposed during the symposium.

Details:

This workshop is full. Please check our calendar for future offerings of this workshop.
Date: March 22, 2017
Location: Cliveden of the National Trust, Philadelphia, PA
Cost: $25 per person

Full Symposium Description:

Reinventing the Historic House Museum is a one-day symposium is designed to offer current thinking, practical information, and solutions to the challenges facing historic sites. The Historic House Museum in America is not dead nor is it dying. The field, however, needs to take time to reflect and renew as the world around our historic homes continues to change. The symposium will include presentations by historic house game-changers and local historic site administrators, discussion, a boxed lunch, historic site visit, and a brainstorming workshop at a historic house museum to try out the new ideas proposed during the symposium.

Why should I attend?

Reinventing the Historic House Museum goes beyond basic questions about Historic Houses to delve deeper into core issues regarding relevance, funding, and preparing for the future.

Here are some of issues and challenges that participants from the previous workshop have discussed:

-How to use the house’s history to tell the larger story of the city and county, as well as the house.
-Moving town museum into a historic house, so how to interpret both the house/family and town collections? How to renovate the house for museum purposes.
-What are the best ways to preserve the collections when we have no environmental controls (tarnishing of silver, textiles, rugs, photographs)?
-How to raise funds to maintain buildings at a state-owned site.
-Finding new ways to interpret the house to keep it engaging and interesting.
-How to change community perceptions of the site/museum?
-Attracting funding, developing maintenance plans and building attendance at a very rural location.
-Balancing long-term thinking versus everyday demands.
-Balancing preservation/conservation with being more available/access/education.
-Need to take a look at the bigger picture of operations and management.
-How to educate the board about the challenges and needs of museums.
-How do I better prepare students for careers in museums (particularly historic sites)?

Who should attend?

Participants in this class have ranged from emerging professionals and volunteers, to academic historians and professionals nearing the end of their careers. All have seen the value in the class and have been able to implement change at their organizations. In short, anyone who is interested in developing the skills to make their historic house interpretation and management better for their audiences and their stakeholders should attend this workshop.

Why Onsite?

Onsite workshops allow participants to not only observe the great work other institutions are doing, but also gives them a chance to network with other museum professionals. Of those who choose to attend an AASLH workshop, many make career-long connections with people who are as passionate about the field as they are.

Topics include:

What You Ought to Know about Opportunities and Threats
Led by Max van Balgooy, Principal, Engaging Places, LLC
Historic house museums face numerous challenges but figuring out which ones are serious or benign, urgent or important, temporary or long-term, isn’t easy. Max van Balgooy will present his analysis of the most important Opportunities and Threats facing historic sites in America based on the latest social and economic research, with a discussion on how they may relate to your house museum.

Reinventing the Historic House Museum
Led by Ken Turino, Manager of Community Engagement and Exhibitions, Historic New England

The purpose of this session is to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the rewards and challenges facing historic house museums today. Historic sites are looking for creative and sustainable ways to make themselves relevant to their communities. What is very exciting now is that many sites have risen to this challenge using different models and ways of interpreting to look beyond traditional models. The presentation will look at specific ways and examples of how historic houses have engaged with their communities, implemented creative forms of interpretation and programming as well as ways to earn income all to become more sustainable.

Each event will also include the perspective of a local historic site administrator as well as an onsite experience session at a historic house museum.

About the Faculty:

3333346Max van Balgooy is a national leader in historical interpretation and community engagement, with extensive experience in developing solutions in collaboration with volunteers, staff, trustees, residents, scholars, design professionals, business leaders, and elected officials.  A recognized researcher, author, and speaker on the trends, challenges, and opportunities facing museums, historic sites, and cultural organizations, Max uses his skills as a facilitator and consultant for developing plans for business strategy, historical interpretation, public programming, marketing, and online media. He also operates Engaging Places, LLC, a design and strategy firm that “connects people and historic places”

 

ken-turino

Kenneth Turino is Manger of Community Engagement and Exhibitions at Historic New England, the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the country. Ken oversees community engagement projects throughout the six New England states and is responsible for the traveling exhibitions program at Historic New England. Prior to coming to Historic New England, Ken was Executive Director of the Lynn Museum, an active local history museum in Lynn, Massachusetts. He has worked at a number of historic houses including the Paul Revere House in Boston and is a Trustee of the House of Seven Gables in Salem. He frequently consults on interpretive planning and community engagement projects at historic sites. These include the Nicholas House Museum, Boston, The Hermann-Grima and Gallier Historic Houses, New Orleans, and most recently with Donna Harris on the future of the Charnley-Norwood House in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Visit our Calendar of Events to learn about more AASLH Continuing Education Opportunities.

This workshop is generously underwritten by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage is a multidisciplinary grant maker and hub for knowledge-sharing, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. The Center invests in ambitious, imaginative projects that showcase the region’s cultural vitality and enhance public life, and engages in an ongoing exchange of ideas concerning artistic and interpretive practice with a broad network of cultural practitioners and leaders.