Workshop: Reinventing the Historic House Museum

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:
Date: October 5, 2017
Location: Alexander Majors House & Barn, Kansas City, Missouri
Cost: $30 per person

Register

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)?

Register

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.

Register

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.

Register

 

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

 

This workshop is generously underwritten by Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area. Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area is dedicated to building awareness of the struggles for freedom in western Missouri and eastern Kansas. Freedom’s Frontier empowers partners and residents to preserve and share our diverse and interwoven stories by providing training and cooperative opportunities such as this workshop.

For more information on Freedom’s Frontier visit www.freedomsfrontier.org


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.


A Historic House Exposed: Why Millermore is Pulling Back the Curtain for Visitors

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The Master Bedroom currently contains all of the modern things that complete a historic home.

In honor of Dallas Heritage Village's 50th anniversary, a new exhibit in their signature home, Millermore, shows visitors how historic house exhibits are created.

My younger self was belly down on the antique rug, stretching to extend the vacuum hose under a bed and eradicate an extensive spider colony. Fifteen years ago my belly was much flatter and my job at Dallas Heritage Village was cleaning the exhibit buildings. I got to know the period room displays very well, every knick-knack, every dust catcher, every old stain. I noticed a certain degree of repetition. In 2001, Dallas Heritage Village had 21 fully made beds on display. In 2015, Dallas Heritage Village still had 21 fully made beds on display. As of September 1, we are down to 15 and if Goldilocks is sleepy she need not bother to visit Millermore because none of them are there.

In August, me and my merry band of exhausted furniture movers changed everything in Millermore. The last time Millermore changed much was when it moved to our site in 1969, when I was 6 years old. I am now 53 and find vacuuming while prone increasingly difficult, because things change with the passage of time. Even history changes. We learn new facts, think about them differently, and ask questions people didn’t ask when Millermore first opened its doors to the public.

 

IMG_0483
A parade of chairs exits Millermore. The parade is led by Lynn Vogt, granddaughter of DHV’s founder and the children of staff members.

So right now (until the end of July), Millermore is a mess, a careful, artful mess of which I am quite proud. Instead of showing what Millermore looked like in 1861, it now shows how a curator would go about making it look like it did in 1861. Different rooms show the resources available for that project, including actual Miller possessions, assorted reproductions, and a giant pile of non-Miller owned antiques without which the museum house could never have been furnished. I have recorded the curator’s thoughts on notes in the windows and tags on the furniture. If you ever assumed being a curator is a lofty intellectual and artistic profession filled with great thoughts, you may need to change your mind.

Speaking of your mind, Millermore wants you to exercise it, maybe even strain a muscle, to see a new side of the house. If a future historian visited your home to learn about our time, the lesson would be different with each visit. One day your family is intrigued by news of national importance entering your world by various twenty-first-century media. The next you are constructing a giant homecoming mum and trolling the internet for the best deal on electric service. A family member could be observed experiencing our lack of cure for the common cold, while an eighteen year old son is off to register for selective service. And for no logical reason Fido is wearing a rhinestone collar and a plumed hat.

 

The formal parlor is currently full of all the period pieces that make up the majority of the contents of the house.

If your house can be a multifaceted and ever-changing exhibit space, Millermore can change its message at least once. Millermore and I have both grown up enough now to see that we should be bold. So our current exhibit, “Millermore Exposed,” not only sounds slightly dirty but is different than what was there, and I make no limiting promises about what will appear there in the future. Or what you may see in Sullivan, or the bank, or that purple house that we currently call the Blum house but there were never any Blums so we are going to call it something else. Dallas Heritage Village is a museum about history, not an unchanging snapshot of one moment in history. Our visitors can handle more than one lesson at the Village. In fact, they might prefer some surprises.

 

Evelyn (left) and Mandy roll up one of the carpets as DHV staff empty Millermore in preparation for a fresh coat of paint.
Evelyn (left) and Mandy roll up one of the carpets as DHV staff empty Millermore in preparation for a fresh coat of paint.

Want to write for AASLH? Learn more and submit an article here


Does Your Historic House Need Reinventing?

AASLH is helping historic sites around the US look at how they engage with their communities and their sustainability and in a one-day symposium, Reinventing the Historic House Museum. After successful workshops in session in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Atlanta, and Woodstock Vermont, last year, we kicked off this year with St. Louis in April. Another is slated for May 20, 2016 in New Orleans.

 

Photo by Max A. van Balgooy
Photo by Max A. van Balgooy

The Historic House Museum in America is not dead nor are most of them dying. The field, however, needs to take time to reflect and renew as the world around our historic sites continues to change. This one-day symposium is designed to offer practical information, including ways to analysis your historic sites competitiveness. Presenter Max van Balgooy, President, Engaging Places LLC, says “The real point of competition is not to beat your rivals but to find a position in the community that ensures you are distinctive, sustainable, and mission driven.” The workshop also offers solutions to the challenges facing historic sites, and shows plenty of examples of successful sites who have connected to their communities, become sustainable, and attracted visitors.

 

Symposium in St. Louis
Symposium in St. Louis

After looking at current reports to the field such as the Historic Site visits of the Humanities Indicators , Max van Balgooy discusses The Five Forces that are Affecting Your Historic House Museum, his analysis of the most important opportunities and threats facing historic sites in America. This presentation is based on the latest social and economic research and includes a discussion on strategies for responding to these external forces at your house museum. We follow this with a practical exercise in how you can take this tool back and use it strategically to evaluate programs and your site.

Photo by Ken Turino
Photo by Ken Turino

I provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the rewards and challenges facing historic house museums today by giving examples of sites across the country who have implemented creative forms of interpretation and programming as well as ways to earn income all to become more sustainable.

In these symposiums we have plenty of time for discussion and visit a historic site visit. If you would like to join us at the Historic New Orleans Collections you can register here.