Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 2/24/2017

Liz NeelyMuseum News0 Comments

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This week’s Roundup shares stories celebrating one million visitors at NMAAHC, speaking up for arts funding, developing museum professionals, recognizing the importance of fair use and learning how to use data in your museum. Enjoy!

1. Cheers to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for serving its 1 millionth visitor since opening last September. The museum also reports longer than expected dwell times in its exhibitions. Congratulations to all who were involved in developing this wonderful museum!

One million visitors: Smithsonian’s new black history museum hits milestone

More than 1 million visitors have passed through the doors of the Smithsonian’s newest museum since it opened almost five months ago, and that number is expected to top 6 million in the first year. The museum announced Monday that the milestone it reached last week not only revealed extraordinary crowds but also extraordinary stays.

2. As future funding for many federal agencies is threatened, museum and arts leaders are speaking up in favor of continued federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). AAM President and CEO Laura Lott asserts that “these agencies play a uniquely valuable role in helping make the arts and humanities accessible to every American.” Support for these agencies is a key message at Museums Advocacy Day next week.

Museum Leaders Speak Out Against Proposed Elimination of Funding For National Endowment for the Arts

The Hill first reported in January that the National Endowment for the Arts is under threat, again. With a 2017 budget at $149.8 million — the NEA is a tiny fraction of federal spending — the 52-year-old agency has been subjected to budget cuts and threats of elimination before.

3. How do we develop a museum workforce that meets the changing needs of museums and the communities they serve? Several UK organizations commissioned a report released in September entitled Character Matters: Attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum Workforce addressing new types of training needed in the museum sector. The Museums+Heritage Advisor talks to Helen Wilkinson who served on the steering committee of the report. Do you see the same gaps in U.S. professional development for museums?

Workforce Development in museums – changing attitudes and nurturing skills – Museums + Heritage Advisor

Here Advisor talks to a key figure on the steering committee of the report: Character Matters: Attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum Workforce and the programme director for Creative & Cultural Skills ahead of its annual conference next week.

4. Happy Fair Use Week! In case you aren’t familiar, fair use is a legal doctrine in the U.S. that allows the use of copyrighted materials without permission under certain circumstances including many of importance to museums. The Fair Use Week website shares resources designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines. Boing Boing picked up one of the more fanciful examples as in the form of a video mashup.

Let It Go, the Fair Use Week mashup version

Charles Duan from Public Knowledge sends us “a video we put together for Fair Use Week about copyright and fair use, to the tune of ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen, and full of clips of other fair use videos.”

5. Museums have a lot of data – but how can we use this information to learn and improve what we do? AAM’s own Rob Stein kicks off a series of articles with hands-on exercises that help you get started working with data. Check it out!

Becoming a Data Startup – Part 1

Have you ever wished you could visualize and analyze some of your museum’s data, but weren’t quite sure how to start? Maybe you’re a museum person who is comfortable with technology, but not quite a coder. Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a technology person at all, but love to learn and see the value of data for helping your museum improve.


Do you have a great museum story to share? Let us know in the comments!

Have a great weekend.

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