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Conference Archive

"Back to Basics: Covering Museum Fundamentals"
Ripley, WV - April 13-15, 2023

Collections Storage & Mold Mitigation

Jim Mitchell (West Virginia State Museum)

Grant Writing F.A.Q.s

Elizabeth Satterfield (Arthurdale Heritage) and Crystal Wimer (WVAM)

In the session, participants will learn practical tips on submitting a grant proposal and what attributes funding agencies and institutions look for in a successful application. Each presenter has experience writing awarded grant proposals at the private foundation, state, and federal level and are familiar with the challenges of turning in these grants with a small or volunteer staff. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to ask specific questions to get the guidance they need to submit their upcoming proposals.

Hidden Gem: NPS HFC Commissioned Art Collection

Kyle Bryner (NPS, Harpers Ferry Center)

The National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center Commissioned Art Collection is a free resource for anyone to use for educational and interpretive purposes. Learn how you can integrate objects from the HFC Commissioned Art Collection into your projects!
The National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center for Media Services often contracts art for interpretive projects to help visitors understand the many stories parks have to tell. A single work of art may be used for several different projects for different parks, used by external researchers, or used in educational publications and interpretive projects outside of the NPS.

Mission Statements and Collections Policies

Jim Mitchell (West Virginia State Museum)

Escape Rooms and You: Incorporating One into Historic Spaces

Christopher Mielke (Beverly Heritage Center) and Samantha Ryder (AFNHA AmeriCorps, Beverly Heritage Center)

This is a panel about how the Beverly Heritage Center was able to take one room in the 1841 Randolph County Jail and turn it into the first Escape Room in the County. We will go over the practical elements as well as the pros and cons of having one in this historic space.

Foundations for Success: Nonprofit Management Tools of the Trade

Danielle Parker (Preservation Alliance of West Virginia)

This session will be a primer in nonprofit governance, management, and fundraising with special focus on museums, heritage sites, and historical/genealogical societies. Discover ways to effectively manage your nonprofit, increase your fundraising success, and meet your mission.

Fostering Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Elizabeth Satterfield (Arthurdale Heritage) and Claire Tryon (Arthurdale Heritage)

As stewards of local history and culture, museums and historic sites have long been vital community institutions. But with aging volunteers and limited capacities, it is increasingly challenging for cultural organizations to remain relevant and vibrant in today's fast-paced  society. Using Arthurdale Heritage in Preston County as the primary case study, this session will explore creative ideas to foster community engagement and recruit and retain volunteers. From social media to family-oriented events to local partnerships, this session offers realistic ideas that can be implemented in museums of all shapes and sizes. 

Internal Advocacy for Collections Care

Dyani Feige (Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts)

Advocacy is not only external – it is crucial for museum staff to be able to advocate internally as well, to co-workers, board, and administration, in order to assure that resources are best allocated. This session explores routes for both external and internal advocacy with a focus on collections care: securing time and funding for preservation initiatives and conservation treatment, and will discuss opportunities for incorporating information about preservation into all museum advocacy efforts. Museums couldn’t exist without the care that happens behind the scenes; by raising awareness of its importance, staff will have greater potential to preserve collections for years to come. The speaker will present suggestions to ensure that preservation is incorporated into all levels and considerations of institutional operation, as well as guidance on external advocacy to make the case for preservation initiatives to legislators, funders, and other external stakeholders. The lecture will be followed by a group activity in which participants use practical tips to explore crafting an advocacy message for their collections and/or institutions

Breathing New Life into Dying Museums

Faith Walker (PAWV AmeriCorps, The Great Bend Museum)

The Jackson County Historical Society founded the Washington’s Western Lands Museum in 1972 to preserve county history. However, most of its founding members who were also most active in its administration died around 2000. For the next two decades the museum limped along with a reduced capacity and an overwhelmed director who eventually passed away herself. In 2020 the Historical Society negotiated to transfer the collection and buildings to the City of Ravenswood. This new management has sought to update and revitalize all aspects of the museum (now renamed as The Great Bend Museum), incorporating current museum best practices and creating deliberate change to an institution that had gone stagnant. This presentation aims to cover some of the actions we’ve taken to reopen, revitalize, and rethink our once-dead museum, and provide advice and guidance for other museums navigating similar situations.

Collection Labeling--Tags, Sewing, Number Scheme

Jim Mitchell (West Virginia State Museum)

Removing Barriers Through Authentic Communication

Ceci Dadisman (The Mosaic Group)

Are you messaging your organization's events in a way that is compelling? This session will show you how to break down silos and eliminate jargon so you can create meaningful, relevant communications that will resonate with your audience. We'll look at case studies from the arts world and beyond as well as data that will guide you to messaging your organization and events more effectively. You'll leave this session inspired to up your storytelling game in a way that increases engagement and sales. This session will focus on a tactical approach for organizations of all budget sizes and attendees will walk away with actionable knowledge about: the importance of authenticity in communications, what barriers audiences see in attending arts events, and methods brands are using to deepen engagement through communications.

Automate to Communicate

Ceci Dadisman (The Mosaic Group)

Having a strong understanding of your patrons' journeys is crucial to maintaining a strong relationship. The more targeted and personalized each touchpoint is, the more engaged they will be with your organization. This session will identify how to use multi channel automation to communicate more effectively and efficiently with visitors, donors, supporters, and the community.

We'll look at methodology that uses automation to save staff time while increasing relevant communications. Upon the conclusion of the sessions, you'll be able to craft a patron journey map, identify a holistic communications plan, create messaging for each channel, and understand which channels are effective for your organization.

Like, Subscribe, Follow: Next Level Strategy for Social Media Mastery

Ceci Dadisman (The Mosaic Group)

Are you looking to take your social media strategy to the next level? This session will equip you with strategies and methodology on how to best utilize social media to engage current and future patrons. You'll learn how to achieve the highest return and how to track the results.

This session will focus on a tactical approach for organizations of all budget sizes and attendees will walk away with actionable knowledge about: Identifying Target Audiences, Post Structure Best Practices, Creating Compelling Messaging, and Successful Advertising Strategies.

Interpretation As Foundation

Joe Obidzinski (WVU Jacksons Mill)

The principles of thematic interpretation can offer museums and historic sites far more than simply a way to share their story with their audience. It can help that organization shape their efforts to help develop (or redefine) their focus on things such as their mission statement, collections policies, recruitment of staff, volunteers, and donors. The presentation will discuss how a knowledge of and usage of the principles of interpretation can help any organization with their goals of sustainability and growth.

Thematic Tours: Creating Narratives to Engage Visitors

Katie Thompson (PAWV AmeriCorps, WVAM & Arthurdale Heritage)

Tours are a staple of museum and site interpretation, but is your tour getting your information across and engaging your visitors in a meaningful experience? Unorganized or unfocused tours can be confusing or uninteresting to visitors and purely scripted tours don’t often inspire repeat visitation. This session will cover creating a theme and narrative to tie your entire tour together, strategies for writing tours, dos and don'ts of tour interpretation, and tips for engaging with visitors.

Maintenance is Preservation: Ensuring the Longevity of Your Historic Building

Sharon David (PAWV AmeriCorps, Friends of Wheeling), Danielle Parker (Preservation Alliance of WV) and Jon Smith (Smith Family of Workshops)

Helping museums develop and implement effective maintenance plans is crucial to ensuring the long-term viability of historic structures. Learn the value of maintenance, the barriers that prevent people from doing it on time, the price tag for deferring maintenance, and the best practices for saving money and preserving history with ease.

Nuts, Bolts, & Brass Tacks of Exhibit Design

Kyle Warmack (West Virginia Humanities Council)

For the average small museum, creating new exhibits with engaging visuals and professionalgrade content can be a huge challenge. Learn how to meet those challenges in this can-do workshop, where we’ll look at specific materials, visual strategies, and essential tools for building exciting exhibits on a tight budget. The session will include material samples to touch and look at, and a robust Q&A to discuss attendees’ own exhibit projects.

Keynote Address

"From Responsibilities to Respect: Ethical Issues in Museum Management"

Dr. Sally Yerkovich

Website Optimization (Without a Redesign)

Ceci Dadisman (The Mosaic Group)

Optimizing your website doesn't always mean a complete redesign. This session will equip you with strategies and methodology on how you can make small changes to your website that deliver big results. You'll learn how to achieve the highest return on your efforts and how to track the results. Topics we'll cover include: how users interact with websites, design best practices, landing page optimization, and Google Analytics training. You'll leave this session with concrete and achievable takeaways that you can implement right away on your website.

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