The Executive Board of the American Association of Museums
Standing Profession Committee on Education (EdCom)
Denver, April 2008
James Hakala, Chair
Scott Kratz, Vice Chair, Issues
Denise Gray, Vice Chair, Membership
Cheryl Palmer, Vice Chair, Awards
Louise Cameron, Secretary (outgoing)
Lynda Kennedy, Secretary (incoming)
Members at Large
Association of Midwest Museums: Nathan Richie
Mid Atlantic Association Of Museums: Heide Hinish
New England Museum Association: Jennifer Beradino
Mountain-Plains Museum Association: Susan Miner (Co-Chair, National) & Katherine Schlageck (Co-Chair, Regional)
AAM Staff Liaison: Eileen Goldspiel
Ann Fortescue (Past Chair) joined us ½ way through
Gail Ravnitsky Silberglied, Government Relations Director for AAM attended the beginning of the meeting
Minutes taken by Lynda Kennedy, Secretary
I. Welcome and Introductions agenda Review
II. Chair’s report – Approval of Minutes, SPC Council update
Louise motioned for approval of the minutes including the adjustments recommended by members. The motion was seconded
and unanimously carried.
Eileen Goldspiel, Director of the Museum Value Project for AAM was asked to speak to the reorganization of AAM‟s
structure. She described the three main strands and briefly outlined what they stand for: Membership services for members,
Field wide services (National Program for Museum Excellence, Campaign for the Value of Museums, Center for the Future of
museums, etc)., and Income generators (expo, magazine, etc.). Meetings and professional development are sort of straddling
the Membership and Field wide strands. She introduced Gail Ravnitsky Silberglied, the new Government Relations Director
for AAM. Other new positions are VP for Development and VP for Marketing/PR.
Gail‟s mission is to build a comprehensive legislative agenda. She is struck by the fact there hasn‟t been a museum presence on
capital hill (unlike the arts with “arts advocacy day, etc.) She wants museums, libraries and schools to be thought of together
“like a three legged stool” by policy makers and legislative representatives.
Jim Hakala Began his report by expressing the feeling that this is a very exciting time to be involved with AAM.
SPC reviews: The SPC council is currently reviewing the SPCs. EdCom went through he process but the AAM Board has
since suspended the process, unconvinced that this is the best way to assess the Committees. The Councils have put
together a task force to take a look at who we are and what we do. It seems a lot of SPCs are struggling with their purpose.
To help focus the process, Jim shared EdCOM‟s rack card with them and talked about the origins of EdCom and the
motivations behind it. Jim underscored that AAM is not trying to lose the SPC‟s they are trying to find the best way to
maximize the use of SPCs.
Issue: Jim shared that only 13% or museums belong to AAM and only 8% of museum professionals belong to AAM. To
promote wider participation we need to really think about member benefits.
News: Jim has been elected Vice Chair for the SPC council.
Joint Council Meeting: Jim informed us that at the Joint Council meeting Ford Bell spoke about the new initiatives and
how the new strategic agenda has been informing these changes.
Discussion: Carol and Susan both brought up a need to reach out to more professionals if we want to expand from the 8%
AAM membership. Eileen Goldspiel said they are thinking about how AAM can build membership and support museums in
meeting standards and using best practices to achieve excellence by offering multiple points of entry that are accessible to
institutions of all types and sizes.
Other thoughts: EdCom could possibly mentor SPCs who are struggling.
III. EdCom Activities at the 2008 meeting
Heather reported that all seems to be ready to go for this year‟s meeting.
She thanked Jennifer for the collection of images from Museums.
Awards: Cheryl Palmer spoke about the awards to be presented.
Excellence in Published Resources: Chicago History Museum; The Philips Collection
Excellence in Programming: National Building Museum
Excellence in Practice: Claudia Ocello
Cheryl reported that we received more nominations for excellence in programming and excellence in practice than in the
past and we received fewer applicants for the diversity fellowship awards.
Scott offered to help with sending out information to recruit diversity fellows as Region representative.
Discussion: Nathaniel asked about the definition of diversity and whether or not diversity includes rural. Lynda asked if
it also included socio economic challenges.
Action: Cheryl asked if people could work with her to establish guidelines for the diversity fellows and marketing to more
diverse audiences to find things. Jim recommended contacting the diversity committee for advice
Tuesday’s business lunch: Presentation by Robert Garfinkle. Heather will say a few words about proposals for next year
and next year‟s theme- the Museum Experiment- three key words- Relevant, Responsive and Real. Looking for proposals
that engage the public, promote learning, embracing diversity- innovative practices and strategies.
Sessions: EdCOM has endorsed 10 sessions this year and are attached to others. Heather requested those who go to these
sessions to take notes about what works, what doesn‟t etc. Lynda asked if we can get direct feedback from our members-
we can send an email blast, remind people at the lunch, etc. Heather said there is a link on our site where folks can do that.
Feedback does not come from AAM until well after we are already dealing with next year‟s proposals.
Marketplace: Katherine spoke about he marketplace of ideas and stated that we have good representation.
Booth: As usual, EdCom has a booth in the museum expo and volunteers were asked for to “people” the booth at specific
times. Jen put together paper links asking for memorable museum experiences for “linking museum educators” across 35
years (they will be at the Booth).
Anniversary: Jim asked if the EdCom anniversary can be mentioned on at the general session
IV. Treasurer’s Report
The treasurer‟s report was sent via email prior to the meeting. Jim thinks we will surpass some of the expectations.
In the area of “Expenses” we have struggled to find areas in which to “tighten our belt”.
We need to think about ways to increase income and decrease expenses.
Sponsorship: Jim has a goal to get sponsorship for our meeting events. If we could get our events at AAM at least partially
sponsored we could give back to members by giving a budget to the Regions etc. We could work with the emerging
professionals group to do evenings or other informal events for networking. HE would like to hold this conversation over the
next 6 months.
Cheryl had a concern about the cost of awards and their shipping and wanted to know if we could change the line item for
awards program to $400 rather than $350 and for awards to $450 rather than $400. It was suggested that perhaps we only
create brochures for the award recipients and our archives and find another way to list the recipients for others who attend (who
probably do not keep the programs). Carol suggested one-sheets for others visitors.
Stub year budget: Cheryl moved that we approve the 2008 stub year budget. Stub year budget passed unanimously.
Action: Jim would like us to have an electronic discussion of the 2009 budget and pass it before January‟s meeting.
Vice Chair Issues: Scott reported that Vice Chair positions have been slightly tweaked and guidelines regarding independent
professionals have been changed.
Web update: Things are ticking along well. Leah forwarded the website schedule of completion via email. By Oct. 2008 she
wants to complete the awards section and implement the magnet mail through AAM. By Feb. 2009 the complete calendar and
professional development resources will be up.
Learning in museum 2008: Jim talked with Greg Stephens who is coordinating LIM. Just under 40 people have pre-
registered (are target is 100). We have 2 Fellowship recipients. The cosponsors are the Media and Technology and Small
Museums groups and they also have Fellows (for 5 total). Marcella, who has been working on this as well, expressed
excitement for the opportunity to really address technology in museums.
Nominating Committee: Susan shared that the slate of nominations was accepted unanimously by those that responded, but
that it was a small fraction of our membership. She feels that this is because it was an uncontested slate. She also found a
problem when the slate was embedded in the newsletter rather than sent as a separate request. She raised the question if we
want to continue on with an uncontested slate or have a contested race. It was discussed that perhaps EdCom members could
vote online by logging in. Marcella pointed out that sometimes folks can‟t find their AAM number (or card). She also
mentioned a model of a Board development committee rather than a nominating committee- so they cold target needed talent
that can promote the vision of EdCom. Suzy Minor pointed out that the Regional Chairs should have participated in the
nominating process. Susan said she did not get a strong response from the Regional group.
Scott said that we should re-contact the self-nominators and other nominees and invite them to join a committee so they can
get involved with EdCom and see how it all works. Nathan also asked that there be clarifications for the role of the Regions in
Appointing a nominating committee chair:
Suzy Minor said she would help out. Nathan will become Nominating Committee Chair.
Exhibition Competition: Maria will be stepping down. A replacement will be needed and appointed next year. Materials are
in the Marketplace of Ideas.
Archives: Carol reported that the archives are ticking along smoothly. Two students Margaret Lynn and Lauren Wilson had
been helpful in organizing this. Carol has asked why our archives are not yet available on the Smithsonian‟s website. She
received the answer that in 2005 the Smithsonian decided to go digital but they decided to work backwards before digitizing
newer material. As our records were submitted after 2005 they will be processed once Smithsonian staff finish going
backwards from 2004.
VI. 2009 Meeting
2009 Theme: The Museum Experiment.
Challenge- Continuing to look for alternative formats: This promoted a lively discussion. Lynda suggested that someone
bring up the idea of how the purpose of the session might dictate the set up and format. Heather brought up the idea of perhaps
seeing how EdCom can get involved with all of the different avenues for engagement currently at AAM. Susan suggested
having a session in a more formal way and then a follow up. Ideas around follow up from year to year were also discussed.
Anne brought up the difficulty of the “uncontrolled” event that is your session if you are trying something new- it is not your
space, you don‟t know how many participants there will be, etc. She suggested that we push he boundaries- promote related
sessions, promotes sequential sessions from year to year. Stevie said a year to year approach could challenge people to take
ideas to try them out and report back. Heidi said format is important, but that a good presenter is a good presenter. Carol was
thinking aloud about a way that we could cross over between are “silos” of specialties- something that could address the need
for communication between players, perhaps some sort of forum. We also discussed wanting to promote more substantive
engagement for participants beyond the feedback form.
Diane suggested that we ask these questions of our membership- what works for them and what they want.
Jim said the Jon Webb of the National Program committee stated that people are not interested in “Self congratulatory
testimonials” they want networking and nuts and bolts – „how to‟ sessions, mentoring and training, science museums, history
museums, etc. Also, sessions reflecting AAM initiatives- staff training, value of museums, diversity, etc.
Anne encourages us to reach out to the security committee and partner up with them to do a session about their interfacing with
the public. They have insight about how to operated a museum facility balancing the needs of the visitor and the also the needs
of the collection.
AAM is looking at having different room set ups as well.
Jim asked Marcella to think about organizing a session based on learning in Museums 2008 for AAM 2009.
Workshops: Do we want them? Diane suggested that we get a pro/con list going to see if it is worth it. Apparently
transportation and catering kills the budget. Thoughts- let people walk and find their own lunch. Partnering was suggested by
Nathan and Scott. Suzy M. suggested building on the „onsite insight‟ model and coordinate with the local institutions. Sherry
suggested we see what elements EdCom wants to focus on and use the workshop to promote that. Using the Regions could help
drive attendance to the Regional meetings. Nathan suggested the No Museum Left Behind event might be revamped for
Action: Introduce people to Heather who can help organize events for 2009 in Philadelphia (a few people said they new Philly
Heidi as MAAM rep will be program assistant in Philadelphia in 2009
Sherry will be program assistant in 2010.
Submission Reviewers for 2009: Stevie, Sherry, Heidi, Susan, Katherine.
VII Other Business
Regional Share: Nathan said that the No Museum Left Behind session drew about 70 people. They had a great keynote. A
panel of teachers gave good feedback. Principals turn out to be a key audience.
Heidi’s region report was emailed. MAAM will be in DC in October. They had a recent event on Building Museums and
Motion to Adjourn.