The second week of the seminar is underway
We started our second week by focusing inward on two important sets of skill and knowledge that leaders must have: financial management and building the board. Monday morning Jane Piasecki took us through financial management systems and practices. Jane is one of those rare people who understands both accounting and museums/history organizations. We covered charts of accounts, budget development and management, balance sheets, and a host of other tools and functions that leaders at any level in the organization must understand if they are going to be effective. After lunch Charlie Bryan engaged the class on the CEO’s responsibility to lead the board, and develop a practice of shared leadership. He drew on his twenty years experience as president of the Virginia Historical Society as well as current role as a consultant to boards around the country. Charlie emphasized the need to have a vision and strategic plan, grounded in core institutional values, to align the board’s work.
On Monday night the class met on its own to discuss the place of authentic objects in exhibits and programs. As we’ve discussed the shift in history organizations from internal focus to external, from collections focus to audience, a creative tension has emerged.
This morning John Herbst continued our discussion about organizational change and engaging audiences with presentation with the approach he and the staff at the Indiana Historical Society have taken. Drawing on the Experience Economy model presented by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, IHS has developed an array of programs that give visitors various experiences with Indiana history. The class engaged in a critical discussion about the benefits and challenges of this approach, and then started to develop ideas for their own organizations.