Class Fieldtrip: Models of Leadership

Wednesday, October 31, 2012- Models in Leadership


Today was an incredibly full and stimulating day in which we examined challenges that face museum leadership at three different sites.  At each museum, we examined governance, leadership models, mission, programming, and audience.

We began our tour at the Indiana Medical History Museum, located at the old Central Indiana Hospital for the Insane. There we met Mary Ellen Nottage, Executive Director.  Mary Ellen was enthusiastic about her work and exhibited a great deal of professional poise as she discussed the sensitive nature of her site’s history as a treatment facility for individuals with mental illness.  We were very inspired by her dedication and ingenuity in developing innovative programming for various audiences.

1896 Medical Amphitheater

Late 19th/ Early 20th century autopsy table


Next we visited Phyllis Geeslin, President and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.  At President Harrison’s Indianapolis home, we learned about the incredible work Phyllis and staff members are doing to teach Americans about President Benjamin Harrison’s laudable characteristics such as quiet charity, devotion to family, courage, and patriotism.

State Historic Marker for President Benjamin Harrison’s home in Indianapolis

Exterior of Harrison home

We then visited John Vanausdall, President and CEO of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.  John shared the unique challenges of making a museum of Western art relevant in Indiana.  The museum has had terrific success in meeting this challenge as its programming, attendance, and collection have grown tremendously in recent years.

Song of the Aspen, Eiteljorg Museum

Our day came to a beautiful ending with a harvest dinner at Twin Oaks, home of Indiana Historical Society’s President and CEO, John Herbst.  Great conversation and food in an inspired setting made for a memorable experience.

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