– by Garland Courts
When a co-worker of mine mentions applying for Seminar in Historical Administration or another’s reminiscence of when they attended SHA; a flood of positive, happy memories return to my mind of my three weeks spent immersed in museum theory and lore facilitated by some of the finest museum professionals around. The opportunity to speak to these professionals one on one after their presentations was invaluable when asking “real” questions about museum life. “How do you deal with a difficult Board of Directors?”, “What do you value when hiring museum professionals?” or “You’re the head of a major museum, how did you get your start?” These types of conversations held over lunch or during our free time, get away from museum theory and delve into questions many of us have but never have a setting in which to ask them. I have spoken to a couple of these museum leaders long after attending SHA, I usually start with “I met you at SHA when you were presenting…”, all of them have been more than accommodating in our interaction.
On my bookshelf in my office sits my SHA binder, an overstuffed raggedy collection of papers and notes I gathered while attending the seminar ten years ago. Now, as a seasoned museum veteran, I don’t refer to that binder as much as I once did. Most of that binder is now ingrained in my mind, but I still value the connections I made through SHA and the education I received learning from real professionals that took time out of their busy schedules to be a part of the SHA faculty. Connections and interactions have a life lasting well beyond their actual occurrence, and this is the legacy that my participation with SHA has left me with, I am grateful.
Garland Courts, Director of Education
Las Cruces Museum System
Class of 2006