Last Friday morning, John, a fellow CMMM Trustee, and I were on our way into North Battleford for the Museums Association of Saskatchewan (MAS) course, Museums 101, and wondering what-the-heck had we gotten ourselves into? Hosted by the Allen Sapp Gallery, the workshop was scheduled to be a 6 – 7 hour presentation based upon a 120 page, coiled, policy handbook. Not the most exciting subject matter, to be sure, but were we pleasantly surprised!
Kim Houghtaling, Curator of the Art Gallery of Swift Current (seated above), and our MAS Representative, Dan Holbrow (standing), led us through the material in a series of PowerPoints, readings and round-table discussions. Houghtaling was a great moderator and, almost effortlessly, synthesized the information presented by the group leaders. Holbrow showed us, time and again, how MAS had the resources to help with many of the situations our museums encounter. Our surroundings were enlivened by beautiful artwork; we were served lots of good food during our breaks and we were able to connect with other museum professionals.
And, that’s probably one of the more interesting things we learned from the course: When our volunteer-driven museum follows the procedures and protocols set out in the Standards for Saskatchewan Museums, we become professionals; our museum is seen to be managed in a professional manner. The CMMM has already incorporated many of these standards into its operations and we have our Curator, Lucille, to thank for that!
I also spoke to representatives from the Melfort and Sturgis Museums, from the Allen Sapp Gallery and from the Saskatchewan Baseball Hall of Fame in Battleford. We shared tips on preserving heritage buildings; commiserated with each other about the agonies of grant writing and realized, no matter the age of the building, there will always be pests to control. I confess I’m taking away much more than I’d anticipated and, in the process, have met some wonderful people that I’m looking forward to seeing, again.
~ Debbie M.