Sunday, December 18, 2011

Got Something to Say? This Space Available

As the end of the year closes in,  I'm thinking about both the past and the year to come.  As I think about the past year, I realize how many voices I value.  Some of them are the ones close to me--Drew, Anna (above) and the rest of my lively family;  my strategic planning colleagues;  Sarah Crow, my Pickle Project partner; my walking partner Anne; and the clients who dig deep and commit to thinking about new ways of doing things.
My Ukrainian colleagues and friends (for example, Ihor and Tania Poshyvailo, above)  continue to be sources of inspiration as they work to remake their institutions or create new organizations against pretty some pretty incredible odds.  Some of the voices I value are just people I meet along the way.  I love the process of talking to museum visitors and potential visitors, something I just did last week in Canandaigua, NY.  Every museum should do more of it. Some of the voices are the ones implicit in exhibits--from Ukraine to Iceland to here in the US--when an exhibit works, it's a delightful place to be.

Our Pickle Project Conversations this fall showed me that building a space for free and open conversations can be a critical part of creating a civil society.  I'm always thrilled by the willingness of everyday people to share their thoughts on what we're trying to do from 18th century western New York to making manti in Crimea.  At several conferences this year I've found myself having memorable conversations with someone entirely new (a great lesson about approaching strangers at these things).  And conference session participants have been lively and thoughtful.
Then of course, there are those bloggers:  Nina Simon as she takes on a new challenge;  Anne Ackerson; Jasper Visser; newbie blogger Gretchen Jennings;  Beth Merritt ever considering the future; Susie Wilkening and many others.  This year there's also the voices of the people I follow on Twitter, from near and far, as they make me think, lead me to new ideas, and make me laugh, all in 140 characters or less.

For a long time when I wrote this blog, I felt like no one was reading--so the voices of those who comment are especially valued and I'm always happy to see a comment pop-up.  Keep up the great work, you commenters.

But I want to hear more of your voices.  In the coming year, I hope to feature guest bloggers here at the Uncataloged Museum.  Have you read a great book that connects to your work,  seen a compelling exhibit, or just need space to try out a new idea?  I'm particularly interested in featuring colleagues from outside the United States--so as your new year approaches, consider joining me here.   I look forward to many more lively conversations in the coming months.

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