Presenting professional development is a also process of learning for all us. I thought I'd share a bit of our lessons learned. We're conducting our online evaluations this week, so in a later post I'll be sharing what our participants thought and learned.
Tricia commented, "I was impressed by how willing and eager and interested our attendees were in getting better at what they do so that they can serve their visitors more effectively. It was inspiring to see the enthusiasm and, seeing a definite lack of complacency, made me feel hopeful for the future of Ukrainian museums."
We all built practical skills. We planned the workshops while we were in four different locations (at least!). Google docs, including the ability to create surveys, was a great asset to our work. This project, so well planned by Ihor, set the bar for a standard of workshops and the expectations of hosts. We actually had a competition to host the workshop, so host museums really felt a part of it, receiving some grant funds for responsibilities, rather than just offering a space. I did some tweeting and instagramming and found some colleagues in the room doing the same. I also learned that evidently "selfie" needs no translation.
Both Ihor and Eugene mentioned a lesson that's true for so many museums, no matter where. As Ihor said, "Around us there are plenty of simple decisions. These simple but important decisions are what works today--how to do a lot with less." And Eugene commented, "Changes without big grants are important for all participants." Got that lesson everyone? It might be one that matters the most, no matter where you are. So get out those Post-its.
For me, a final lesson--changes are not made by governments, by foundations, by rules and regulations. As a nation, Ukraine set upon a different course this past year by the actions of people. And so museums are also changing by the actions of people. This quote from Margaret Mead is overused, but true,
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.These workshops were supported by a grant from the US Embassy in Ukraine. Our big thanks go to the embassy for their support and many thanks directly to Katie Hallock, Vira Maximova and intern Christi-Anne Hofland of the Cultural Affairs office who made it so easy for us to do our work.
If you want to hear more about this project, working cross culturally and the Honchar Museum's other professional development project, we'll be presenting an AAM webinar on November 19. Check back for full details.