Monday, January 9, 2017

10 x 10: My Favorite Posts from the Last 10 Years

This week is the tenth anniversary of this blog. I couldn't have guessed ten years ago, that I would still be writing on a pretty consistent basis, nor could I have imagined all the places I would go, the experiences I would have, or the lessons I would learn (some easily, some definitely the hard way). To celebrate, I've gone back and chosen a favorite post from each year. These posts weren't necessarily the most-read, but the ones that speak to me still.

My own lifelong learning and the chance to support learning through Donors Choose. On re-reading, an appreciation of my parents and of the chance to pay it forward.
Learning for a Lifetime

This post, about a project for the Montgomery County Historical Society, is really about the power of listening to visitors and communities.  I still share this experience on a regular basis as it continues to resonate, particularly in these times.
The Story of La Guerra Civil or Why I Work in Museums

I went to Ukraine for the first time this year, initially for four months as a Fulbright Scholar.  I blogged a lot this year--124 total posts.  Most posts were me trying to make sense of my time in Ukraine. In retrospect, I can see myself learning on the fly, even in some ways I didn't quite imagine. This year is also when my readership began to rise, as I was the museum person writing in English about museums in Ukraine and the post-Soviet world. This post, about a visit to Chernobyl, another experience that remains deeply with me.

Upon re-reading this post, I was struck by the continuing importance of deep personal connections. One of the stories is about Crimea, more meaningful and poignant now.

Not much extra comment needed.  Not much has changed since this post except more sustained attention to the issue of gender in museums.
Want to Be a Museum Director? Evidently, Be a Man

I'm lucky enough that my work takes me to all kinds of museums and I enjoy reporting back on work that surprises, intrigues and stimulates me.  Here, a Parisian museum totally took me by surprise, in the best way.
When Was the Last Time You Were Surprised at a Museum?

An interview, as history was being made, with my dear friend and colleague, Ihor Poshyvailo, about museums and Maidan. It's fitting that he's now director of the new Revolution of Dignity Museum in Ukraine.
"Our History Museums will Include the Events of These Days"

Over the last several years I've written often about the process of re-interpretation at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. In this one, we're encouraged to give up chronology in the service of more interesting interpretation.
Surrender the Chronology!

Connected to #museumsrespondtoFerguson, this post reflects on the ways I view my own responsibility to work for change after attending an AAM meeting.
We Are Not Separate from Politics: AAM and Beyond

Back to reporting on surprising museums--and tremendous labels.
Brilliant Labels in Dublin: Sweets, Nudes and U2

Here's hoping for another ten years of museum visiting, drinking coffee, meeting all of you, traveling, blogging and learning.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017: New Challenges, New Changes

Regular blog readers will know two things: one, that I've been pondering, post-election, the ways I might be able to make more of a contribution in the world; and two, that my career has taken all sorts of unexpected paths.  2017 will be a big year of change and challenge for me as both those items come into play. I'm incredibly pleased to announce that on February 1, I begin a full-time position as Global Networks Program Director for the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

If you're not familiar with the Sites of Conscience, it's a vital and important organization with a great team. As a network of more than 200 sites and organizations in 55 countries, it has the mission of "activating the power of places of memory to engage the public in connecting past and present in order to envision and shape a more just and humane future."  I've used the Coalition's resources in a variety of ways to help shape dialogue-based conversations in Ukraine and with other clients;  it's an honor to take this step of full involvement in their work.

The Coalition’s regional programmatic efforts are focused in seven regional networks: Asia, Africa, Russia, Latin America, Europe, North America, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  My team's work will be focused on developing opportunities for learning in all kinds of ways, including peer-to-peer. We'll encourage effective advocacy, and develop other creative, mission-based ways for sites to work and learn together.  Together we will facilitate plans for regional and cross-regional collaborations and work on expanded ways to share ideas and information.

There's much for me to learn. I look forward to sharing my learning process with all of you in blog entries in the coming year. To end this new beginnings post, I wanted to share a dialogue question from a participant in a Ukrainian workshop a few years ago. In this times, it's a good thing to keep those dreams for a peaceful, just world fully in our sights.