usf

Newsletter

Vol. 2, No. 1

FM

US Federation of Friends of Museums

1050 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20036-5137 • www.usffm.com

Board of Trustees

Murray R. Tarnapoll, President

Meredith C. Boren, Vice President

Robert W. Sharp

John W. Barnum

Nancy G. Barnum

Julie C. Duer

Enid G. Hyde

Sheila McGinity

Pamela Peabody

Susanna T. Saunders

Mary Naquin Sharp, USFFM Founder

Betty G. Zucker, Treasurer

Alison Y. Sharp, Secretary

Constance Pirtle, Liaison with the AAMV

The USFFM was founded in 1989 as the U.S. member of the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM). Its purpose is to encourage volunteer efforts for museums, to facilitate an exchange of information among Friends organizations both nationally and internationally, and to promote the role of museums in cultural preservation.


CURRENT NEWS

From the President’s desk

The global financial crisis has created hardships throughout all aspects of life. Government institutions and not-for-profit museums are some of the most affected areas. This present crisis has now mandated a draconian approach to museum planning and budgeting because the past pool of funding resources is not increasing enough to accommodate the large numbers of new institutions and the explosive financial needs of the established ones. Volunteers are important contributors in good times and are now essential to many museums during this crisis.

The USFFM is an important tool in the fight to keep our institutions viable. With our network of Friends’ organizations throughout the world, our ability to direct fellow Friends’ groups to others with similar hardships (with advice as to how they were addressed) is more important than ever. Our efforts to fulfill the role of museum volunteers’ educational development will continue through e-mail, newsletters, meetings, and conferences. A greater volunteer participation will undoubtedly be needed at our institutions. Therefore, we are dedicated to providing any information to insure that our members are an educated and informed group.

Murray R. Tarnapoll

WFFM CONGRESS in Jerusalem, Israel September 21 – 26, 2008

One of the most important events organized by the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM) is the Triennial Congress. Previous Congresses in recent years have been held in Sydney, Seville, Buenos Aires and Oaxaca. This year’s Congress was hosted by the International Council of the Israel Museum and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Danny Ben Natan, Vice president for Development and International Relations of the Israel Museum was the Congress convener. Over 150 participants and their companions from approximately 20 countries attended. Among the USFFM Trustees attending were John W. Barnum, former USFFM President and WFFM Vice President for North America and Nancy Barnum (Washington, D.C. and Brussels); Susanna Saunders (Philadelphia); Betty Zucker (Los Angeles). Other

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American members were from Boston, New York, San Francisco and Singapore. All members of WFFM and USFFM are encouraged to attend these Congresses.

The title of the 2008 Congress was The Relations between Museums, Friends and Volunteers. Central to this theme was the challenge of developing a positive relationship between volunteers and museum professionals. Four days of presentations produced a lively exchange of information which showcased the diversity of problems in different countries as well as innovations in some countries that can serve as models for others.

The range of topics ran from developing sound cultural tourism practices to organizing special galleries for contemporary art within more traditional art museums. Giving volunteers real responsibilities in a museum and promoting a feeling in the public of “ownership” of their museum were significant points of discussion. Collaborating with commercial institutions was a suggestion proposed by one speaker. Another recurring topic was the challenge of recruiting and maintaining museum membership and the changing demographics of the volunteer pool.

Many ideas were shared. Using new media for fundraising and community outreach was just one. This discussion ranged from creating websites for a “virtual museum” tour to exploring different internet sites such as Facebook to gain more exposure. Another challenge examined was how to maintain membership during periods of transition such as when a museum is closed for renovations or when a museum changes its location.

The welcoming keynote address at the Congress entitled A Little Help from my Friends was delivered by James S. Snyder, Director of the Israel Museum. Carla Bossi Comelli, President of WFFM, then provided an update on WFFM since its founding in Brussels in 1975. Today, WFFM has two million members in 34 countries. Carla also spoke of the Luigi Bossi Fellowships which were given to young people in the arts field to travel to Jerusalem for the Congress. (A profile of one of the Luigi Bossi Fellows, Damian Stamer, follows on page 6). Nelly de Blaquier, WFFM Vice President for South America, also provided scholarships for travel to the Congress from her part of the world.

One of the most interesting sessions entitled Volunteers—Recruitment, Management and Impact on the Institution was chaired by John Barnum. The panel included Betty Zucker, President of the Volunteer Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Thierry Verougstraete, President of the Friends of Museums in Belgium, and Gina Tan, founder of Tangible Strategies, San Francisco. Interesting ideas about the imaginative use of volunteers and about new methods of enlisting and augmenting membership were presented. A continuation of this topic was presented the following day under the leadership of Chairman Carolyn Forster, President of the Australian Federation. Her panel included two professional staff members of the Israel Museum and Izabella Csordsa, Executive Coordinator, Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, a recent recipient of a Luigi Bossi Fellowship.

For the finale of the Congress, all of the panelists assembled for a “Market Place” discussion in which participants had a chance to ask each other challenging questions and to network for mutual help and ideas for the future. Consensus was reached on the tremendous importance of volunteers, the need to quantify volunteer time, and the importance of reaching out to each other’s federations. Recognition was also given to the importance of preserving cultural heritage in developing countries and seeking ways to do that. The usefulness and importance to WFFM of public media such as radio, newspapers, and the internet was stressed. Danny Ben Natan summed up the conclusions of the panels by stating: “We have strength in diversity. The mutual cooperation of Friends is a barometer of the strength of museums” ]


 

TRUSTEE ACTIVITIES

Pamela Peabody, who was elected to the USFFM Board of Trustees in 2006, has just launched a new documentary film “Invisible: Abbott Thayer and the Art of Camouflage” which opened recently at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Abbott Henderson Thayer, an American artist and naturalist, was a highly popular and critically acclaimed portrait painter and landscape artist who lived from 1849 to 1921. The film explores the extraordinary story of how he combined his artistic talent with a deep love of the woods to develop a theory about animal coloration that is the foundation of modern-day military camouflage. As an environmentalist, he helped to save forests and birds, and as the father of camouflage, he saved untold numbers of servicemen. “Invisible” is the latest film from Peabody’s company PRP Productions, which makes films about American culture for distribution to museums, schools, and television (public, cable and commercial). www.prpproductions.com

(left) Pamela Peabody outside the Addison Gallery, Phillips Andover, MA.


 

MUSEUM ADVOCACY DAY

In February the American Association of Museums (AAM) organized a Museum Advocacy Day rallying all of their members and others concerned with the very survival of museums to join together in a massive effort to persuade members of Congress to continue funding for the arts. Museums, zoos, and aquariums had initially been barred from competing for any funds in the Economic Stimulus Bill. As a result of the enormous response from the museum world and the thousands of persuasive letters and messages sent to Congress, the funding ban on museums was eliminated when the bill was finally passed in mid-February.

USFFM joins with AAM in urging its members to continue to follow legislation and to react immediately by communicating with their elected officials in Congress if museums are put in a further perilous economic position.

ANNUAL MEETING

Philadelphia

Thursday April 30, 2009

Q

Monday May 4, 2009


New Trustee Elected


Sheila Bourke McGinity

Santa Barbara, California.

Sheila Bourke McGinity was born and raised in Canada and received her RN and BSc degrees there. After moving to Southern California, she worked for some years in the health field. In 1990 she moved to Santa Barbara where she quickly became involved in the arts and has served on several boards. She currently serves as a Trustee for the University of California Santa Barbara, for the Board of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (where she has served as Chair), and for the National Board of the Museum Trustee Association. She has also served on the boards of the Ensemble Theater, the Music Academy of the West, and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. She was awarded the Michelangelo Award by the Profant Foundation for her significant contributions to the Arts, and now looks forward to her service with the USFFM.


 

 

The USFFM Website is constantly being updated by Vice President Meredith Boren and webmaster Scotty Stevenson of Walking Fossil Studio. Visit us at www.usffm.org to find useful information about our latest activities. There are also useful links to our affiliates.

(World Federation of Friends of Museums).........www.wffm.org

(Museum Trustee Association)............................www.office@mta-hq.org

(American Association of Museums)....................www.AAM.org

(American Association of Museum Volunteers).....www.AAMV.org


 

RECENT EVENTS

ANNUAL COUNCIL MEETING AND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Paris, April 24-26, 2008

An opening reception was held at the Musée de l’ Orangerie with welcome talks by Carla Bossi (President WFFM) and Jean Raingeard (WFFM Vice President for Europe, President of the French Federation of Friends and host for this meeting).

The next day, the Council Meeting was held in the conference rooms of the Musée Maillol during which reports were given by the President, the four Vice Presidents, committee chairs and delegates representing the member countries and associations. Attending the Council Meeting officially from the US were President of USFFM, Murray Tarnapoll, Nancy Barnum. USFFM trustee and delegate to the Council Meeting and John Barnum, Vice President for North America.

Of special interest was a description of the initiative taken by WFFM and ICOM (International Committee for Museums) to study and develop principles concerning “Sustainable Cultural Tourism Worldwide”. Cultural tourism means tourist destinations to cultural sites of interest. Some of the problems arising from this are: how to preserve the sites and landscapes and protect the local populations from damages caused by tourist incursion; how to engage the local population in showcasing their heritage thus contributing to their cultural identity and self confidence; and how to engender respect for the local culture among the visiting tourists. Sustainable Cultural Tourism affects many areas, such as museums, archeological sites, landscapes, tourist agents and governments, as well as the tourists themselves and the local population.

Also discussed was importance of developing and highlighting the educational aspect of World Friends in order to be recognized as an NGO by UNESCO as well as the need to quantify the contribution of volunteer hours to museums in order to approach and impress governments and museums themselves.

WFFM Secretary General, Lila de Chaves, spoke of continuing communication with Easter Island, Japan, Croatia, Egypt, Libya. Serbia and Turkey to encourage them to establish Friends’ groups. Our first Russian member, Director of the State Museum in Moscow, is undertaking the establishment of a Federation of Friends in museums in Russia.

The traditional General Assembly meeting for all present members as well as delegates was held in the Musée d’Orsay with lunch in the restaurant following.

Cultural activities for accompanying persons included visits to the Marie Antoinette exhibition at the Grand Palais, visit to the Diane Vierny collection at the Musée Maillol, Musée de l’Orangerie, the Petit Palais and the Musée de la Venerie in Senlis. All persons including delegates enjoyed an evening at Versailles and a wonderful visit and lunch at the Château and Musée Condee at Chantilly.

The next Annual Council Meeting and General Assembly will be held in Glasgow, Scotland from April 30– May 3, 2009. ]

Some of the problems...are: how to preserve the sites and landscapes...how to engage the local population in showcasing their heritage...and how to engender respect for the local culture...

SOME INNOVATIVE IDEAS IN THE MUSEUM WORLD

NEX–GEN INITIATIVE

Betty G. Zucker, USFFM Trustee and a long-time member of the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA) Museum Service Council, was a featured panelist at the Jerusalem Congress where she presented some of the new initiatives that have been introduced recently into LACMA. Seeking ways to maintain museum membership now and in the future, the museum decided to offer children who come to the museum with a parent or guardian a membership card with a lanyard at the Welcome Center. From then on, the child, now the member, may visit the museum with parents at any time and never pay a fee. The museum is confident that these young people will become the future generation of Friends and volunteers. Nex-Gen, the next generation, has been a great success with 80,000 members.

In another very successful initiative that is designed to attract and reward volunteers, Friends are invited to join one of the museum’s Councils—either a service or a fundraising Council. Art Councils represent acquisition groups. Each supports a specific area of the collection such as American Art, East Asian Art, Photographic Arts, etc. Support Councils such as the Docent Council and the Museum Service Council provide over-all support to LACMA’S administrative staff.

A VIRTUAL MUSEUM

In January the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. announced that it was setting up a digital showcase and plans to put its entire collection of some 800,000 objects online in a “Fourth Museum.”

The collections are housed on the Mall, in the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City and the research center in Suitland, MD. Only about 1 percent of the museums’s collections can be displayed at any one time. Stating that “most Americans will never see the Smithsonian, and Native Americans aren’t any different,” Kevin Gover, the museum’s Director explains that “now students, teachers, scholars, cultural historians and those far away from the museum’s homes...will be able to have the opportunity to look into its archives.” This online project, part of the museums’ regular Website (www.nmai.si.edu), will begin with 5,500 items and photographs. The museum’s staff has carefully reexamined each item and its scholarship for nearly three years. To complete this virtual museum, the director estimates will take at least four years, if sufficient funding is found.

USFFM Board Members Retreat

On October 28, 2008 the USFFM Board of Trustees met for a day-long retreat with professional museum consultant and facilitator Connie Pirtle to discuss ways in which USFFM can become a more useful member of the museum volunteer community. Strategies to promote USFFM projects were discussed. Of particular interest to the Board are those projects directed to the support of small museums with limited resources and to the support of newly-formed museums of every variety and interest. Ways of fundraising to achieve those goals will be explored in the near future. Among other items that merit Board attention are: consulting with colleges and universities that offer museum education courses so that students may have the opportunity of learning of the important role of Friends and volunteers within a museum; training of volunteers to interface with museum staff; helping museums develop youth programs; and promoting greater community support for museums.


WFFM CONGRESS in Jerusalem, Israel

“We have strength in diversity. The mutual cooperation of Friends is a barometer of the strength of museums”

,,,,,,,,

above) Camels at rest in Petra
 
Petra; (above) Date palm farm, Kibbutz Yahel


Gene Dahmen, Roland
Stride, Susanna Saunders, and Janet Stride

conference organizers
Danny Ben-Natan and James S. Snyder, the Director of Israel Museum

Susanna Saunders, Nancy Barnum, Dr.
Ekkehard Nüman, Ro King, Betty Zucker

 

CONGRESS EXCURSIONS

For the delegates’ companions, there were interesting excursions in and around Jerusalem while Congress participants attended the working sessions. Together, everyone visited the Supreme Court of Israel, the Israel Museum, the Old City of Jerusalem and drove to Tel Aviv for contemporary art and dinner by the sea. The closing dinner was held in the desert outside of Jerusalem where the lights of Jordan were visible in the distance. Camel rides took many of the participants to dinner in a large tent and gray tunics were donned to add to the atmosphere. Middle Eastern barbeque, drum lessons, singing and dancing made it a wonderful end to a fascinating and rewarding journey. Post-Congress excursions enjoyed by many Congress participants and their companions included Masada, the Dead Sea, Eliat on the Red Sea, Kibbutz Yahel, and Petra in Jordan, one of the world’s most impressive archeological sites.


PROFILES

YOUNG ARTIST EXPLORES MUSEUM VOLUNTEERING

Profile of Damian Stamer

Damian Stamer, 26, a young American artist who participated in the WFFM Congress in Jerusalem, reports that his interest in museum volunteer work began during his freshman year at Arizona State University. Damian’s major in college was painting, and he soon discovered that volunteering at the Arizona State University Art Museum offered special rewards. There, he could meet artists and other docents in a weekly session where the discussions dealt with painting techniques and the history of the work on view. Damian was “hooked”. He volunteered at the museum throughout his four years in college.

In 2004, during his sophomore year, Damian applied for a Circumnavigators Foundation research grant to go around the world. That summer he traveled to nine countries on a whirlwind ten–week trip. His research involved interviewing museum professionals and volunteers, questioning them about four key areas of interest: recruitment, retention, development and management.

During those summer travels, Damian surveyed many museums and interviewed many persons: New South Wales (Art Gallery of New South Wales); Hong Kong (Hong Kong Museum of Contemporary Art); Singapore (Friends of the Museum Singapore), The Hague (Mauritshuis), Bangkok (Bangkok National Museum), Ottawa (National Gallery of Canada), London (Victoria & Albert Museum) and New York (Guggenheim Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art).

On the subject of volunteer recruitment, Damian found that there was a wide range of volunteers with many different skills. To develop a volunteer pool, the most successful museums created a sense of community by offering field trips and other events that were fun. Damian said that his research showed that continuing education and other unique learning opportunities were important strategies for volunteer retention. As for management, Damian noted that encouraging self-management leaning toward “ownership” was the most productive method of developing a reliable and enthusiastic volunteer corps.

Damian identified Central Eastern Europe as an area that badly needed help with volunteer development. In 2007, when he graduated from college, he applied for and won a Fulbright Scholarship to help in the development of a volunteer docent program at the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Hungary. For eleven months, he worked on his docent project, and also initiated a program called the Living Classics Series where visits were made to galleries and museums to hear contemporary artists speak directly about their artwork. His own training as a painter continued in Hungary.

Damian’s first exposure to WFFM had been in Singapore where he had met a WFFM member. A year or so later, Damian received a Luigi Bossi Fellowship and was invited to be a panelist at the WFFM Congress in Seville, Spain.

Currently, Damian is in New York City pursuing a career as an artist. We may hear about him next as an upcoming star on the Chelsea art scene. ]


BOOK RECOMMENDATION

Transforming Museum Volunteering: A Practical Guide for Engaging 21st Century Volunteers

by Ellen Hirzy

for the American Association of Museum Volunteers (AAMV)

Available from AuthorHouse at $29.95

The AAMV is affiliated with the American Association of Museums, U.S. Federation of Friends of Museums and World Federation of Friends of Museums. For more information about AAMV and also to order copies of book, visit www.aamv.org.


AN AMERICAN ABROAD

Profile of Ro King, Chairman of the Indonesian Heritage Society, Jakarta, Indonesia

One of the rewards of attending meetings of the WFFM is the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people such as Ruth King (Ro), a native of Philadelphia, whose love of art and cultural heritage was first ignited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. With a BA from Harvard and an MBA in business from the Darden School at the University of Virginia, Ro went to New York City and worked in financial services. Soon, however, life took her to Beijing and Lisbon where she enjoyed working with cultural groups in those cities.

Next stop – Indonesia, where Ro has applied her gifts and energy to the Indonesian Heritage Society, first as Treasurer and now, for the past two years, as Chairman. The Heritage Society became an associate member of WFFM in 2006. Some 700 volunteers of diverse backgrounds and nationalities participate in a huge variety of activities throughout Jakarta and all of Indonesia.

One of the many initiatives that volunteers have undertaken is revamping the tour guide training program. More than 30 volunteers are involved in improving the training for the new guides that are taken on each year. In another project, 40 Heritage Society volunteers are working with the National Museum’s curators to translate, re-write, and edit all labels, signage and brochures as each collection is renovated. In still another initiative, Heritage Society volunteers are working with other museums in Jakarta, such as the History Museum, the National Archives and a small art museum, documenting their collections, photographing them, and translating labels into English.

Another project at the National Museum that was completed last year involved the captioning of 1,200 photographic glass negatives and translating those captions from Old Dutch to Indonesian and to English. These valuable items were then stored in special archival envelopes and boxes purchased in the US and donated to the Museum by the Heritage Society.

In 2008, the Heritage Society published a new book, Museum Encounters: Jakarta, that profiles 57 public museums in the greater Jakarta area and more books about Indonesian collections are planned.

Volunteers also arrange tours to cultural sites around Jakarta and organize study groups and lecture series with topics ranging from contemporary art to literature, textiles to ethnography, history to architecture.

The volunteers reach out to local international schools with programs in English, French, Japanese and most recently, Korean. In another lecture series, speakers are encouraged to open their homes so that attendees can view their private collections and hear about their Indonesian adventures. Trips around the archipelago are organized for small groups of members. A newsletter is published monthly with articles submitted by volunteers, who also publish a calendar and greeting cards to provide extra funds for their activities. In addition, the volunteer group is constantly adding to the more than 5,000 books on Indonesian culture in their library.

To oversee, inspire and direct all of this incredibly important volunteer activity takes a special person. With her enthusiasm, ideas, organizational and marketing skills, Ro King is a superb example of volunteerism at its best. ]

Ro King (right) and Nancy Barnum (left) at the Jerusalem Congress in front of American and Indonesian flags.”.

FUTURE EVENTS

All members of USFFM and WFFM are encouraged to attend Council Meetings, Regional Meetings and Triennial Congresses. For further information, see www.USFFM.org or USFFM, Suite 1200, 1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, D.C.20036 (ayates@mcguirewoods.com). The following events are planned for the near future.

APRIL 30 – MAY 3, 2009 | GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

WFFM Council Meeting and General Assembly

Hosts: British Association of Friends of Museums and Friends of Glasgow Museums. Meetings at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and visits to The Burrell Collection; Glasgow School of Art, Loch Lomond

APRIL 19 –20, 2010 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

WFFM North American Regional Meeting

Host: USFFM

MAY 2010 | LISBON, PORTUGAL

WFFM Council Meeting and General Assembly

Host: Portuguese Friends of Museums


IN MEMORIUM

Ann Dudley Brower Turner

1927 – 2008

Ann Turner of Raleigh, N.C., a one-time Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the USFFM, died in April 2008. Ann had been a USFFM member since the 1970’s when she was encouraged by USFFM founder Mary Sharp to join the Board and play an active role in the development of the organization.

Ann graduated from the College of William and Mary where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha. In 1958 she and her husband settled in Raleigh, N.C. where she immediately became known as an energetic and imaginative volunteer in the life of the community. Her many years of work with the North Carolina Museum of Art as a docent and then as a member of the Board of Trustees earned her the first Lifetime Achievement Award from that institution for her commitment and service.

Over the years she served many organization involving the arts including the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Vice-President, Board of Trustees; North Carolina Art Society, President; Raleigh Fine Arts Society, President; American Association of Museum Volunteers (AAMV), Board of Directors and Advisory Board; N.C. State University Friends of the Gallery, Founding Board of Directors; Triangle J Council of Governments, Cultural Committee; and Museum Trustee Association, Board of Trustees. She also had served as a USFFM delegate to the WFFM Council.

In addition to her extensive involvement in museum work, Ann was very active during her lifetime in a wide assortment of civic organizations.

We salute Ann’s memory for the many contributions that she made over the years to the advancement of volunteerism and USFFM. We are very grateful for her dedication and outstanding service. A life well lived. ]


USFFM Membership Form

NAME

 

THIS IS MY HOME ADDRESS WORK ADDRESS

 

ADDRESS

 

 

PHONE FAX

 

EMAIL

 

 

Membership Categories

 

Museum Associate

$150

Museum

$100

Individual

$75

Under 36 years of age

$45

Family

$100

Supporter

$250

Patron

$500

Benefactor

$1,000

Corporate

$2,000

Non-Member Contributor please enter amount

 

Total amount enclosed $____________

The USFFM is an IRC 501(c)(3) charitable organization for U.S. Income tax purposes. Checks should be made payable to USFFM and sent with this form to:

USFFM

C/O Alison Y. Sharp Suite 1200 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-5137

USFFM members are invited to become individual members of the World Federation of Friends of Museum (WFFM). In this case, please enclose a separate check for $100 per member payable to WFFM, which is not an IRC 501(c)(3) organization.

NEWSLETTER CONTRIBUTORS

Enid G. Hyde, Editor

Nancy G. Barnum, Contributor

Susanna T. Saunders, Contributor

BEST WISHES FROM THE U.S. FEDERATION OF FRIENDS OF MUSEUMS TO OUR FRIENDS OF MUSEUMS WORLDWIDE!