Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup Fever and the LHS

For those of you who know me well, you might know that this Executive Director (speaking in the 3rd person here) likes to spend her weekends and weeknights playing the best sport on earth, soccer. (yes, I am biased).

So, for those of you who don't know, we're in the middle of World Cup fever. The tournament takes place once every four years (yep, just like the Olympics) and this year it's taking place in South Africa.

Because soccer is on my mind, I thought writing a blog post about some lessons learned from the world cup might be a good idea. For those of you who hate sports analogies--stop reading now!

For those of you who can stomach the analogies, here are 2 decent ones:

Things are not always as they seem.
This World Cup, we're learning that just because you see something doesn't make it true. Whether it's a 3rd goal against Slovenia or a 1st goal against Algeria, the US has proven to us that we can't always believe our eyes (and ears, hearts, and minds). Sometimes there are things going on that we're not aware of (like a ref that can't see or think or hear me screaming at him from Laurel, Md).
On a more positive note---here's your first sports analogy. This summer, you won't be receiving many flyers from us announcing fun and exciting programs. As usual, we're slowing down our public events in the summer. You might even begin to think we're dozing around here (or watching too much soccer). But don't worry, we have lots of things going on behind the scenes.
Every Wednesday we'll spend time with our Junior Docents working on a new project. We have Laurel Parks and Rec summer camp coming once a week. We have a high school volunteer coming to work on a project that should increase the accessibility of our collections online. We are creating some traveling trunks that will be able to travel to classrooms in the area so students can learn all about Laurel without coming to the Museum. We'll be meeting once a month for out monthly volunteer luncheon (next up--July 6, 12:30 at Lenny's). We'll be going to restaurants to talk about our upcoming Taste of Laurel. Working with Montpelier Mansion on the Between Fences project. And of course working on our upcoming exhibit on the Laurel race track. And you know, between that all, watching some soccer.

Sometimes, it's the little guys who pull through in the end.
This world cup has seen some huge, huge upsets. For those of you not watching, let me summarize it in the simplest way possible. Italy. the champions from 2006, are going home after the first round. (I'm personally loving that fact!)
Some of the most amazing upsets have taken place-- South Africa beat France, Serbia beat Germany, Slovakia beat Italy, and Switzerland beat Spain. Again, for those of you who aren't big soccer fans, these are all huge upsets.
So why do I bring this up in the context of the LHS? Because we are a little guy. Any organization that employs only 1 full time and 1 half time person is a little guy.

But we're pulling through in a big way. Our current exhibit incorporates community input in a way that many larger museums struggle with. All of our collection is inventoried and in Past Perfect, a feat larger museums sometimes can not complete. We have annually changing, interesting, engaging, and informative exhibits. Our public programming is regular, interesting, and worthwhile. And of course--we have a great membership and volunteer base.

So pat yourselves on the back for all that you've done to support the LHS lately. We appreciate you cheering for the little guy.

And this World Cup, if you catch a game, root for the underdog! (Or Spain, because I personally love them!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Busy Week

I arrived back to the warm, slightly suffocating heat of sunny Maryland last Thursday.

Since then, I've been playing a bit of catch up. I was on email for the 2 weeks I was away, but I was also spending plenty of time in program sessions at AAM, visiting Museums, and to be honest, paddling around the Oceanside Harbor with the Sea Lions. (which I thought were seals until I visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and learned the difference...yay museums!!!!)

So I've been playing a bit of catch up for the last week. And I didn't necessarily have the easiest week to settle back in.

This week we were pretty busy.

Wednesday night we had several local businesses come to the Museum so we could share the great work we do with them. Thursday was our friends and family picnic--THANK YOU to all who came! And Sunday we're having another one of our kids day, this time around the theme of Picturing Yourself in History. I also had to report on a grant that wraps up this month, visit with volunteers at our monthly luncheon, and do all the other normal fun stuff we do around here!

But I had 2 great things happen this week to remind me of why I'm here.

1) Another local non-profit that serves the community approached me with some collaboration ideas. It's exciting to think that we've built the foundation of a relationship that they felt comfortable coming here and just pitching it. And guess what? One of the ideas is something I'm REALLY excited about and one I've tried to do since I arrived. So hopefully we can make it happen. (the mystery here is on purpose--I can't ruin the surprise!)

2) The Laurel High School I.B. Program dropped off some artwork they did in collaboration with the exhibit. I began talking to the IB Program people several months ago and brainstorming ways we could collaborate. I wasn't sure anything was going to happen this academic year, but I was hopeful and so were they. Tuesday, the Laurel IB Art Teacher dropped off several collages that the students made based on our exhibit. I immediately put them into the exhibit for all to see.

So the conference with it's engaging sessions, the paddle boat with it's friendly sea lions, and all of that sunny California has to offer was great.

But I'm happy to be back and working with my small museum to engage the community!