This month, Seattle hosted the American Alliance of Museums annual meeting, which is four days packed with workshops, seminars, keynote speakers and networking events for museum people (administrators, volunteers, board members and consultants) by museum people.
In addition to the vast array of resources museum organizations provide for us through the Web and print, meetings like these, which draw museum representatives from all over the world, are opportunities for us to ask specific questions, trouble- shoot and solve problems that affect all museums.
Among all the information crammed into my brain, the first workshop that I attended, titled, “Effective Advocacy for Your Community, Learn How!” made me truly consider something I hadn’t realized was such an important part of successfully promoting a museum in any community.
We plant hollyhocks with your first-graders, hang laundry in Ragtown with your fourth-graders, coordinate speakers for Third Thursdays on Southern Nevada topics, provide a summer reading program for kids and adults, host heritage events such as 31ers day, operate the town’s most beautiful historic buildings (still functioning as originally intended, I might add) and, (arguably) most importantly, we process, preserve and promote collections of Boulder City’s history … but who are “we”? It is vital that, as an organization supported by its community, you know who we are as individuals: our education, goals and why, out of 35,000 museums in America, we’ve found a home at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum.
Our educational outreach coordinator, Kim Reddin, is native to Las Vegas, attended Bishop Gorman High School and graduated from UNLV with her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in criminal justice. She is a lover of literature (her favorite is tied between “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee), finds great joy in traveling across the world, and has a serious adoration for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Last summer, Kim attended our summer reading program event with The Mob Museum as a technology assistant to the speaker and met our staff, who realized she would be a great fit with our organization as an emerging museum professional. Although she isn’t sure which role she would most enjoy fulfilling in her future career in museums, she is most interested in archives and curation.
Our museum manager, Laura Hutton, spent many years living throughout the United States, but has called Southern Nevada home for most of her life. She graduated from Coronado High School and is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in psychology from Nevada State College.
Despite allergies to the desert environment, Laura enjoys being outside hiking, boating and, most recently, riding ATVs. But sometimes, our temperatures are just too unbearable, so she also enjoys watching movies, from chick flicks to sci-fi to horror.
Laura first visited the museum when she was around 10 and returned for the first time in years during her freshman year of college. After observing a field trip in progress in our newly developed 31ers Educational Outreach Room, she asked to become a volunteer. As manager, Laura enjoys being involved in all aspects of museum operations and aspires to become a director.
Although we only profiled our two most unfamiliar faces in this article, in actuality there are many more individuals and families who work tirelessly to ensure the museum fulfills its role in the community. We encourage you to stop in and see us to learn more about all of us, and maybe even join our museum family!
Museum Musings is written and compiled by the staff of the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. For more information, visit, www.bchma.org.