Collaborations:
Who, What, When, Where, Why—and Why Not
2013 New England Museum Association annual conference in Newport, ...
Panel
• Adriene Katz
– Visitor Guide and School Program Guide, the Shelburne Museum

• Deborah Douglas
– Director of Colle...
Lee Wright
Founder, The History List (www.TheHistoryList.com)
Trustee, The Marlborough Historical Society (Marlborough, MA...
The Marlborough Historical Society
•
•
•
•

www.HistoricMarlborough.org

Marlborough, Massachusetts
Town: 1660
Society: 19...
The History List
Largest list of historyrelated events in the nation
• There is no cost to add your
organization and event...
Overview
• Observations
• Examples
–
–
–
–
–

Learning
Programs
Awareness
Events
Website

• Contact information
Observations on collaboration
• Why?  To make a bigger impact
• Why not?  An endless number of reasons
– Staff time? Fun...
Observations on collaboration
• This is not a zero-sum game
• Our ―competition‖ is not the other historic site or
cultural...
Who is the competition?

From ―Attracting visitors to holiday events at historic sites and buildings‖ (October 25, 2013). ...
24%

28%

28%

Went to a movie

Went to the mall

Didn’t do anything
Observations on collaboration

Collaborate to
Learning
•

•

•

•
•

The Marlborough Historical
Society hosted an ―Idea
Exchange‖ in 2008
All historical societies in
Ne...
Learning
•
•
•
•
•

Historical Sharing Group
Blackstone Valley
2006
24 societies in the
Blackstone Valley
Quarterly meetin...
Awareness
•
•
•

•
•
•

Pioneer Valley History
Network
43 sites in Western
Massachusetts
Organized originally by
Historic ...
Awareness
•

•

•
•

Materials that any organization
can download and use to
promote their holiday events
Print out table ...
Event
•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Museum Stores of Richmond
Holiday Shoppers Fair
Formed in 1995
Meet six times per year
Each pays a fe...
Program
•
•

•
•

http://www.brickstoremuseum.org/oursharedhistory.shtml

―Our Shared History‖
The Brick Store Museum and
...
Event
•
•
•
•

Vermont History Expo
Held every other year
150 historical societies
4,000- 6,000 guests over a twoday weeke...
Website
•
•

•
http://www.brickstoremuseum.org/oursharedhistory.shtml

Website with information about the project:
http://...
Collaboration guidelines for non-profits
Compiled from round table discussions during the second half of the session:
Deve...
Collaboration guidelines for non-profits
Spend the necessary time to develop relationships with your key contacts and
with...
Collaboration guidelines for non-profits
Identify all the stakeholders and understand the goals and objectives of each.
Su...
Collaboration guidelines for non-profits
By starting small, it may be easier to reach a milestone, thereby demonstrating
t...
Collaboration guidelines for non-profits
Candidly assess the results, identify what worked and what didn’t, and share
that...
Lee Wright

Lee@TheHistoryList.com
www.TheHistoryList.com
@TheHistoryList
@SeeingHistory

#nema2013
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"Collaborations for non-profit institutions: The who, what, when, where, why and why not," from the New England Museum Association Conference in Providence, Rhode Island

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With Adriene Katz, Visitor Guide and School Program Guide, the Shelburne Museum; Deborah Douglas, Director of Collections, MIT Museum; Jennifer Brundage, National Outreach Manager for New England, the Smithsonian Institution; and, Lee Wright, Founder, The History List and trustee, the Marlborough Historical Society.

Presented November 14, 2013

Published in: Business, Education
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"Collaborations for non-profit institutions: The who, what, when, where, why and why not," from the New England Museum Association Conference in Providence, Rhode Island

  1. 1. Collaborations: Who, What, When, Where, Why—and Why Not 2013 New England Museum Association annual conference in Newport, Rhode Island Adriene Katz, Visitor Guide and School Program Guide, the Shelburne Museum Deborah Douglas, Director of Collections, MIT Museum Jennifer Brundage, National Outreach Manager for New England, the Smithsonian Institution Lee Wright, Founder, The History List and trustee, the Marlborough Historical Society November 14, 2013 #nema2013
  2. 2. Panel • Adriene Katz – Visitor Guide and School Program Guide, the Shelburne Museum • Deborah Douglas – Director of Collections, MIT Museum • Jennifer Brundage – National Outreach Manager for New England, the Smithsonian Institution • Lee Wright – Founder, The History List and trustee, the Marlborough Historical Society
  3. 3. Lee Wright Founder, The History List (www.TheHistoryList.com) Trustee, The Marlborough Historical Society (Marlborough, MA) 2013 New England Museum Association annual conference in Newport, Rhode Island Includes additional slides that show some of the things mentioned and the round table discussions at the end of the session #nema2013
  4. 4. The Marlborough Historical Society • • • • www.HistoricMarlborough.org Marlborough, Massachusetts Town: 1660 Society: 1964 All-volunteer
  5. 5. The History List Largest list of historyrelated events in the nation • There is no cost to add your organization and events • Raise awareness of your organization and events • Manage the list of events on your site  ―Make this holiday historic!‖  Guide to Summer Camps and Programs at Historic Sites and Institutions • www.TheHistoryList.com
  6. 6. Overview • Observations • Examples – – – – – Learning Programs Awareness Events Website • Contact information
  7. 7. Observations on collaboration • Why?  To make a bigger impact • Why not?  An endless number of reasons – Staff time? Funding? Legal?  Just do it • How?  Focus on shared goals and generating results – When it stops making sense, stop
  8. 8. Observations on collaboration • This is not a zero-sum game • Our ―competition‖ is not the other historic site or cultural institution in town
  9. 9. Who is the competition? From ―Attracting visitors to holiday events at historic sites and buildings‖ (October 25, 2013). The 35 page report is available as part of a free download of holiday materials: http://www.thehistorylist.com/the-holiday-campaign-for-history
  10. 10. 24% 28% 28% Went to a movie Went to the mall Didn’t do anything
  11. 11. Observations on collaboration Collaborate to
  12. 12. Learning • • • • • The Marlborough Historical Society hosted an ―Idea Exchange‖ in 2008 All historical societies in New England were invited to a Saturday event (10 am – 3 pm) Everyone was invited to submit a topic they wanted to present 44 attendees 13 different presentations from attendees, from financial management and fundraising to collections management, programming, and finding volunteers
  13. 13. Learning • • • • • Historical Sharing Group Blackstone Valley 2006 24 societies in the Blackstone Valley Quarterly meetings to share ideas, including programming
  14. 14. Awareness • • • • • • Pioneer Valley History Network 43 sites in Western Massachusetts Organized originally by Historic Deerfield in 2006 Now a 501(c)3 Exhibits and events around an annual theme Mailing list of 250 individuals  Case study http://pvhn.wordpress.com/
  15. 15. Awareness • • • • Materials that any organization can download and use to promote their holiday events Print out table top signs and download and include graphics in newsletters and on websites, posters, and fliers, or create merchandising signs and stickers 11 messages in two different designs Promotes your events and, together, raises awareness of history and history organizations at the holidays http://www.thehistorylist.com/the-holiday-campaign-for-history
  16. 16. Event • • • • • • • Museum Stores of Richmond Holiday Shoppers Fair Formed in 1995 Meet six times per year Each pays a fee Money goes to the host museum, who handles PR Each does their own advertising Friday night: Members only – • 10% off at all shops 500 – 1,000 shoppers over the weekend
  17. 17. Program • • • • http://www.brickstoremuseum.org/oursharedhistory.shtml ―Our Shared History‖ The Brick Store Museum and the Kennebunk Free Library, across the street from each other ―Maritime Heritage‖ Book discussions, films, field trips to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and Bath Iron Works, a chowder festival, a sea shanty concert
  18. 18. Event • • • • Vermont History Expo Held every other year 150 historical societies 4,000- 6,000 guests over a twoday weekend  Case study—Includes more than 400 photos
  19. 19. Website • • • http://www.brickstoremuseum.org/oursharedhistory.shtml Website with information about the project: http://newportal.weebly.com/ • • ―Newportal‖—In development Presenting the collections of The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport Art Museum, Redwood Library and Athenaeum, The Newport Restoration Foundation, and The Newport Historical Society Being driven by mid-level staff, not executive directors Formed two years ago Currently formalizing agreement between organizations
  20. 20. Collaboration guidelines for non-profits Compiled from round table discussions during the second half of the session: Develop a strategy for a successful collaboration, starting with the way you’re going to get target partners on board. Within your organization, in some cases you’ll need the support of senior management at the outset. In other cases, it may not make sense to approach them until later in the process, such as after a detailed plan or a prototype has been created. Sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Trust is the foundation on which any successful collaboration is built. Develop trust with individuals, and from there, with each organization. Get to know the people you’re going to work with. This might mean, for example, getting together over coffee.
  21. 21. Collaboration guidelines for non-profits Spend the necessary time to develop relationships with your key contacts and with the teams they depend on. Although you may believe that a particular organization would be an ideal partner for a collaborative effort, they may not feel the same way. It's important to have an enthusiastic partner. If it's too hard or “not clicking"— emails are going unreturned—don't force it. Just let it go. (“They’re just not that in to you.”) Recognize the difference between consultation and collaboration. In the former, you’re asking for input; in the later, the other party has or perceives that their opinion is equal in weight to yours.
  22. 22. Collaboration guidelines for non-profits Identify all the stakeholders and understand the goals and objectives of each. Sustaining a collaborative effort requires that all parties see benefits to continuing the efforts. Agreements that spell out goals, roles, and responsibilities, including who is responsible for payment, may be critical, depending on the parties involved and the size and nature of the effort. Meet at your facility and at theirs, or on “neutral” turf. This will reinforce the belief that each party is a valued partner in the effort. Follow meetings with an e-mail message that puts key points in writing. Having a written record reduces the potential for misunderstanding and increases accountability.
  23. 23. Collaboration guidelines for non-profits By starting small, it may be easier to reach a milestone, thereby demonstrating the success of the collaborative effort. Members of the group can take this back to their organizations as proof of the value of participating and continuing to devote resources to it. This early success may attract others interested in joining or at least supporting the effort. A project manager or consultant may be able to pull together the details of a large project and keep the many different parties on-track better than what a member from any one organization could do. Regularly evaluate how things are going. Be open and aware. Be willing to learn from one's partners and to make changes. Make adjustments as you go. Build on successes and failures to tweak the program even as it is going on.
  24. 24. Collaboration guidelines for non-profits Candidly assess the results, identify what worked and what didn’t, and share that insight with others so that you and your organization can learn from the effort. Different parties may have different sensitivities to the way their organization is presented (e.g., in press-related materials, presentations, or documents). Remember the "big picture.” Unexpected things occur, and the best laid plans can go awry. Should that happen and you’re faced with having to explain why things have gone sideways to your manager, just remember, “Collaborations can be fun. You meet and work with new people and explore new perspectives and ways of working!”
  25. 25. Lee Wright Lee@TheHistoryList.com www.TheHistoryList.com @TheHistoryList @SeeingHistory #nema2013

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