Monthly Archives: June 2013

What Happens in Vegas…

While I’ve not been, The Neon Museum in Las Vegas recently inched its way to the top of my “must see” museums.The last time I was in Vegas, I was in fifth grade. Needless to say, most of my memories of the trip involve a good time at the hotel pool.

Yesterday my thoughts on Las Vegas shifted when I stumbled across a photo essay on Fishing 4 Deals titled “Las Vegas Neon Boneyard: Photo Essay of Times Gone By.” The photos sparked interest – three types of interest, in fact.

First, I was curious about the museum as a potential visitor – How could I see the site, when, where, etc. The museum’s website nicely answered many of these FAQ. I also shifted into historian mode, and donned my “material culture” hat. Once I got past the practicalities of the museum and its mission, I was curious to consider the site as a case of collections storage, as well as curating stories from the artifacts. The vast majority of the signs appear to be stored in an outdoor facility, with a minority of signs being treated for preservation. After factoring in practicalities for both visitors and the signs, I began to, and here’s that museum education background kicking in, brainstorm possible public programs, activities, and possible local, national, and international outreach possibilities. 

I look forward to someday – soon hopefully – visiting the Neon Museum and seeing not only the sights but the signs! 

What do you think? Keen to visit? Been there already? I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 

ImageEvery sign has a story. I bet this sign has at least a dozen.

Photo courtesy Fishing 4 Deals. 


Tagged , , , , ,


I recently attended the Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference (CIVC) held in Springfield, Illinois. This was a great opportunity to learn about volunteer recruitment and organization, as well as network with many area professionals. As a volunteer at this conference, I also had the opportunity to assist “behind the scenes.” This entailed attending conference calls, creating some social media materials, and assisting the day of the event with attendee registration, set up, and speaker orientation.The event went smoothly, and I’m very excited I was able to attend and help!

Before and after this conference, I was inspired to pursue “conference etiquette.” I was curious about what the professional standards were on such things as networking etiquette and, quite simply, what to wear.  I quickly discovered a blog post by the Emerging Museum Professionals (EMPs) discussing this exact topic, and it confirmed many of my thoughts. For the most part, much of an attendance at such a professional gathering suggests common sense – i.e., wear comfortable shoes, be prepared to take notes, plan ahead. Conferences are a great chance to hear presentations and panels, attend diverse workshops, meet other professionals in the field…but it is also an opportunity to present yourself in the field.

Do you have any conference tips? If so, please share! (You’ll be pleased to know I had no planning or wardrobe issues while aiding the CIVC.)

For further details and tips, check out the original EMP post!


Tagged , , , , ,

Visitors Count – Continued

Summer marks a strong tourist season here in Springfield. As the state capitol we get many individuals and families from across the state, country, and even international visitors enjoying the season. It’s a great time to meet so many visitors interested in learning more about Illinois’ natural and cultural history. This month and next, I’m continuing my work with our Education Section with Visitors Count (see more in an earlier post here).

This is a great program which will allow us to grow from our visitors’ insight through surveys. Another way we learn from our visitors is through paper and electronic guestbooks in our lobby, through comments shared with staff and volunteers, and finally through keeping track of reviews on websites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor. At the end of their visit, we encourage visitors to share their experiences online so that other visitors will learn about the ISM.

When I travel, I consult websites such as Trip Advisor to help plan my trip. I recently made my very first review on a website, and their web staff mailed me a luggage tags as a special thanks! What other sites do you and your family explore? Do you share your experiences? Why or why not?


A new kind of museum: a new kind of citizen

Happy Belated Birthday (Anniversary?) to the British Museum!

In this reblogged post, Director Neil MacGregor shares some thoughts on the history of this truly incredible institution. I was fortunate to visit the British Museum in 2010 while visiting a friend in London, and I still remember the unreal feeling of seeing the Rosetta Stone! Have you been to the British Museum?

British Museum blog

The British Museum, June 2013Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum

On this day, 260 years ago, the British Museum – as we know it – came into being: on 7 June 1753, the first British Museum Act received royal assent, and the first public national museum in the world was established.

It’s worth pausing to reflect on what a revolutionary moment this was. Until that June day in 1753, collections of objects like ours were the preserve of royalty, or private gentlemen. The decision by the British Parliament to acquire and display the collection of some 80,000 objects collected by the physician Sir Hans Sloane was truly extraordinary. And it’s a point worth celebrating 260 years later.

Parliament was proclaiming the right of every citizen to information. Everybody was to be enabled to explore their place in the world, in a collection which embraced the whole world, free of charge. Knowledge was no longer to…

View original post 595 more words