Aspirations/Realities/Accommodations: Charting the Path for Governance, Mission, Interpretation, and Stewardship in a Museum-Academic Library Merger (Webinar)
Monday November 9, 2015
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m EST
Webinar, no registration required, free to attend
- Judith C. Russell, Dean of University Libraries, University of Florida – Co-PI, IMLS National Leadership Grant;
- Joseph J. Wood, Chair, Executive Council Friends of the Panama Canal Museum (PCM) Collection at the University of Florida [former Board Chair, Panama Canal Museum];
- Katherine E. Egolf, Vice Chair, Executive Council Friends of the Panama Canal Museum (PCM) Collection at the University of Florida [former Board Chair, Panama Canal Museum];
- Sophia Krzys Acord, Associate Director Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere; Independent Evaluator – IMLS National Leadership Grant
- David R. Curry, MSLS, Managing Principal, davidrcurryAssociates, Philadelphia; Senior Consultant – IMLS National Leadership Grant
In 1998, a group of volunteers created the Panama Canal Museum in Florida to gather and showcase personal artifacts related to a significant period of American history and cultural heritage. Years later, facing economic pressures and an aging member base, the museum faced a decision: close its doors or partner with an established institution to keep its collection intact. It chose the latter.
In 2012 the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries a three-year National Leadership Grant to document the process of integrating the former Panama Canal Museum and its community and constituents into the Smathers Libraries. It was the first known example of the full closure of a small museum and the transfer of its collections and community to an academic library.
The panelists will discuss the evolution of governance from museum board to executive council. Museum boards play a range of critical roles – from governance, fundraising, and strategic direction to hands-on activities that may even include collection processing, curation, and education. But academic libraries generally do not have “boards” in this sense, and function in a more nuanced world where university missions, scale, and faculty dictate procedures. So what happens to the museum board in a museum-academic library merger? What are the options, what was implemented, and what has been learned in the on-going Smathers Libraries – Panama Canal Museum merger process?
The panelists will also discuss collection interpretation vs. scholarly neutrality. Museums that have a strong collection focus may evolve a specific and deeply-held narrative which informs interpretive and curatorial decision-making and action. What happens when such a narrative – embodied as a mandate in a merger partnership agreement – encounters an academic library staff that adhere to broader inclusivity and may not exclusively share that narrative? What happens when the former museum board/now executive council continues to advocate for this narrative? What solutions are possible and practical?
For more background on the institutions and the project read the original IMLS grant proposal at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00009715/00001
Who Should Participate?
Museum, Library and Archives leaders and board members will benefit from a candid discussion of governance options and the interpretive challenges to date in this precedent-setting merger around governance.
How to participate?
The webinar will be freely broadcast through Adobe Connect. Please log on at http://ufsmathers.adobeconnect.com/libmuseum1/ to participate. You can also continue the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #UFPCM.