Free Online Learning Opportunities

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), in partnership with Heritage Preservation and the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), presents a webinar series based on the national initiative Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action. These six webinars are FREE of charge to staff of museums, libraries, and archives who seek to enhance collections care at their institutions. You may sign up for the entire series or select only the sessions of most interest to you. Using the content of the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, Forums, and Workshops, these highly interactive webinars will connect you with experts and colleagues to discuss issues of common concern. The series has a dual focus: four webinars will help you learn how to conduct outreach to the media, the public, and funders on behalf of collections, and two webinars will help you derive maximum benefit from the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf. The first two in the series begin October 28th:
Telling the Story of Your Collections to the Press, and Using Social Media to tell Your Collections’ Stories. For more information and to register visit:

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office has announced a FREE online learning session entitled "Museum/Library Partnerships That Work!" to be held at 2 p.m. CDT on Thursday, Nov. 18th. "As information education institutions, museums and libraries share similar missions and values and can benefit from forging partnerships. Benefits include resource sharing, outreach to new audiences, access to expertise and the potential for increasing goodwill and support between organizations and the broader community. Participants will learn about a number of successful museum/library partnerships that are generating innovative programming exhibits and creating new opportunities for outreach and how to identify potential partners and successfully manage join projects." Click here for more information and to register for FREE:

Free Exhibits Workshop offered in New England

One Size Fits All?: Engaging Families in Exhibits

Monday, November 15, 2010; 9:00AM - 5:00PM
USS Constitution Museum, Boston, MA

You're invited to a FREE hands-on, minds-on workshop offering advice, ideas, models and inspiration for creating engaging exhibits for an intergenerational audience. You'll learn simple and effective techniques and come away with low-cost replicable ideas to help you enhance your institution's interactions with families!

One Size Fits All? is free to all museum professionals - register now to reserve your spot!
The registration deadline is November 12th, 2010.

Free Webinars and Workshops on Managing Storage Environments

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Image Permanence Institute (IPI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology are offering a series of FREE regional workshops and webinars for collections care and facilities staff in cultural institutions. These workshops and webinars will "enable collections care staff in cultural institutions to avoid risks to collections while they support sustainability efforts and pursue opportunities for energy cost reduction." To learn more and register for one of the regional Sustainable Preservation Practices for Managing Storage Environments workshops visit the website:

Submitted by Sarah Parsons, Assistant Director, Information Center
American Association of Museums

AASLH Small Museums Committee Launches New E-Newsletter

Big Ideas for Small Museums is a quarterly e-mail just for people who work in a small museum. The Small Museums Committee of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH-SMC) intends this new communication to share resources that are pre-tested by actual small museum professionals. The articles will be brief and practical – giving you the shortcuts you need when you don’t have enough time, money or people. (And what small museum does?)

To receive this resource, you’ll need to join the AASLH Small Museum Affinity Group. The Affinity Group is not a membership organization and there is no fee to join. You will need to create a username and password and share your basic contact information – but this will only take you two minutes.

Go to and click on “join the Small Museums Affinity Group” link at the top of the page. And while you’re there, you might check out the other resources offered by the Small Museums Committee, including…

· AASLH-SMC’s definition of a small museum
· Small Museums Needs Assessments Executive Summary
· 2009 Small Museum Luncheon Keynote Address by Marsha Semmel, IMLS

The first Big Ideas for Small Museums will appear in your inbox in September, but join today to ensure you don’t miss a thing!

Health Care Tax Credit for Small Tax-Exempt Orgs and Businesses

The Information Center of the American Association of Museums will help your institution negotiate provisions of the new health care legislation.

Many small tax-exempt organizations and businesses that provide health insurance coverage to their employees now qualify for a special tax credit due to the passage of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act in March 2010. The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is one of the first reform provisions of the new law. "Providing health insurance to museum employees is so important, and I am pleased that so many small museums will benefit from this new law,” said AAM President Ford W. Bell. “During the debate on health care reform, AAM joined a coalition working in Congress to ensure that tax-exempt organizations would be eligible for this tax credit, so I hope that many small museums will take advantage of it."

When filing 2010 tax returns, certain eligible tax-exempt organizations and small businesses can apply for a tax credit to cover a portion of their employee health insurance coverage costs. The credit is designed to encourage small employers to offer health insurance coverage for the first time, or maintain existing coverage. Eligible tax-exempt organizations can receive a maximum credit of up to 25 percent of their premiums paid in 2010. To determine whether your tax-exempt organization is eligible for the credit see the IRS’s 3 Simple Steps Fact Sheet. For more information including eligibility rules, credit amount, examples of how the credit applies to employers with different scenarios, and frequently asked questions visit the IRS website.
Direct links to these online resources are available through the AAM Information Center under this path: Information Center > Human Resources > Personnel Policy Issues > Benefits.

The AAM Information Center offers fast, reliable and easy access to hundreds of resources that have been individually reviewed, categorized, & described for their usefulness to museum professionals. The online resources are available to all AAM members. Institutional museum members enjoy the added benefit of customized reference services and access to sample documents by contacting

Sarah Parsons, Assistant Director, Information Center
American Association of Museums

Session Proposals for AAM 2011 due July 16

The 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & Museum Expo in Houston, Texas needs input from small museum professionals and now is the time to put pen to paper. The theme is “The Museum of Tomorrow,” and ideas are flowing right now. If you haven’t had a chance to review some the topics proposed by your colleagues, below are just a few from Janice Klein of EightSixSix Consulting (

1. Being the first professionally trained staff member/registrar
2. Writing the first collections policies and procedures
3. Collections management as one of many responsibilities
4. Dealing with objects not related to museum’s mission
5. Making the collection known to other museums for loan purposes
6. Borrowing from other museums – meeting their requirements
7. Dealing with different numbering systems
8. Inventory
9. Deciding on insurance coverage
10. Dealing with endangered species or cultural property issues

Join in the discussion! Contact the SMAC Program Chair, Tamara Hemmerlein (, with your ideas and suggestions. If you're second-guessing whether or not this message is for you, read what Lindsey Baker has to say in ‘AAM is for Small Museums’. Direct your browser to the following Google docs link for more information on how to submit a proposal, and to read Lindsey’s article:


Take advantage of fellowships to upcoming workshops and webinars that will advance the mission of your museum.

AAM Webinars
SMAC-AAM will provide one full-registration fellowship for each of the remaining 2010 AAM Webinars listed below.

Technology, Interpretation and Education(2 days)
6/22-24 workshop dates
6/15 application deadline

Museum Standards and Best Practices Primer
7/7 workshop date
6/30 application deadline

21st Century Museums and School Partnerships - What Museums Need to Know
7/21 workshop date
7/14 application deadline

What Museums Need to Know about the Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind
TBD workshop date
9/1 application deadline

Step-by-step Collections Acquisition
9/22 workshop date
9/15 application deadline

Understanding the Three Dimensions of Your Board
10/20 workshop date
10/13 application deadline

Universal Design: Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
10/27 workshop date
10/20 application deadline

For more information about the webinars please visit the AAM website:

Back to Basics and Beyond: Art Handling
The Small Museum Administrators Committee is also offering a full-registration fellowship of $60 to the “Back to Basics and Beyond: Art Handling” workshop organized by the Registrars Professional Affinity Group, in conjunction with the Packing, Art handling and Crating Information Network (PACIN). For more information about the workshop please visit NEMA website:

The deadline for applications to the “Back to Basics” workshop is Friday, June 5, 2010. Applicants will be notified by Monday, June 7 to meet the Tuesday, June 8 registration deadline.

Eligibility Checklist
To determine your eligibility for a SMAC-AAM fellowship, review the checklist below.

__I am an AAM individual member–AAM Member#_____________
or I work at an AAM institutional member museum–AAM Institutional Member#__________

__I am a member of SMAC-AAM*
*Or must submit a membership application with the required dues along with fellowship application. For information about SMAC-AAM membership please visit the AAM website at, contact, or call 202-289-9132.
__My museum has an operating budget of $350,000 or less and I am full-time paid or unpaid staff

To download the applications, direct your browser to:

Please contact Janice Klein, SMAC-AAM Fellowship Chair,

Report from the Chair

Report from the Chair
2010 AAM Annual Meeting; May 23-27, Los Angeles CA

The Small Museum Administrators Committee had a very successful annual meeting. We sponsored and/or co-sponsored 35 sessions pertaining to issues in small museums. On Sunday, May 23rd we held a delightful reception with the help of the Curators Committee and the Committee on Museum Professional Training at the Hollyhock House in Hollywood. On Monday, May 24th the 6th Annual Small Museum Day attracted 40 people to our annual business meeting and luncheon. At the luncheon, SMAC held is biennial elections, confirming a full slate for the 2010-2012 board.

Just before the 2010 Annual Meeting , AAM revealed its new strategic plan, entitled “The Spark.” The plan has 4 goal areas: 1. Excellence: develop clearly defined levels of excellence accessible to the entire museum field and recognized by the public. 2. Advocacy: promote the value of museums and conduct state and national advocacy on behalf of museums. 3. Sustainability: Build a financially stable and sustainable association in order to provide the best possible service and leadership to the field. 4. Alignment: Align internal and external resources, culture and structures with our strategic plan, vision, values and beliefs.

SMAC-AAM will join with other committees to help AAM shape these goals and help create a blueprint for change. To that end, I am inviting you here to comment on what you would like to see from SMAC, AAM or both.

Please let us know what is working, what needs improvement, and any ideas you may have for bold new directions. On August 4, 2010, I will be traveling to Washington DC to share your ideas with AAM. This is an extremely important discussion we have been invited to, and it is our obligation to give some serious thought to what we would like the future of AAM to look like.

If this discussion sounds open-ended, it is. There are no limits to what we can propose. What educational tools should AAM be creating? How could the annual meeting improve? What changes should be made to the accreditation process? What can SMAC do to be most helpful to you every day?

I look forward to hearing your best ideas.

Jenny Benjamin

2010 SMAC Elections

Congratulations to the newly elected 2010-2012 Board of the Small Museum Administrators Committee!

Chair -
Jenny Benjamin; Director, Museum of Vision, San Francisco CA

Vice Chair -
Margaret "Peggie" Stromberg, Executive Director, Elgin Public Museum, Eligin IL

Secretary -
Susan Tissot, Executive Director, Clark County Historical Museum, Vanouver WA

Treaurer -
Nicholas West, Curator, Lancaster Museum & Gallery, Lancaster CA

Scholarship Chair -
Janice Klein, Principle, EightSixSix Consulting, Tempe AZ

Program Chair -
Tamara Hemmerlein, Executive Director, Old Jail Museum, Crawfordsville IN

Membership Chair -
Carolyn Spears, Director, Stone Fort Museum, Nacogdoches TX

AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo 2010 is just around the corner!

Stop by the AAM Showcase, Booth #606, for information on SMAC-AAM and other Standing Professional Committees. This year, instead of individual booths, information for all SPC’s will be at the AAM Showcase. Look for information on Small Museums Day activities including the Marketplace of Ideas. Janice Klein of EightSixSix Consulting will discuss, “When to Walk Away” and Amanda Wesselmann of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum will lead a discussion about Board Development. Lisa Mason-Chaney of the Hammond-Harwood House will chair, “Managing Your On-line Presence,” and Carol Merrill-Mirsky of the Hollywood Bowl Museum will host an open discussion at “Making Lemonade.” The Marketplace will be held in Petree Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Monday, May 24th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Other Notes:
The SMAC-AAM joint reception with the AAM Curators (CurCom) and the Committee on Museum Professional Training (COMPT) will be held at the Hollyhock House in Barnsdale Park, Sunday, May 23rd from 6 – 8:00 p.m.

The Committees’ annual business meeting will occur during the Small Museums Day luncheon on Monday, May 24th at the JW Marriott Hotel, Diamond Salon 3.

If you aren’t traveling to LA, travel online and sign up for the virtual conference at

Announcing the 2010 AAM Virtual Conference

For the first time, AAM is holding a virtual conference and delivering outstanding educational content live from L.A.!

Produced in collaboration with LearningTimes [], this is a two-day online conference showcasing nine sessions selected by our Standing Professional Committees. The sessions cover a wide range of museum issues, including innovative technology that keeps visitors connected, creating experiences for “Millennials” and the promise and peril of using volunteers to help personalize visitors’ experiences. A stellar cast of subject matter experts will offer broad, multidisciplinary perspectives to museums of all types and sizes.

Registration is offered on a group basis. One registration fee entitles you to 10 access keys. AAM member registration is $199 and the cost for non-members is $299. Deadline for registering is 5 p.m. PST May 22.

For a complete list of sessions or to learn more, visit:

Or to register, go to:


SMAC-AAM is pleased to offer fellowships to its members to cover registration for the upcoming Spring Series of AAM Webinars.

Each fellowship recipient will receive one complimentary $35 registration for the selected webinar. Only one webinar fellowship per calendar year will be awarded to any individual.

Deadline for fellowship applications is the Wednesday two weeks before each live webinar. Award notifications will be made by the following Wednesday.

Project Management: Creating a Scope of Work
Date of Webinar: April 7th
Deadline to Apply for Fellowship: March 24th
Notification: March 31st

Handling Non-Traditional Objects
Date of Webinar: April 21st
Deadline to Apply for Fellowship: April 7th
Notification: April 14th

Disaster Preparedness 2010: Works on Paper
Date of Webinar: May 5th
Deadline to Apply for Fellowship: April 21st
Notification: April 28th

Each fellowship applicant must be:
• A current member of AAM at time of application or submit a membership application with the required dues along with fellowship application
• A current member of SMAC-AAM at time of application or submit a membership application with the required dues along with fellowship application
• Currently employed (full-time, paid or unpaid) in a museum with a budget of less than $350,000
• Willing to actively participate in the selected webinar session and actively contribute to the online discussion forum associated with the webinar.

Download the fellowship application at the link:
or request a copy from Carolyn Spears at the address:

Email your completed application by the corresponding deadline listed above to Janice Klein, SMAC-AAM Fellowship Chair at the address:

Please contact Janice Klein, SMAC-AAM Fellowship Chair,

Welcome to the new SMAC-AAM blog!

Members of the Small Museum Administrators Committee will now have easier access to information on professional development opportunities and fellowships, and updates on national initiatives relevant to small museums.

What it is, and What it isn't:

The SMAC-AAM blog will mean more reliable access to information and fewer unwanted emails for members. Members may choose to subscribe to the blog feed via email or instead regularly visit the public address for the blog. This is not a monthly newsletter, or mass email. Nor will it serve as a listserv. The blog will post critical information such as upcoming workshops, scholarship opportunities, and calls for session proposals. The forum will also provide members with quick access to SMAC board members and other resources.


THE AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo 2010 is just around the corner - May 23 - 26. Hosted in Los Angeles, CA, the theme is MUSEUMS WITHOUT BORDERS. Join your colleagues from small museums across the country to discuss big ideas and share our experiences during Small Museum's Day. Set for Monday, May 24th, Small Museum's Day offers a full day of events and sessions to jump-start your work.

Special events include the SMAC Annual Business Meeting luncheon from 12:15 – 1:45 p.m., the Marketplace of Ideas from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., and sessions throughout the day that address the needs of small museums.

The evening before, on Sunday, May 23rd, SMAC is co-hosting an evening reception with CurCom and COMPT. The reception will be held at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House at 4800 Hollywood Blvd. For more information on sessions and events, and to register for the Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, go to

If anyone wishes to join the Board of SMAC, we welcome volunteers. Positions open in 2010 include: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chair, Scholarship Chair and Program Chair. We also welcome anyone to volunteer to assist Chairs by creating a formal subcommittee; ie, a membership committee, scholarship committee, etc.

SMAC is also seeking folks to represent states and regions. Representatives report to the Board news and information and may seek help from SMAC for state or regional programming. Open positions include: New England Region, Mountain Plains Regions, Western Region, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.