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 http://www.aaslh.org/SmallMuseums.htm 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 infocenter@aam-us.org.

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 (jkhm@mindspring.com):

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 (oldjailmuseum@accelplus.net), 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: