THS STAFF DOES PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

New Contacts Made / “Batteries” Re-charged

Last week THS Executive Director Richard Sklenar and recently hired Archive Director Kathy McLeister spent 3 days at the annual state-wide Illinois Association of Museums conference. Both enjoyed the company of 280 fellow professionals and dedicated volunteers at social events, site visits, seminars and other doings. A lunch table companion was Diane Gutenkauf, an alderman in Elmhurst, Illinois, our HQ hometown, and the Director of the Col. Robert R. McCormick House Museum at Cantigny.

Richard and Kathy had the opportunity to visit the new off-site storage facility of Naper Settlement, an outdoor living history museum in the conference host city of Naperville, Illinois. A $2.5 million 15,000 square foot addition to the city’s new public works garage, it was outfitted with a $600,000 grant. It features state of the art hi-density shelving which easily moves on tracks embedded in the floor so that there is no wasted aisle space. It’s a facility to envy AND emulate.

Some of the other sessions attended were exhibit development on a limited budget, social networking, collections care, evaluation for museums large and small, maintaining effective Board communication, and a number of financial discussions.

Kathy additionally was able to attend a Saturday session at the Chicago History Museum called “Looking Your Backlog in the Eye”. It seems they have a backlog of materials which will take 20 years to catalogue so THS doesn’t feel nearly so bad about its backlog.

Both THS attendees came home refreshed, educated and inspired thanks to our friends at Naper Settlement and their IAM Conference team.

THS and the other three museums in Elmhurst hosted the IAM conference two years ago.

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