Monday, February 6, 2012


The museum business is a whacky racket, but it is a wonderful industry because ultimately we’re all contributing to something bigger than ourselves and our careers. Not least among us in this business are “Museum People,” who play an important role and make the day-to-day grind possible.

Everyone is aware of the typical “Museum Person” profile: that extroverted individual with a liberal fashion sense who possesses a flair for the poetic or dramatic moment during a meeting or at a conference--the stars of the museum business. This typecast typically includes curators, donors, art students, and so on--but there are so many other unsung “Museum People” …people that are so important and so dedicated but are not always recognizable as such. Sometimes they don’t even think of themselves as Museum people and might even reject the title! Regardless, people who do not come from these typical typecasts and backgrounds, who nevertheless dedicate their time and effort to bettering the museum world are truly Museum People. Even if through nontraditional means, if they give a lot of themselves to museums, they care and tangible rewards are not necessarily their motivation,they are invaluable Museum People.

Museum Explorer is losing a true “Museum Person.” Though regrettable, it is actually a happy occasion as one of our co-workers moves on to another job, back to work in the ‘Real World’ after a stint in the museum world for the past several years. Although her time in our business was short-lived, there isn’t a person out there who deserves the title of “Museum Person” more than Liz.

Like a lot of folks who move on or move back to the real-world after time served in the Museum World, it is not always easy to explain what goes on in our special not-for-profit realm. But having Liz on board for almost three years was worthwhile and a great benefit to our little troop of Museum-Lifers here at Museum Explorer. We learned a lot during our timeline together.

Liz served Museum Explorer a project estimator and budget manager. Prior to Liz’s arrival we managed our schedules and project budgets on our own, and we did fairly well--or at least so we thought. But when Liz arrived on the scene, taking a job with us after being bumped from the real-world during the economic crisis, we gained a real pro who took over and taught us many valuable lessons, things that are now in place and making us better at what we do every day.

Project Management is not just a skill, it’s an art form. Getting things lined up, laying out a timeline for the design team and for the clients, letting clients know what is what and when is when can make a project golden on both sides of the fence. The savvy client appreciates being skillfully directed and we, Museum X, we felt more comfortable and confident knowing a bit more about what was coming and when it was due.

Thanks Liz for teaching us how to stay on task and how to manage our process. Thanks Liz for getting on the phone and talking and sometimes taking on those tough clients. Thanks Liz for being a part of our timeline if for only a short time… and most of all Liz, thanks for being a ‘Museum Person.’

Good Luck!