A Change Is Coming

Lughnasa                                             Waning Harvest Moon

An edible Docent luncheon.  Whoa.  Sat with Emily, Grace, Allison, Linda, Cheryl, Amanda, Katherine, then Sheila.   The actual program contained as many boring bits as usual but the table companions more than made up for the dullness of the rest.

Afterward we all trundled over to the Pillsbury auditorium for Katherine’s speech outlining her vision for a new and improved volunteer experience at the MIA.  Many of her ideas and initiatives sound useful and needed.  The already changed rule that now allows volunteers in free to any museum lecture jumps the level of continuing education up a notch right away.  A needed notch.

As a self-professed techno-geek, many of Katherine’s plans have some link or another to various technological ideas.  The Docent lounge has been gutted and will undergo extensive remodeling to serve as a lounge and research area as well as, if I understood correctly, a center for Docents who want to moderate web discussions, write weblogs or blogs (I don’t understand the difference) and participate in digitalizing the collection in many different forms.

The intention is, too, to digitize all the object files and to first create streaming video of older continuing ed, then stream them live while creating video for later review.

Much of this comes under the guise of an NEH grant called the Extended Collection Project.

She had various other announcements, some related to the new structure of her department, Learning and Innovation, others to staff changes.  Staff got shuffled around, some, like Sheila and Amanda, to totally new positions, others, like Debbie and Ann, to newly named positions within the same programs.

I did notice a while back that one thing Katherine has done is to flatten the entire organization.  She took out the position that Sheila previously held, a middle level manager over all the guide programs and did not replace it, so all guide programs report directly to her.

A group of docents with which I spend time sent a list of suggestions to her and I’m not clear how many of them were addressed in this lecture.  I thought there would be some obvious sign.

Perhaps I’m a bit starry eyed here, but I believe Katherine’s work heads in the same direction many of us have wanted, i.e. better access to better resources.  I also believe she will work with us as we see the need.

There are elements still untouched and we’ll have to work on those some more.

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