United We ServeWe certainly receive amazing amounts of time and input from our volunteers, from library volunteers to interns (both high school and college), docents, Friends and many, many more, and we know what they can do for us. We encourage you, even if you're not in the Athens area or interested in art (although we'd be sad about the latter) to check out www.serve.gov and either volunteer your time or provide an opportunity for someone else to.
AAM is staunchly behind “United We Serve,” the White House initiative to be launched June 22 [future tense reflecting our lateness, not Bell's] and slated to run through September 11th, urging Americans to volunteer their time, energy and ingenuity to solve problems in their communities. Museums of all types and sizes and in every state are urged to upload their volunteer opportunities at www.serve.gov, the Web clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities across the nation.
Museums have long been beacons for Americans’ spirit of generosity and engagement. The latest Museum Financial Information survey (available from the AAM Bookstore in July), revealed the following startling nuggets:
--95% of responding museums said they rely on volunteers;
--The median number of volunteers at each museum is 65, or six for each full-time staffer;
--We estimate that volunteers contribute at least one million hours a week to U.S. museums.
--And we estimate that those one million hours a week are equivalent to $1 billion a year. Let’s marshal this spirit in support of the president’s “United We Serve” initiative.
We encourage your staff to sign up for our latest Webinar series, Museum Essentials, beginning July 1. Covering the basic tenets of museum operations, the series content was inspired by feedback we received from members. These Webinars are a productive staff activity - all for one $25 admission fee. Details are on the AAM site at www.aam-us.org.
Ford W. Bell
The Webinar series from AAM is equally useful, a valuable resource for learning about collections care, making visitor experiences as good as possible, strategic planning and much more. Here's how AAM describes the current series:
Museum Essentials is based on the standards and practices of the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) which is designed to ensure the highest museum performance in governance, administration, responsibility and accountability to both museum collections and museum audiences. Administered by AAM in conjunction with the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), MAP has for 25 years empowered museums to excel in all aspects of operations, collections management, public programs and strategic planning. Participants in the Museum Essentials series will benefit from the experiences of MAP leaders and practitioners.