When I decided I wanted to help small museums and history-based organizations find ways to survive and, more importantly, thrive, many people asked me, why bother? Most of these places are boring, they said, they don't do anything, and they haven't changed in decades. What's the point?
The point is these museums, historic sites, and historical societies are important to maintaining the identities of their communities by offering an understanding of their shared past. They help people develop a sense of place, a feeling of belonging that, in turn, create stronger communities. When communities are strong, everyone benefits, residents and visitors alike. Consequently, it's important to help these organizations not only survive, but also find ways to engage with their communities.
Unfortnately, it's true that many small facilities have changed little over the past 50 years. There is a tendency to maintain a "we've always done it this way" approach because it's what we know and it's comfortable. It's also hard to change when no one realizes there's a need to do so, and it gets complicated by the reality that for most of us involved in preserving the past, it's a very personal endeavor. Therefore, when the idea of change is raised it's often perceived as a personal attack as well as being just plain scary.
But, it doesn't have to be that way.
My goal is to help small facilities realize that while change can be frightening, it's both necessary and manageable.