Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi, email@example.com Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Outgoing Long Island Museum Association (LIMA) President Philip Blocklyn announced at their annual meeting that LIMA will offer three professional development grants in 2014 to support member organizations in sending professional staff to conferences, workshops and seminars, whether national, regional, or local in scope.
“The grants are designed," Blocklyn said, “to encourage all of us in the museum association to make professional development a part of our missions.”
The application process and procedures will be available to member organizations in January.
Blocklyn, director of the Oyster Bay Historical Society, explained about the grants saying, “Anything that will allow museums to get special development of staff increases and enhances their ability to serve the public. It is important that the professional staffs learn new skills.
“We had a scholarship program in the past and was for one person for the year; now we have three of them. It is the same amount of money but through using matching grants, it increases the participation. The grant of $250 from LIMA is matched by their organization therefore it gets more money into the project and it also commits the organization to supporting the reimbursement grant.
Nicole Menchise, OBHS librarian and archivist did receive one in 2013 to go to the Society of American Archivists (SAA) conference in New Orleans. The conference had a slate of workshops relating to archival projects. She reported to LIMA at the meeting, sharing her knowledge. She has also given preservation workshops here in Oyster Bay and a lecture at the Southold Historical Society.
“We try to be active and the LIMA main focus is on the professional museum people who work here on Long Island. The round tables we do are designed to improve the skills of professional people. LIMA’s main focus is professional development, which in truth, improves the museum’s ability to serve the public.
“The point is that the skills you need change and evolve over time. You enter the profession with academic credentials but things happen — like changing technology and that means you have to learn new skills. Another current focus is to attract people that have not been served in the past. When changes occur in society and technology, you have o learn how to change with it,” said Blocklyn.
The annual meeting was preceded by a lively panel discussion on best practices for the reappraisal of museum collections. Menchise, along with Halie Geller of Cultural Heritage Partners and Michael Schantz of the Heckscher Museum of Art, reviewed the rules and guidelines for reappraisal according to the New York Board of Regents, the American Alliance of Museums, and the Society of American Archivists (SAA).
“The big turnout,” commented Menchise, “indicates how relevant this topic is to our membership. I’m glad that I attended an SAA workshop on reappraisal this past spring. Now I can point archivists to the most recent resources available to them.”
New Officers Elected
At LIMA’s Annual Meeting on Dec. 2 at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, the group elected a new slate of officers and board members-at-large for 2014.
The new officers are: President Amy Folk, of the Southhold Historical Society, the Oyster Ponds Historical Society and the Suffolk County Historical Society; Vice President Theresa Skvarla, Raynham Hall Museum assistant director; Treasurer Penny Zaleta, a museum consultant; Secretary Faun Guarino rentals and events management at the LI Children’s Museum; and Members-at-Large: Philip Blocklyn, immediate past president; Barbara Applegate director of the Hillwood Art Museum at LIU Post; Phyllis Chan-Carr, marketing director at Sagtikos Manor (George Washington slept there), Geoff Fleming director of Southold Historical Society; and Florence Ogg independent consultant.
Interestingly, the new LIMA president, Amy Kasuga Folk, SHS collections manager; and LIMA board member SHS director Geoffrey K. Fleming, are co-authors of a new book, Murder on Long Island: A Nineteenth Century Tale of Tragedy & Revenge. It documents the history of the murders of Frances and James Wickham of Cutchogue, in 1854. It is a story about a humane couple, the Wickhams, wealthy landowners, who made a courageous decision to protect a young woman servant from a bully and ended up paying the ultimate price.
The Museum Association is devoted to the professional development of the museums, historical societies, and other cultural institutions that constitute its membership base. In 2013, LIMA held four roundtables on issues of concern to its regional members, such as educational programming, museum shop management, board development and collection management, along with a field trip and behind-the-scenes tour of St. John the Divine’s Textile Conservation Lab in New York City.
For more information on the Long Island Museum Association, visit the web site at limamuseums.org.