|Paul, Karin, Barbara and Barb|
What I appreciate most about this museum is the positive attitude. In talking with Barbara about her experiences working in the museum field, she often remarks that you just have to keep moving forward. There is always room for improvement. If you get hung up on how much there is to do or how long it will take to accomplish something then you'll never get anywhere. This is very much in tune with how ANSM operates - we love tackling crazy huge projects, but we eat those elephants one bite at a time. Maybe that's why Barbara and I get along so well.
We also get along well because Barbara is a stickler for standards. She doesn't accept the excuse that volunteer-run or seasonal museums should be cut some slack because they have fewer resources than some of the larger sites. You just have to be smart about scaling the work and focus on moving forward. Because of this mindset, Parkdale has consistently been at the top of the CMAP score chart. As such a high scorer, and for her practical approach to the work, other museums have often been referred to her for help. And she has always been ready to share her knowledge and experience. If a group was thinking about starting a museum, Paul would tell them to talk to Barbara first so they would understand just how much work was involved. I have used this museum countless times when discussing game plans and best practice examples, even if I haven't named them (I try not to name names).
The museum really is a focal point in the community; they host a number of very popular events throughout the year, including their famous Blueberry Tea. They have school groups in, are a CAP site, and have a lovely little gift shop with an ice cream freezer so the place is always buzzing with some activity or other. The focus isn't just on getting someone to go through the exhibits or engage in some sort of "museum activity". It's about serving their community, however the community needs to be served.
Sometimes when a fantastic long-standing Curator retires we get a little nervous. It can be very difficult for an organization to settle after losing someone with so much corporate knowledge. Again, Barbara was thinking ahead. Donna has been handed the reins and knows exactly what needs to be done. The two have worked closely together for years, and as her retirement approached, Barbara made sure to focus on succession planning and training. This kind of planning is unfortunately rare in our province, so once again Parkdale-Maplewood Community Museum serves as a model for the rest of us.
So thanks to Barbara and Donna and the entire team at Parkdale-Maplewood Community Museum for being such a bright light in the museum world.
|All the best Barbara!|