It has been over two years since my last Museum Questions post, in November 2020. To everyone reading this post: congratulations on getting through the past few years. What’s changed for you professionally since early 2020? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
WordPress tells me there are nearly 1000 subscribers to this blog, and tens of thousands of readers last year despite the lack of new articles. But how many of these emails are still active years later? And how many of these readers are interested in new posts? Is this blog still a space worth sharing questions and musings on?
A quick overview of my past few years: As director of a children’s museum in Central Illinois I weathered a 15-month closure / virtual existance, followed by the challenges of reopening the museum amidst safety protocols that changed constantly. I was lucky: I kept my job. And COVID was relatively easy for me – I don’t know anyone who got seriously ill from the disease. I shared my house with two nearly-adult children who were great company. I lived in a small city where I did not rely on public transportation, shopped (masked) in uncrowded grocery stores, and could spend time with friends outside, and then, in 2021, indoors as well.
But in 2022, as COVID waned and my younger child headed off to college, I decided it was time to move back to the east coast. I loved my job, but it was time for a change. I joined the Great Resignation, leaving my museum in July 2022.
After packing up my house and getting my kids off to college, I went on a solo 750 mile bike ride (which I shared on Instagram), visiting only 2 museums along the way. In October I moved to Baltimore, where I am staying with a college friend in her beautiful house, spending time visiting people up and down the coast from New York to Charlottesville.
I am also doing some consulting work and looking for my next job, limiting my search to Baltimore and Philadelphia, near friends and family.
This past year’s adventure has provided me with time to think and to question. Do I still want to work in museums? What do museums do for the world? What museums are good places to work, and why? How can we change pay inequity in museums, and are unions really the answer, or do we need to invent a new system? How can I play a role in helping museum staff at different levels better understand and communicate with each other, and engage in joint problem solving instead of tense negotiations? Are other non-profits as broken as museums are?
All of which is to say, now that I have had some time off, and I am not working long days and weeks in a single museum, my brain is back to thinking in terms of questions about the larger field.
Over the past few months I have chosen LinkedIn as a way to explore questions and resources. But I think I’m ready to start blogging again. Except: my kids (ages 18 and 20) have assured me no one reads blogs anymore.
So I’m asking you: Do you still read blogs? Would you read this one? Is LinkedIn a better place to ponder?
Links to recent related LinkedIn posts:
- How do we live with paradoxes in our workplaces?
- How can workplace anxiety be useful?
- What happens if we start talking about things more positively?
- What do you wish your company would do to demonstrate the importance of the people who work there? And what performance metrics do you wish your company had to underscore what’s really important in a leader?
- What does “unreasonable hospitality” in museums look like?