HOW GOOD IS YOUR MUSEUM?


| July/August 1985



Volunteers

Volunteers Helen Hutchings, Bob Wise, and Virgil White taking inventory.

If you are an organization which holds shows and operates a museum as one of your activities, or if you are set up solely to operate a museum, this article opens a series which may be helpful.

The engine collection and restoration hobby has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. It covers the United States, and much of Canada, and is strong in other countries such as Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Sweden. Our magazines have chronicled the growth from early days.

Museum operation for many organizations has been an offshoot of the main thrust, but it has served a vital purpose for it has preserved much that might otherwise have been lost. Today's visitors can gain some idea of what life used to be like, by walking into any of these sets of exhibits.

There are also many museums which are professionally funded, staffed and operated as fulltime places for the public to visit. The Smithsonian Institution has excellent exhibits; so does Greenfield in Michigan. Many museums are members of the Association for Living Historical Farms. Agricultural museums display engines or farm implements and hold events which tie in with this hobby.

Can you learn anything from the way other museums are operated? That's up to you. We'll try, in this series which will present articles at intervals when the information can be assembled, to bring you the latest on what is being done in the fields of steam, gas, implements and machinery, and in specialized museums. We will welcome letters and articles if you care to submit them.

We are interested in all phases... finding items that can be made part of a collection; acquisition; restoration; identification; labeling; housing; exhibiting to best advantage; use of museum objects; security; keeping of records and archives; financing; seeking grants; establishing authenticity; advertising and publicity; handling of visitors; reliance on paid staff and volunteers, and anything else our readers feel is to the point.