Museum Services

Texas is home to more than 900 local history museums. Whether housed in a historic structure or a state-of-the-art new building, each one is dedicated to telling the story of a community’s unique history. Collectively, they preserve the real places and the real things that tell the whole story of Texas.

The Museum Services Program enables small history museums to better carry out their missions by helping them to increase their capacity for meeting professional standards. We do this by providing:

  • Free consultations
  • Training
  • Communication

Free consultations

Program staff can assist museums in any aspect of museum operations, including but not limited to:

  • Starting, planning, or reorganizing a museum
  • Writing mission statements
  • Strategic planning
  • Disaster preparedness and recovery
  • Educational program development
  • Exhibit planning and design
  • Interpretation of collections
  • Board development and relations
  • Volunteer recruitment and training
  • Special events
  • Collections care
  • Security
  • Fundraising
  • Professional ethics

In addition, our Technical Assistance section provides a number of downloadable resource lists, articles, and other useful information for museums.

Training

Workshops

  • Workshop: So What? Connecting Visitors to Meaning through Interpretive Exhibits
    Date: June 28, 2017
    Time: Registration at 8:30 a.m., workshop 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Instructor: Erin McClelland, Erin McClelland Museum Services
    Location: Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin
    Cost: $25 (includes lunch)
    Registration

    This one-day workshop focuses on ways you can make your exhibits more meaningful to your visitors through interpretation. We will examine the place of interpretation in exhibits and practice proven techniques of interpretive writing. Discussion and group activities will teach participants how to create relevance for visitors, develop memorable exhibit themes, and create hierarchies to engage visitors of all interest levels. This workshop is part of the WWI Centennial Series, and while examples from WWI are utilized, the information presented is applicable to everyone.

    The last day for registration and refunds is June 25.

  • Workshop: Telling a Story in Three Dimensions: Exhibit Design and Development
    Date: July 26, 2017
    Time: Registration at 8:30 a.m., workshop 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Instructor: Erin McClelland, Erin McClelland Museum Services
    Location: Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin
    Cost: $25 (includes lunch)
    Registration

    Creating an exhibition is about more than just pairing objects with labels and hanging a few panels on the wall. Good exhibits take visitors on a journey through history, educating and inspiring them along the way. This involves space planning, selecting appropriate materials and lighting, and an understanding of design principles. This workshop will teach the basics of the design process, from initial concept to installation. Come prepared for a day of hands-on, creative work that will leave you well-prepared to plan your next exhibition.

    The last day for registration and refunds is July 23.

  • Know Your Own Bone ... and Your Audience
    Dates and locations: July 25, National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg; July 27 Irving Arts Center, Irving.
    Time: Registration begins at 9 a.m.; workshop 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Instructor: Colleen Dilenschneider
    Cost: $40 (includes lunch)
    Registration

    Declining attendance? Need for growth to balance your business model? Is your organization experiencing decreasing - or even stable - visitation? If so, it’s time to update operations and find new ways to “connect with a more connected world.” The number of people who profile as traditional visitors to museums is decreasing in the United States, and museum attendance is not keeping pace with population growth. This means that organizations experiencing anything less than a steady increase in attendance are in a state of urgent visitation decline. It’s an industry-wide problem, and it is time for individual organizations to turn their ships around.

    Colleen Dilenschneider is the Chief Market Engagement Officer at IMPACTS Research and author of the popular website, Know Your Own Bone. In this workshop, Colleen will discuss the visitation decision-making and engagement process, and cover the most critical, trends informing the evolution of museum operations in four, key areas: Access, marketing, visitor experiences, and development. The trends discussed will challenge organizations to carefully consider traditional best practices, and provide room for exploring not only how your organization may evolve to satisfy future audiences, but also what it can do to increase visitation and engagement right now.

    This workshop is equally suitable for both large and small organizations. You will leave this workshop with a better understanding of market trends and audience expectations and have actionable strategies that workshop attendees can put into play or begin thinking about within their organizations to adapt to these trends.
     
  • Advocacy is not a Dirty Word (and it’s not THAT Scary Either…)
    Dates: October 3 and October 5, 2017
    Time: Registration 8:30 a.m.,Workshop 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Instructor:  Bob Beatty, The Lyndhurst Group, Inc.
    Locations: TBA
    Cost: $35 (includes lunch)
    Registration

    Ultimately, a museum’s value is measured in its importance to its community, is it not? Often stakeholders know about that impact through advocating for the institution. In its purest form, advocacy is simply “the act or process of supporting a cause.” In our case, that cause is our museums and their impact on the public. Advocacy is part of our job description of a museum professional and is a year-round activity that extends beyond the corridors of power and includes your stakeholders throughout the community including friends, neighbors, donors, and members. In this workshop, learn advocacy incrementally, from the basics of advocacy and the differences between advocacy and lobbying, to intermediate steps such as engaging diverse stakeholders, to creating a plan to articulate message.

Free Webinars

All collections-related webinars are led by Rebecca Elder of Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation.

July 12: Webinar: Caring for Books and Paper

August 9: Webinar: Caring for Photographs

September 13: Webinar: Textile Conservation

October 18: Webinar: How Do We Pay For It?: Grants and Grant Writing for Collections

Click here to access recordings of past webinars.

Communications

Museum Services Intern Diana Luis

Check out the Highlights and What’s New Sections of this web page for announcements and current news from Museums Services.

Program staff sends email notices on timely information about current trends, available resources, technical tips, upcoming grant deadlines, training opportunities, and other types of assistance. To be added to this email list, contact program staff.

 

Fast
Facts

Texas

Has the largest state museum association in the country

More Fast Facts

What's New

Texas Historical Commission Preservation Awards

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers awards to recognize worthy accomplishments and exemplary leadership in the preservation of Texas’ heritage.

  • Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation
  • Ruth Lester Lifetime Achievement Award
  • John Ben Shepperd County Historical Commission Leadership Award
  • George Christian Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award
  • John L. Nau, III Award of Excellence in Museums
  • Curtis D. Tunnell Lifetime Achievement Award in Archeology
  • Anice B. Read Award of Excellence in Community Heritage Development
  • Texas Historical Commission Award of Excellence in Preserving History
  • Texas Historical Commission Award of Excellence in Historic Architecture
  • Texas Historical Commission Award of Excellence in Media Achievement
  • Award of Merit

The deadline to submit applications for the THC’s historic preservation awards is 5 p.m. on Friday, July 14.

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers awards to recognize worthy accomplishments and exemplary leadership in the preservation of Texas’ heritage. - See more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/awards#sthash.iNC3hcrG.dpuf
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers awards to recognize worthy accomplishments and exemplary leadership in the preservation of Texas’ heritage. - See more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/awards#sthash.iNC3hcrG.dpuf
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) offers awards to recognize worthy accomplishments and exemplary leadership in the preservation of Texas’ heritage. - See more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/awards#sthash.iNC3hcrG.dpuf

More About Texas Historical Commission Preservation Awards

Free Webinars

The Connecting to Collections Care Online Community helps smaller cultural institutions to provide well-informed care for valuable collections through free webinars. Registration is required.

Image Permanence Institute. The first three webinars discuss the various materials and technologies of photographic prints.

Has your organization been waiting for the right time to enroll in AASLH’s Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs)? Now is the time because AASLH is offering a special “get-the-ball-rolling” bonus for organizations that sign up in May.

StEPs is all about daily tasks like caring for collections, planning programs, and working with a board of directors. StEPs will help you build a stronger and more vibrant organization. And that translates into more credibility, more support, and a museum that is a valuable asset to its community for many more years to come.

- See more at: http://blogs.aaslh.org/enroll-in-steps-in-may-and-get-a-special-get-the-...

Has your organization been waiting for the right time to enroll in AASLH’s Standards and Excellence Program for History Organizations (StEPs)? Now is the time because AASLH is offering a special “get-the-ball-rolling” bonus for organizations that sign up in May.

StEPs is all about daily tasks like caring for collections, planning programs, and working with a board of directors. StEPs will help you build a stronger and more vibrant organization. And that translates into more credibility, more support, and a museum that is a valuable asset to its community for many more years to come.

- See more at: http://blogs.aaslh.org/enroll-in-steps-in-may-and-get-a-special-get-the-...

Erin McClelland, Instructor
Based in Austin, McClelland is an independent interpretive specialist who works with small- to medium-sized museums. She regularly offers training in interpretation, exhibit content development, and interpretive master planning.

Several dates in June:
8:30 am Registration
9:00 am - 4:00 pm Workshop
Lunch will be provided.
Registration fee: $35

- See more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/museum-assistanc...

Erin McClelland, Instructor
Based in Austin, McClelland is an independent interpretive specialist who works with small- to medium-sized museums. She regularly offers training in interpretation, exhibit content development, and interpretive master planning.

Several dates in June:
8:30 am Registration
9:00 am - 4:00 pm Workshop
Lunch will be provided.
Registration fee: $35

- See more at: http://www.thc.texas.gov/preserve/projects-and-programs/museum-assistanc...