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

Free Webinars

All collections-related webinars are led by Rebecca Elder of Rebecca Elder Cultural Heritage Preservation.
All exhibit webinars are led by Erin McClelland of Erin McClelland Museum Services.


May 17: Webinar: Don’t Panic: Responding to Your Emergency

May 25: Webinar: Implementing Good Storytelling in Your Exhibits

June 14: Webinar: Critters and Slime: Dealing with Biological Agents of Deterioration

June 15: Webinar: Grappling with Difficult and Undertold Stories in Exhibits

June 22: Webinar: Selecting Strong Visuals for Exhibits

July 12: Webinar: Caring for Books and Paper

August 9: Webinar: Caring for Photographs. Registration coming in June.

September 13: Webinar: Textile Conservation. Registration coming in July.

October 18: Webinar: How Do We Pay For It?: Grants and Grant Writing for Collections. Registration coming in August.

Click here to access recordings of past webinars.

Workshops

  • Learn to See Clearly: Removing Blind Spots from Organizational Behaviors
    Wednesday, May 24, 2017
    Time: Registration begins at 9 a.m., workshop 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    Instructor: Chris Taylor, Chief Inclusion Officer, Minnesota Historical Society
    Location:
    Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
    Cost:  Free
    Registration

    Increasing diversity within audience and staff is crucial to the sustainability of all arts and cultural institutions. The decision to be more inclusive often requires fundamental changes in organizational policies and procedures. Examining organizational culture for systemic bias helps remove barriers to creating inclusive workplaces that value diverse perspectives from everyone. This workshop focuses on understanding the relationship between organizational culture and unconscious bias and how this relationship can derail inclusion efforts within institutions. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of organizational culture and how blind spots have become embedded in our behaviors, practices and organizational policies. Participants will have time to examine bias within their own institutions and learn ways to move unconscious bias to conscious bias in an effort to mitigate effects on inclusion efforts.  This is a hands-on, participatory learning opportunity. Participants are encouraged, but not required, to bring current organizational policies with them to the workshop to examine during afternoon group discussions.

    This workshop is limited to 40 people and two people from each organization is highly recommended.

     
  • Advocacy is not a Dirty Word (and it’s not THAT Scary Either…)
    Dates: June 6 and June 8, 217; October 3 and October 5, 2017

    Time: Registration 9 a.m., Workshop 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
    Instructor:  Bob Beatty, The Lyndhurst Group, Inc.
    Locations: June 6 at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and June 8 at the George Bush Library and Museum in College Station
    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. 

     
  • 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.
     
  • Coming Soon:
    Colleen Dilenschneider, author of the popular Know Your Own Bone blog, will be holding two workshops and one webinar for Texas museums this summer. Stay tuned to the Museum Services Program web page and the Texas Association of Museums web page for more information on the workshops and webinar, including registration.
  • 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

153 million

Photographs in U.S. collecting institutions are at risk

More Fast Facts

What's New

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.

American Alliance of Museums

Northeast Document Conservation Center

Wisconsin Historical Society

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...