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

Webinar: Controlling The Preservation Environment: The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Collection
March 8, 2017
10-11 a.m.

The environment affects every single object in your collections. This webinar will examine the effects of temperature, relative humidity and light on collections, investigate ways to monitor the environment, and provide quick, low-cost tips on reducing environmental damage. This webinar is free but you must register in advance. Register for this webinar.

Workshop: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
March 22, 2017
9-11:30 a.m.
Communities Foundation of Texas, Dallas, Texas

Presented by the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Association of Museums, and TACA (The Arts Community Alliance), this is the first of four workshops that examine how cultural organizations can address diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. During this first session, a panel of local non-profit representatives will discuss and answer questions about how their organizations address the topic of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. This session is free but you must register in advance.

Webinar: Hurricanes, Tornadoes and Earthquakes, Oh My: Creating Your Emergency Plan
April 19, 2017
10-11 a.m.

One of the most basic steps for protecting your collection is creating an emergency plan. This webinar will start by assessing threats to your collection, and then introduce a simple, free tool for creating an emergency plan that will leave you ready when the worst happens. This webinar is free but you must register in advance. Register for this webinar..

Webinar: Don’t Panic: Responding to Your Emergency
May 17, 2017
10-11 a.m.

Sudden emergencies can affect any collection. This webinar will examine the emergency response and salvage process and discuss resources that are available to help you when the worst happens so that you can recover. This webinar is free but you must register in advance. Registration coming soon!

Webinar: Mold and Pests
June 14, 2017
10-11 a.m.
Registration coming soon!

Webinar: Caring for Books and Paper
July 12, 2017
10-11 a.m.

Books and paper are some of the most common artifacts found in museums. Join us to discuss mechanisms of deterioration for paper objects and how to house and handle them safely. This webinar is free but you must register in advance. Registration coming soon!

Webinar: Caring for Photographs    
August 9, 2017
10-11 a.m.

Photographs are some of the most useful artifacts in our collection as well as some of the most vulnerable. This webinar will discuss how to identify a few common types of historic photographs so that we can design appropriate storage systems. We will also discuss storage materials and exhibit practices. This webinar is free but you must register in advance. Registration coming soon!

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

19%

of all Texas history museums are in the Texas Independence Trail Region.

More Fast Facts

What's New

Museums and Politics

What role should museums play in politics? Should a museum take a stance on government policies by tailoring their programs and exhibits to reflect their stance on an issue? Conversely, should museums stay out of politics by taking a neutral position on current issues? This is a subject being hotly debated in the museum community right now. What should your institution do? What actions fit with your mission? What about your relationship with your community? Several organizations weigh in on the issues and offer suggestions if your museum plans to take an active role in politics: AAM, AASLH and the Museum Association of New York.

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.

  • March 16, 2017, 1 p.m. (CST)-Oversize, overwhelmed? Caring for Maps and Architectural Drawings in Your Collection

New England Museum Association

  • February 22, 11 a.m. to noon (CST)-Creating a Major Gift Program in a Small Museum

Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) 

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...