Dear Museums Alaska Members,
Last year was a busy and productive year for Museums Alaska. I want to thank our Executive Director, Della Hall, the Museums Alaska board, and our membership for making 2017 such a great one. This year, we will be building on many of the efforts that we started last year, and I want to provide our members with a summary of some of our major accomplishments in 2017 as well as what we hope to accomplish in 2018. The following could not have been accomplished without the financial support of your Museums Alaska membership, so thank you for your continued support.
Our Advocacy Committee worked hard to push bills to establish a Museum Construction Grant Program (SB7 and HB166). This effort stalled, but we will continue this legislative advocacy work in 2018. We are also currently pushing for our members to advocate for the Grant-In-Aid program, which has been removed from the Governor’s proposed budget. Please see this link to see how you can advocate for the Grant-In-Aid Program.
Museums Alaska held three rounds of grants for the Art Acquisition Fund (AAF) and Collections Management Fund (CMF) programs in 2017. We disbursed $204,778 in AAF funding to 17 museums for the purchase of 52 pieces of artwork, and $145,222 in CMF funding to 26 museums for 33 collections improvement projects.
As you all know, we are making changes to the AAF and CMF grant programs. Last year, with support from Rasmuson Foundation, we worked with Gail Anderson & Associates to evaluate the AAF and CMF programs. Many members and Alaskan artists participated in this evaluation and for that we are extremely grateful. Based on the results of this evaluation, we are working to make focused changes to these grant programs to better serve the needs of Alaskan museums. This spring we will be applying for a multi-year Tier II grant from Rasmuson to continue this program. If our grant application is successful, we aim to resume these grant programs in fall 2018.
Last spring, the board formed an ad hoc Bylaws Revision Committee to revise our bylaws, something we do every five years. The committee sent the draft of the proposed bylaws as amended to the membership, who voted in favor of the revisions. Thanks to everyone who voted!
Also last spring, the board created an ad hoc committee to focus on rebranding, redesigning our website with increased features for our members, and the creation of a permanent joint conference website. The committee posted an RFP to select a designer for this work. We plan to work on these efforts during our in-person board meeting this March.
Last fall, we held a successful joint Museums Alaska and Alaska Historical Society conference in Anchorage, with over 200 registrants. The theme of the conference was “Social Discourse: Responding to Our Communities,” and keynote speaker Sean Kelley of Eastern State Penitentiary gave an inspiring talk about neutrality in museums. Museums Alaska provided approximately $4,900 in conference scholarships to support seven members’ attendance at the conference.
Earlier this winter, we conducted a survey to determine how we can better serve our membership. Our Membership Committee will be working to review the results of this survey and make changes to increase our offerings to our membership as much as possible. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!
Museums Alaska has a volunteer board, and we get much of our work done by committee. We have 10 standing committees as well as a handful of ad hoc committees at any given time. Committees are made up of board members and members at large who call into committee meetings from all over the state. I would like to thank all of our members who volunteer on various committees and welcome all members to join any committees you may be interested in. Please contact Della Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining any of our committees.
Our memberships run the calendar year from January 1 through December 31, so please don’t forget to renew your membership this spring. Your membership, as well as any additional donation you choose to make to Museums Alaska, is tax deductible and supports Museums Alaska’s mission.
Looking forward to an exciting and productive year ahead!
President, Museums Alaska