Homepage of the “Slavery at South Carolina College” website.
In the final post of this series, we consider how the “Slavery at South Carolina College” project has been received. The most important effects have been local. The website has acted as a catalyst that has increased awareness of slavery at the university and an interest among students and faculty in speaking plainly about that history. The Richland County Public Library invited the team that created the site to present the research to community members in February 2012, and individual students have guest-lectured on the topic in university classes. Responses from students and members of the community seem to reflect a desire among at least some in the public to learn about and discuss tough issues in our shared history. Continue reading →
GPMP exhibit on display at NYU’s Kimmel Windows Gallery, December 2012 Photo credit: Picture Projects
Editor’s Note: This piece continues a series of posts related to the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, a collaboration of public history programs across the country to raise awareness of the long history of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay (GTMO) and foster dialogue on its future. For an introduction to the series, please see this piece by the Project’s director, Liz Ševčenko.
In her piece introducing the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, Liz Ševčenko notes, “Faced with the challenge of combating apathy and amnesia, the Project took a gamble: give the most responsibility to the people who know the least, and invite them to build their own understanding along with the rest of the world’s.” As one of the student curators invited to participate in the Project’s creation, I was left wondering, “Did the gamble pay off?” Continue reading →
The first big step in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s re-installation process was to conduct visitor research. How do visitors feel about the current South Asian galleries? What do they already know about the area’s religions, geography, cultures, etc.? What do they want to know? What do they find difficult or overwhelming? Which objects do they seem to be drawn to and why? These questions to laid the groundwork for the re-installation, and we set out to find the answers in a number of different ways. Continue reading →
In my last post, I talked about some of the trainings and conceptual frameworks that help me to measure the impact of my programs at the Trustees of Reservations. I wanted to expand on the idea of measuring success and highlight some of the tools I have used for various programs and organizations that I have worked with.
These days I start by organizing the items we want to measure into two equally important categories: Organizational Goals and Engagement Impact Goals. Although I did not always explicitly make this distinction, looking back over the engagement activities I’ve worked with at different organizations, I can see that this distinction was more often present than not. Continue reading →
The ultimate challenge: How can we measure what a place means to a visitor?
We are just passing that time of year when my team at The Trustees of Reservations transitions out of our high season and into the relative quiet of the winter. With a busy program season for our historic homes from around April to October and a budget planning season starting in December, I have about two months in the fall to review all of the data that we have collected. I use the information to determine where I will allocate staff and resources for the next year, what the key promotional opportunities might be, and what projects will become priorities for our winter fundraising efforts.
Being able to do this thoughtfully and comprehensively is critical to my programs and, more importantly, to the people we serve. Continue reading →