If you've yet to take a look at Reach Advisor's Museum Audience Insight blog today, I recomend that you do so! Their recent post, Museum Bashing and a Shift in Philanthropic Priorities, Part I calls our attention to the need for museums to measure and articulate our impact. This post specifically addresses a growing movement within philanthropy but surely our experience this year meeting with elected officials in Albany; examining the priorities of the Regional Economic Development Councils; and speaking with our colleagues at our Regional Meet-ups clearly indicate if Museums and Heritage Organizations want a seat at the table, we need to codify our data to demonstrate our impact. This is not a new challenge for museums, however defining how-to prove this value lingers.
In 2011, we published The Challenge of Value Engaging Communities in Why Museums Exist which was the culmination of three facilitated Focus on Value conversations held during the 2011 New York State Museums in Conversation Conference. I invite you to revisit the THE VALUE AGENDA defined within this document as it underscores the need to work together at all levels to support data collection and analysis as well as the development of tools that put a face on why collecting institutions and historic sites are critical to national identity and community vitality.
"I can't see any reason why any of us in this room would spend our time and money serving on a museum board with a few dozen others who aren't generating any significant impact."