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Our Deep Dive into History Museum Leadership at the AASLH Leadership Forum

AASLH Leadership Forum
  1. Gone are the days where history museum leaders haven't got a clue about leadership. They get it. They may lead fraught, overwhelmed lives, but they get it.

  2. History museum professionals don't press the pause button often enough.

  3. Some history museum leaders spend too much time alone.

  4. Talking about why we do what we do is as important--if not more so--than talking about how we do it.

  5. Pay equity makes some leaders nervous and fires up others.

  6. Based on listening to this room of 30 individuals, too few think intentionally about their careers with any regularity.

  7. A lot of people seem to think once they are parents or partnered or both, their careers are stuck.

  8. The vast majority of the room seemed to feel they have audience empathy knocked. Empathy on the back stage side--for staff, board and volunteers--appears trickier.

  9. Brene Brown's short video on the differences between empathy and sympathy was a fan favorite.

  10. Best line: A participant telling her supervisor she was quitting. "I have one short, precious life, and it's too short and too precious to work for you." The original included a strategically placed f-bomb which gave the whole sentence a lot of zing. As we told the roomful of leaders, it was an honor to participate. Although admittedly this was a self-selected group, people seem to embrace leadership at all levels. By that we mean the doing of leading, not seeing the director's position as a conclusion. And that's a blessing. While there is always work to do--especially back stage, especially on workplace race and gender issues--without sounding too Pollyanna-like, it feels as though there's finally a sea change taking hold on the leadership front. Joan Baldwin


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