AAM Direct Care Task Force Update: June 2015
The Direct Care Task Force met during the Alliance annual meeting in Atlanta to discuss the results of the opinion survey conducted in February and to frame the forthcoming White Paper.
Their lively and thoughtful discussions covered discipline-specific issues, philosophies and viewpoints, and frequently went back to the topic of financially motivated deaccessioning. Representatives from New Knowledge, the non-profit think tank and planning group that conducted the survey for AAM, presented their findings and analysis of the data.
A very broad range of museum types and job functions were represented by the surveys 1258 respondents: Nearly three quarters of the respondents identified their primary role in the museum industry as responsible for Collections (74.1%) while a quarter (24.4%) hold executive office. Nearly all the remaining respondents hold primary roles that are either executive or managerial; a handful are in other roles. The types of museums participating broke down as: History 32%; Art 28%; Specialized, Multi-disciplinary or visitor center 17%; Natural History 11%; Science/Technology 5%; Arboretum/ Botanical or Public Garden 4%; Children’s / Youth 2%; Aquarium/Zoo 1%.
Before seeing the results, the Task Force hypothesized that a respondents position in an organization and the discipline of participating institutions would influence the outcome of the survey. However, the analysis found no statistical differences. In examining both the open-ended responses and general ratings, it appears that respondents were most likely considering their audience, the Alliance, and answering altruistically as professionals in the field rather than as representatives of a particular disciplinary viewpoint.
Survey results showed 1) a few areas of consensus from a statistical perspective and 2) a vast gray area. The most common of the open-ended final comments expressed appreciation for the timeliness of the survey and the need for resolving the parameters for direct care. As a result, the Task Force focused on identifying guiding principles and criteria for decision-making, not creating a definitive yes/no list or a singular definition of direct care.
The survey results provided the Task Force with a useful scan of the attitudes on the issue of direct care and acquisition costs, from a wide variety of viewpoints. They will inform the White Paper to be released in the spring of 2016. The Task Force agreed that the White Paper should not be prescriptive but should clarify the ethical issues surrounding the topic of direct care and provide guidance for museums in their decision-making.
Learn more about the Task Force members and charge here <http://www.aam-us.org/resources/ethics-standards-and-best-practices/direct-care-task-force>. http://www.aam-us.org/resources/ethics-standards-and-best-practices/direct-care-task-force <http://www.aam-us.org/resources/ethics-standards-and-best-practices/direct-care-task-force>
Sally Yerkovich, ChairAAM Direct Care Task Force
American Alliance of Museums Honors Ford W. Bell
The Alliance is proud to announce the Ford W. Bell Fellowship for Museums and K-12 Education. The new fellowship—established through the Alliance’s Center for the Future of Museums to honor the legacy of retiring President Dr. Ford W. Bell—will empower museums to shape the future of K-12 education through the immersive, experiential, passion-based learning at which our field excels. To support the work of the fellow, the Alliance has launched a $250,000 fundraising campaign—and we’re nearly half way to our goal!
Contributions through June 30 will be matched 2:1 thanks to generous foundation support.
New Leadership at AAM
Laura L. Lott is the new president and chief executive officer of the American Alliance of Museums, representing the nation’s museum community. Previously serving as chief operating officer, Lott is the ninth president of the 109-year-old organization and the first woman to lead the Alliance since its founding. Lott brings to the position an extensive background in nonprofit management and a passion for museums as places of lifelong learning. Lott’s appointment follows an extensive search and was effective June 1, 2015.
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