Friday, November 14, 2008

Yipppeee!

Yipppeee! We’ve being saying that a lot around here these days! With the National Medal award, it’s been an incredible fall at the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. The staff and I are committed to excellence in museum programming and operations and to have this dedication awarded at the top level is more than we dreamed for ourselves. I am truly grateful to our members, donors, and volunteers for helping us make the dreams possible and for inspiring us look to the future with great optimism.

I am excited to share with you that the board has adopted a new strategic plan. Our first plan ended in September of this year with all of our goals met, which in the beginning seemed like an extremely tall order. With your help our first strategic plan was realized and the museum was positioned for accolades. Again, thank you.

The next five years will build on our high standard of excellence established through innovative programs and events like the Lew Wallace Youth Academy, the Historic Preservation Workshop Series, Annual Theme Exhibit and Programs, and the Taste of Montgomery County. It is equally critical to consider the small museum environment that this success was built in – the staff wear multiple “hats” and are regularly bound by budget constraints. As a result, the objectives outlined in our new plan are carefully measured for strength and feasibility.

Heading into the planning process, the board and staff understood that the focus of the plan needed to rest on a three key objectives: restore the study structure, evolve into a self-sustaining organization, and become the “best small museum in the Midwest.” With these in mind, the plan was developed during a series of board retreats held July 19, August 16, and September 20, 2008. Facilitated by Herm Haffner of Total Solutions, the planning process included an in-depth examination of the organization’s core competencies, mission, vision, and charge. With consensus in place, Haffner led the group through discussions regarding assumptions, budget, and human resources. Strategic planning activities included internal and external situation analyses, consideration of weaknesses and problems, comparative analysis of organizational peers, threat analysis, consideration of advantages and opportunities, and finally, establishing objectives.

We have established ten strategic objectives that will help us meet our charge to be a key cultural asset for our community’s continued well-being. To do this, we will:
-Provide innovative cutting edge programs and operations
-Create individualized experiential learning
-Become financially self sustaining
-Provide continued stewardship of collections and historic structures
-Focus on activities that add value to the study and the community
-Serve as a model to the larger small museum community

I invite you to read the entire plan and join our enthusiasm by following this link: http://www.ben-hur.com/GLWSM_2009-2012_Plan.pdf . I look forward to the next five years and the incredible support of our members, donors, and volunteers. Yipppeee!

--Cinnamon Catlin-Legutko, Museum Director

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