Thursday, March 25, 2010

Representing Indiana

March 23 was Museums Advocacy Day organized by the American Association of Museums, and I represented not only the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum but also the entire Indiana museum community to our elected officials in Washington, DC. Advocacy Day started with a day of training, including a briefing on federal issues pertaining to museums, a working lunch to connect with other museum advocates, and a role-playing session to get a feel for how meetings with congressional staff work - perfect for a first-timer like me.

The second day was actually on "the Hill," meeting with senators, representatives, and their staff. Because I was the only advocate from Indiana, I felt the pressure of getting the message across, but the training day had prepared me for what to expect. For instance, the staffs that run Congressmembers' offices are all about 21 years old, a far cry from the middle age you might expect on Capital Hill. While this group is young - many just out of college - they hold quite a bit of power in that they prepare the briefs and convey constituent priorities to elected officials. A bonus to meeting with a staff person and not a Congressmember is that winning over the staffer gets two people on your side: the one that prepares the brief and the one who reads and votes from it.


Even though I'm not certain that Senator Bayh, Senator Lugar, or Representative Buyer will sign the letter supporting the requested funding level for the Intitute of Museum and Library Services, Museums Advocacy Day was a great experience. I learned a lot, representated the Museum and the state, and the museum field coalesced for a cohesive effort advocating for issues that affect the people we serve. We are definitely louder when we speak with one voice!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring Visitor


Spring is on its way. The grass is getting greener, the weeds are sprouting and the museum is being graced with more visitors. For the last 3 weeks, a loud 'screeching' noise has permeated the neighborhood around the museum. A pair of hawks has appeared, hunting and scouting the area. Visitors wander the grounds, looking towards the treetops, wondering what is making that 'screeching' sound. Then the hawks are spotted and the fun begins.

The hawks, currently have 2 nests they visit. One nest in the top of a white oak, is filled with twigs and leaves. The other nest, in the largest ash tree on the grounds, is constructed of twigs and is located near our parking lot. The hawks are very people leery and fly away at the first sight of visitors. They can be seen soaring above the grounds and around the immediate area.

We will be keeping an eye on the nests, from a distance, in hopes of hatchlings.

In the past, sharp shinned hawks have built nests and raised their young. The 2010 hawks appear to be the red shouldered hawk. There is a Nature Backpack available to all museum visitors and comes equipped with a bird identification book and binoculars!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Member Sneak Preview Party, 3/3/10

Larry Paarlberg, Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum, greets guests to the Member Sneak Preview party for the opening of the Museum's new exhibit, "Sanctuary: Preserving the Legacy of Lew Wallace."

Member Sneak Preview Party, 3/3/10


Larry Paarlberg, Director of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum, greets guests to the Member Sneak Preview Party for the opening of the Museum's new exhibit, "Sanctuary: Preserving the Legacy of Lew Wallace."