Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is Your Museum Guilty of Weaselly Pay Practices? Answer These 6 Questions to Find Out!

I attended the excellent NYCMER (New York City Museum Educator's Roundtable) Conference yesterday.  Even though I enjoyed myself and learned a lot, discussions about museum pay and the relationship between museums and their workers, interns, and freelancers kept coming up that really bugged me.

It is shameful how many museums continue to underpay their employees, rationalize free internships, and skirt labor laws with their weaselly compensation practices.

So, based on my 2017 NYCMER Conference experience, I offer these six questions below -- for museum managers and administrators, as well as employees (or potential employees) to make sure YOUR museum sets a positive example for the field:


• Are your internships paid or unpaid?  (Every museum internship should be paid. Period. You can rationalize it any way you want, but if you are offering unpaid internships for the "experience" you are ripping people off, AND contributing to the lack of diversity in the museum field.)

• Do all your job listings list salary ranges? (If not, what are you ashamed of?)

• Is there pay parity between departments? (Do you really want to make the argument that development staff should be paid much more than exhibits or education staff?)

• Can your full-time staff actually support themselves on the salary you pay them? (Or do they need second jobs?)

• Do you delay (or "slow pay") contractors or freelancers? (Your institution expects work to be done in a timely way, so why shouldn't contractors have the same expectation about their pay?)

• Are you choosing employees because of their spouse's benefits, or deliberately holding down scheduled hours to avoid paying benefits?  (Not only are you skirting unfair labor practices if you are doing this, but you are a weasel if you are doing this!)


The museum industry prides itself in supporting high intellectual and social goals, so shouldn't it support basic rights around compensation for its workers as well?  Which of the areas in the questions above can YOUR museum improve on?


Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

Monday, May 15, 2017

3 Museum Projects To Support


After my recent cross-country, back-to-back, museum conference trips, I thought I would highlight three museum projects that can benefit from your support: Exhibition Journal, ExhibitFiles, and the Museum People's Tattoos blog.


Exhibition Journal

NAME (The National Association for Museum Exhibition) has recently renamed and redesigned its journal, now called Exhibition.

The latest issue is entitled "Designing Emotion" and contains some fascinating articles that detail unique approaches toward exhibition development practice. NAME makes available two articles from the current issue of Exhibition online, as well as complete digital access to past issues via the Exhibition Journal's online archive. Check out the current free articles by clicking these links: "Designing for Outrage" and "Core Emotion and Engagement in Informal Science Learning"

Of course, the very best way to access Exhibition is by becoming a subscriber.  You can find out how to become a subscriber by clicking this link (and you do not need to be an AAM member to become an Exhibition subsciber.)

Last, but not least, if you've recently seen an exhibition that you'd like to share with colleagues via my "Exhibits Newsline" column, just send me an email for details, so we can get your contributions into a future issue of Exhibition!


ExhibitFiles


Recently, one of my Twitter followers sent me a message lamenting the fact that the ExhibitFiles site seems to be languishing a bit.



What is ExhibitFiles you ask?  ExhibitFiles is a website (originally funded by the National Science Foundation) for museum professionals (and aspiring museum professionals) from around the world to post Reviews of exhibitions they've seen, or to post Case Studies of exhibition projects they have been involved with.  (There's even a category called "Bits" that lets you quickly post bite-sized observations about a particular exhibit element or feature you may have seen.)

ExhibitFiles is a great resource, but it needs active participation to grow. And the more ExhibitFiles grows, the more valuable it becomes to the entire museum field. So I'm asking every ExhibiTricks reader to choose a noteworthy exhibition you see this summer, and add an ExhibitFiles entry this summer. C'mon! Think of it as your "summer resolution"  (it's easier to keep than a New Year's resolution!)

So what are you waiting for?  Click on over to the ExhibitFiles website now!



Museum People's Tattoos


As if running the ExhibiTricks blog wasn't filling a very specialized niche, I also co-run a blog in an even more rarefied niche, called "Museum People's Tattoos."

It really is a funny small museum world.  When I saw my friend Beth Redmond-Jones' awesome Manta Ray tattoo on Facebook, I jokingly suggested that we start a blog called "Museum People's Tattoos."

As the blog intro states: "Many museum folks have a love for tattoos—their cultural significance, their artistic quality, their documentation of the natural world, and some, just for their own personal meaning. For years, we have talked about tattoos, the ones we want, the design, the stories behind them, and the artists who create them ... "

I really love reading about the tattoos and the stories behind them on the blog.  And isn't that what museums are about --- stories and stuff?

So if you'd like to contribute your own tattoo images and stories to the Museum People's Tattoos blog, feel free to send me an email. (You need to be a person who works with or in museums, but your tattoo does not need to necessarily be museum-related.)  C'mon and help Beth and I out! A museum people's tattoos blog doesn't run itself!



BONUS CONTEST!

If you've read this far, you are eligible to win one of two physical copies of the latest Exhibition journal on "Designing Emotion." All you need to do is subscribe to the ExhibiTricks blog by clicking on the link at the top right side of the blog page by May 30th.  (If you are already a subscriber, just send me an email with the subject "Journal Contest" by May 30th for your chance.) At the end of the month, I'll randomly choose one new subscriber and one email entrant to each receive a copy of the latest Exhibition journal. Good luck!



Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)