As promised, the “Why Should You Attend SHA?” 11 posts in 11 days from the SHA Class of 2011 Museum Minute countdown concludes today with a post from Dr. Patricia Williams Lessane, Executive Director at the Avery Research Center at The College of Charleston. Take it away, Patricia.
I didn’t know what to expect when I applied for SHA. I only knew that I needed to take some time away from my job to sharpen my vision for my institution and for myself as a museum leader. I have the greatest job in the world! As the Executive Director for The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture (yup, it’s a mouthful!), I am tasked with charting the course for this important and unique division of the college’s Addlestone Library. I had been on the job for less than a year when I applied to attend SHA and desperately needed the time and space to re-embrace our mission, imagine the possibilities for programming, outreach and fostering dialogue around new ideas, trends and issues facing African Americans in the Academy, the country and the world. Having the time to think about my museum career — the highs and the lows — programs that worked and those that didn’t — with seasoned and emerging colleagues seemed like just the thing I needed. And it was.
SHA offers the right balance of museum studies with tried and true museum “best” practices so that fellows come away feeling not only refreshed, but empowered with practical tools. My cohort of “bold” fellows challenged one another to think outside of the box for our institutions, and for ourselves. The energy of the facilitators and the fellows made the experience that more impactful. The thoughtfully-selected readings, webinars, and fieldtrips gave me insight about infrastructure, fundraising, teambuilding, and strategic planning—all integral parts of our work as museum leaders. My SHA experience was a great one and I feel like my work at Avery has been greatly impacted by my participation. On a personal note, I have been inspired by the warmth, energy, talent, and spirit of my fellow SHA fellows!!
So, one last time, “Why Should You Attend SHA?”
#11: Attending professional conferences is no substitute for the SHA experience (Bob Hart)
#10: SHA is the optimal learning environment (Kyle McKoy)
#9: SHA: Unbeatable professional training & powerful personal relationships (Mark Sundlov)
#8: SHA: A Fertile Environment for Real Learning, Powerful Networking & Organizational Change (Jason Crabill)
#7: SHA is a Career-Changing Experience (Becca Loofbourrow)
#6: SHA reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do (Jamie Glavic)
#5: From a Culture of SHA, I am in Hook, Line & Sinker (Sarah Milligan)
#4: SHA is an Awesome “Camp” for Adults in Our Field (Cynthia Capers)
#3: SHA: A Necessary Catalyst that Helped Refine & Affirm My Place in the Field & Commitment to It (Lillian Diep)
#2: History Matters. SHA Matters. You Matter. (John Elder)
#1: SHA: Not Only Refreshing, but Empowering (Patricia Williams Lessane)