Johnna McEntee is an all-around museum-lover, and the Executive Director of the Ohio Museums Association. Equally at home in the gardens of an arboretum, the exhibits of a history museum or the galleries of an art museum, exploring the halls of science centers and visiting animal friends at zoos – and all manner of cultural institutions in between, she loves how museums can connect us to our past, and transform the way we look at our future.
After her start in a history museum, Johnna found her way to the museum association world where she has worked for over a decade helping museums and museum professionals in their missions to be the best stewards of our shared cultural experiences.
I work for the Ohio Museums Association (OMA) – the statewide organization for museum professionals, service providers, and museums in Ohio. So, even though I’m not a museum employee, I like to say the work I do is for museums, in museums, and on behalf of museums and their professionals throughout the state!
OMA provides professional development opportunities, career resources, advocacy on a state and national level, and other important benefits to Ohio’s museums, and to the people working in and for these great institutions (shameless plug). You can find out more about the Ohio Museums Association, including our upcoming Annual Conference at www.ohiomuseums.org!
What’s your educational background?
I have a degree in History and Communication from The Ohio State University. My job puts me in the unique position of actually being able to use both of those fields, so I’m pretty lucky!
What was your ‘sticky’ moment?
Well, there isn’t really a particular moment I can nail down…I guess I was kind of museum/history/arts “sticky” from birth, you might say. Both of my parents are active historical re-enactors, a hobby they started enjoying as a young married couple. A few months after I was born, I was dressed in a reproduction 1750s child’s shift and plopped smack in the middle of my family’s encampment at an 18th century “rendezvous.” I think I was about 8 years old before I realized that not everyone dressed in historical clothing, shot muzzleloaders and longbows, or slept in canvas tents on the weekends and during their school holidays. And the first thought that ran through my head when I had this epiphany was “why would anyone NOT want to do this every day? How boring their summer vacations must be.”
Top all that with the fact that my mother was a music teacher for 36 years – so the importance (and also, my love) of music and the performing and visual arts was nurtured at a very young age. And continues to grow!
The Ohio Museums Association Blog. I’m currently in my second year in the blogging world!
What do you blog about? Why?
I like to think of the OMA blog as a clearinghouse of information important to the museum professionals in Ohio – and beyond our state’s borders too! And, it is a team effort! The OMA blog has many guest writers, including the amazing OMA Board of Trustees.
On the Ohio Museums Association blog you can find posts about upcoming OMA events and opportunities, information from AAM, AASLH, IMLS, AZA, ASTC, the Association of Midwest Museums and other regional and national museum associations, advocacy information, tips and updates, as well as, original article and editorials and informational posts from other museum professionals on subjects ranging from curation, education, marketing, volunteers, social media, arts administration, museum storage, conservation, disaster planning – and pretty much everything in between.
What’s the last exhibit you saw?
I had the extreme pleasure of taking in “Bruce Monroe: Light” at the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens recently. It was a beautiful installation, and the Franklin Park staff were amazing in answering all my questions. They really made my tour of the exhibit an incredible experience. Light is currently on view through March 30 – if you are in the Columbus, Ohio area I would highly recommend a visit!
If you didn’t work in a museum what would you be doing?
Oooh, good question! It’s always been a dream of mine to have a show on the History Channel – how cool would that be? I love the concept of “Mysteries in the Museum” so maybe something along those lines. Like a “hidden in the collection” idea or connecting an item with the history of a particular person/place/etc. would be right up my alley. So, if anyone at the History Channel is reading this right now, feel free to look me up! Can I claim those show ideas as Johnna McEntee proprietary information?
Do you tweet? Why or why not?
Absolutely! I don’t have a personal twitter account, but I do tweet on behalf of the Ohio Museums Association. You can find our tweets at @OhioMuseums!
I think twitter is a great way to disseminate information quickly and to a wide audience – which is a perfect conduit for OMA to get the word out about opportunities and resources that help our museums and museum pros stay on the cutting edge of our field.
Share one piece of advice for those interested in working in the museum field:
Get an internship! And, to paraphrase that old Tammany Hall saying “intern early, intern often!”
By that I mean, as soon as you know you want to work in the museum field, find an internship at a museum that calls to you – and in a department that really draws your interest, or that you would like to learn more about. There are so many different “jobs” that happen within a museum or cultural institution, and if you want to really learn about what goes on inside these organizations you have to jump in feet first and try your hand.
Also, many opportunities arise during internships – whether it’s meeting colleagues that can help you make future connections, learning new techniques and trends, honing skills you might have already cultivated, or putting yourself into a position to be hired as a museum employee – they are valuable experiences that will truly be a springboard to your museum career. Oh, and be prepared for at least a few unpaid internship opportunities. Trust me, it’s worth it! And, who knows? Unpaid internships can easily turn into full-fledged job opportunities – speaking from experience!
Thanks for participating in Meet a Museum Blogger, Johnna!
In case you missed it, Johnna blogs at The Ohio Museums Association Blog.
Do you have additional questions for Johnna regarding her profile above? Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below or reach out to her directly on Twitter at @OhioMuseums. Please use the #MuseumBlogger hashtag. TY!
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