As expected, museums throughout the state are across the spectrum in terms of planning. Some have a written and vetted plan in place that they have started implementing while others are just starting to pull together task forces.
Shared concerns include de-escalation training, sourcing PPE/sanitizing equipment, new cleaning protocols/high risk objects, maintaining educational programs/relationships with schools sans field trips, sussing out the appropriate regulation between federal/state/county/city guidelines, how to limit number of visitors/impact on events, and staff layoffs.
A question we are all dealing with is just because we can reopen, should we? Some are reopening as soon as possible for the revenue. Some are using a phased approach with outdoor access prior to opening buildings.
It was agreed the expectations for visitors and staff ought to be clearly communicated and based on sound medical advice...although it was noted there is disagreement on what is "sound medical advice". The messaging should include how audience members can prepare to visit as well as what our cleaning procedures are.
A number of sites are utilizing surveys to assess the comfort levels of staff and visitors across a variety of scenarios. Liability is an issue - in terms of insurance as well as its impact on event planning and hiring contractors. Sites are also working though how to bridge the gap in staff comfort levels/ability to return due to life circumstances.
Most have "pivoted" to digital with many planning on maintaining this new digital presence in tandem with in person programs/events.
Overall, every organization is unique and thus has to cater plans and policies to the needs of their site, staff, and visitor base - there is no one overarching answer. But we are not alone in working through these issues.
NJAM Connections: History, Culture, and Memory
Dr. Caldwell Epps holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University’s Douglass College, a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Seton Hall University, and a D.Litt from Drew University. Her dissertation is titled, “From Zion to Brick City: What’s Going On? Newark and the Legacy of the Sixties”. She completed the Institute for Higher Education Management program at Harvard University, the American Association of Colleges and Universities Diversity Institute at Georgetown University.
NJ Institute for Social Justice ‚”10 Ways to Do Racial Justice Advocacy After you Say ‚ 'Black Lives Matter‚'” https://bit.ly/388KDy9
NJAM Connections: Systemic Racism: What are museums doing? What can museums do?
July 29, 2020
Museums are not neutral. Systemic racism is a part of the history of our field, brought to light by more recent events across the country. What is systemic racism, what are museums doing about it, and what can be done? Whether your museum is already part of the conversation or just starting out, this dialogue will both provide examples of initiatives in the museum field and allow you to talk more with your colleagues in smaller breakout groups about what else can be done within our organizations.
Speaker: Dr. Linda Caldwell Epps, President & CEO of 1804 Consultants, a founding member of The Sankofa Collaborative and former President & CEO of The New Jersey Historical Society
About Dr. Linda J. Caldwell Epps:
Dr. Linda J. Caldwell Epps is President and CEO of 1804 Consultants and a founding member of The Sankofa Collaborative. She brings to clients more than 45 years of experience working with educational and cultural institutions, including The New Jersey Historical Society, a statewide museum, library, and educational facility, where she served as President and CEO, and New Jersey Network Television and Radio where she served as Vice President for Institutional Relations. She held various positions at Bloomfield College where she worked for 27 years. In her role as Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, she helped create an award-winning campus-wide student assessment project to help assure student and faculty success. As Vice President for College Relations, she led the institution to successful completion of its first capital campaign which raised $8.4 million. She served as a Ford Foundation-funded consultant to several institutions of higher learning—including Keene College in New Hampshire, The University of Massachusetts at Boston, Union College in Ohio and the College of St. Elizabeth in New Jersey—on issues of diversity and equity in higher education.
Through 1804 Consultants, founded in 2011, Dr. Caldwell Epps has worked with various history and cultural institutions including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Education, The William Trent House, The New Jersey Historical Society, The Newark Public Library, The Scotch Plains Public Library, Old First Church of Elizabeth, NJ, and The Timbuctoo Historical Site. She is a founder of the Sankofa Collaborative. Its purpose is to help educators in schools, museums and libraries present, interpret, and discuss African American history. The Collaborative has developed and sponsored seven day long themed workshops related to African American history and culture.
Dr. Caldwell Epps holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Rutgers University’s Douglass College, a Master’s Degree in American Studies from Seton Hall University, and a D. Litt from Drew University. Her dissertation is titled, “From Zion to Brick City: What’s Going On? Newark and the Legacy of the Sixties”. She completed the Institute for Higher Education Management program at Harvard University, the American Association of Colleges and Universities Diversity Institute at Georgetown University.