Credit where it’s due

This past summer, I was asked to join a City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs task force regarding contextualizing the Confederate symbols scattered around Fair Park. We would also be discussing a memorial to Allan Brooks, victim of Dallas’ most notorious lynching. And then I went into panic mode. Like any good public historian,Continue reading “Credit where it’s due”

It’s not just about us

Somehow, two big projects I’ve been working on for eons landed at City Hall for big votes on the same day. In truth, I found this highly annoying. Seriously, what are the odds? And who wants to spend all morning at City Hall? Spoiler alert: both projects passed unanimously. And though on the surface, theContinue reading “It’s not just about us”

Sometimes, the answer is “not great”

Next week should be one of my favorite weeks of the year–the annual meeting of the American Association of State and Local History. It’s a time to start growing new ideas, catch up with old friends, and make connections. But if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, I’m actually really dreading it. At a professionalContinue reading “Sometimes, the answer is “not great””

Babel: Sifting through the noise

Right now, some theater kids in Dallas are doing some of the most amazing historical work I’ve ever seen.  Cry Havoc Theater Company is a young organization, formed in 2014 , full of active and involved young people. I first heard of them when they opened their play, Shots Fired, a play about the JulyContinue reading “Babel: Sifting through the noise”

More Like Him: Remembering Richard Peck

Six weeks ago, one of my favorite historical fiction authors for kids and teens passed away at 84. He died in the middle of a pack of famous writer deaths, but his death made me far sadder than those “Great American Authors.” I haven’t read all of Richard Peck’s novels, but the ones I haveContinue reading “More Like Him: Remembering Richard Peck”

Finding balance in the archives

I abhor a mess. But for most of the last month, my dining room table has looked like this. As an executive director, I do an enormous amount of writing–grants, emails, newsletter articles, and blogs. But I had almost forgotten how historical writing stretches your brain in entirely different directions. It was almost like myContinue reading “Finding balance in the archives”

Museum Surprises in Houston

As a Dallasite, it is required that I dislike Houston. And after spending three days there recently for the Texas Association of Museums conference, I can’t say that I’ve totally changed my mind. However, there are some wonderful museums there, and much like my experience in Philadelphia, I was genuinely surprised by a few spots.Continue reading “Museum Surprises in Houston”

Museum Surprises in Philadelphia

Sometimes, being a museum professional ruins museums. We develop our inner checklist, the things that we judge others on. It may have nothing to do with anything a “regular” visitor cares about, but it causes us to think differently and move differently through an exhibit. I’ve warned family and friends not to visit a museumContinue reading “Museum Surprises in Philadelphia”

It’s time to talk about toxic loyalty

“I’m miserable in my job, but I can’t leave until I finish this major project in two years.” “I keep thinking that my next boss will be better.” “I feel terrible about leaving my staff behind in this terrible situation.” We probably all have a friend that has said something like this. And for thoseContinue reading “It’s time to talk about toxic loyalty”

Balancing Act: Organizational Structure

A few weeks ago, a friend texted me: “Did you have staff turnover?” Honestly, I’ve been waiting for that question. We all know how much gossip there is in the museum world–and we all notice when organizations start posting lots of openings. We have been posting a lot of job openings over the last sixContinue reading “Balancing Act: Organizational Structure”