Tribal Museum and Cultural Center Management

In the face of continuing threats to Native American languages, culture and communities, many communities are embarking on new strategies to keep their vital cultural resources intact. One of these strategies is to establish museums where communities can collect and safeguard important cultural items. Native communities can achieve this by establishing a museum that is for and by the community.

The necessity to preserve culture is a growing concern for many tribal communities, and preserving culturally significant artifacts is one way to ensure that this knowledge is available to tribes' younger generations. Creating a museum, however, can be a daunting task. We’ll provide valuable information that will help guide you through the process of initiating community awareness and developing a facility that will long remain a vital link in the preservation of your tribe’s culture.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Planning and Strategizing
  • Getting the community involved
  • Planning meetings
  • Setting goals
  • Tribal council sponsorship and support
  • Tribal resolutions
  • Land — Where are you going to build it?
  • Infrastructure — Who’s paying the light bill?
  • Where to look for funding
  • Who’s going to write the proposals?
  • What do we do with the money now that we have it?
  • Accountability
  • Establishing an advisory board
  • Establishing a board of directors
  • Bylaws
  • Job descriptions for key personnel
  • How large a staff do we want?
  • Accountability
  • Acquisitions
  • Archival standards
  • Collections
  • Educational programming:
  • Accountability
    • Community outreach
    • Native audiences
    • Non-Native audiences
  • Conservation
  • Exhibition planning:
    • Conceptualization
    • Research
    • Documentation
    • Installation
  • Exhibition types:
    • Traveling
    • Permanent
    • Temporary
  • Loans
Job Descriptions and Responsibilities
  • Director
  • Curator
  • Collections manager
  • Conservator
  • Exhibitions — technicians
  • Maintenance
  • Admissions
  • Collections maintenance schedules
  • Weekend schedules
  • On-call staffing
  • Insurance
  • Record keeping:
    • Temporary transmittal forms
    • Loan forms
    • Acquisitions
    • Photo documentation
    • Data input protocol
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