For Throwback Thursday, here’s a post from Bob Beatty, AASLH VP of Programs. It was originally published during the  AASLH 2009 Annual Meeting.

Messy desk

Today was a great first “official” day of the conference. I spent several hours today with folks from the small museum community including the Small Museum Luncheon where we asked attendees to respond to the statement, You know you work in a small museum if…Below are some of the responses.

  • You’re the director, but if you’re the 1st one to work after a snowstorm, you get to shovel the sidewalk and plow the parking lot.
  • It only appears you have A.D.D.
  • Everyone assumes you know everything because you’re the “staff person.”
  • You steal toilet tissue from other museums.
  • You think that formal training should include woodworking, plumbing, and gardening.
  • You’ve used the hand tools in your collection for more than just exhibits.
  • You hear someone talk about what your staff needs to do and think to yourself, “I am the staff!”
  • You shut off the lights, lock the doors, and bring a list of things to get for the next day including milk, coffee, and toilet paper.
  • The museum director subs as a docent 1/3 of the time.
  • You can chair a staff meeting at your desk.
  • … A staff of one held together with volunteers (that are sometimes family members of the one paid staff)…
  • You have to dust your own desk.
  • You perform at least ten different functions in each workday.
  • Your exhibit space just about fit in this room.
  • The bulk of your job includes “other duties as required.”
  • Your professional staff is vastly outnumbered by volunteers, all of whom have been there longer than you.
  • You’ve moved 50 folding chairs in the last 24 hrs.
  • You have paths through your office for all your artifacts and items.
  • 10 people on a tour means the room is full. 5 tours a day is a “good day.”
  • You only have 1200 sq. ft. of museum space and you have to rent out the floor space for dinners/receptions, etc. to survive.
  • You consider a staff of 5 a large museum.
  • You are chief, cook, and bottlewasher and then they add restroom detail!
  • A staff meeting consists of all four staff members turning around in their office chairs at the same time.
  • Your special events tents and chairs are borrowed from the local funeral home.