Museum Ethos

Recently, I read a couple of books by Jennifer Lee, “The Right-Brain Business Plan” and “Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way.” These books contain exercises to help entrepreneurs define the values of their businesses. This got me to thinking about the values that define the Morrison County Historical Society. MCHS Curator of Collections Ann Marie Johnson and I did a little brainstorming about the values we see practiced by MCHS and put together this list, which taken together, sums up the ethos at the Weyerhaeuser Museum.

1. Helpful – We provide good customer service, helping people find answers to their research questions. If we can’t find an answer at our museum, we try to connect researchers to other research resources. We are also helpful to other organizations in terms of sharing museum practices and research.

2. Careful – We take great care when it comes to our collections, the museum environment, finances, and research.

3. Ethical – We operate the museum with high integrity, following best practices in nonprofit management and the museum field. We are transparent about our operations.

4. Forward-thinking – We continually watch trends, try new things, engage in contemporary collecting, and adopt new technology where appropriate.

5. Open – MCHS is open in a number of ways. The museum is open all year (a rarity among the attractions in Little Falls, MN). We’re open to new ideas. Most importantly, we are open to the history of all of Morrison County’s people, not just the rich and famous. We’re also open to all of Morrison County’s history, not just the feel-good, pleasant stuff.

6. Encouraging – Not only do we collect and preserve Morrison County’s history, we encourage others to do the same. We also encourage researchers who hit brick walls in their research, working to help them get over, around or through the wall.

7. Curious – We question everything. Our curiosity leads to uncovering more county history.

8. Creative – Because we operate on a shoestring budget, we find creative ways to accomplish goals and present local history to the public.

9. Engaged – We stay engaged with local community issues and the larger museum community throughout the region and state. We work to improve the entire museum field by sharing our expertise.

10. Generous – Admission to the Weyerhaeuser Museum is free. Most museum events, with the exception of the annual dinner, are offered free. We share Morrison County history freely on our website.

~ Mary Warner
Museum Manager

This article was first published in the Morrison County Historical Society newsletter, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2014.

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