Research Breakthrough: Thesis Edition

Kim Jovinelli

Through my research I have learned many things about the history of historical societies, the inner workings of collections policy, and the structure of boards. Yet, one of the most interesting things I have learned didn’t come from a paper or book, it came from simply talking to some people in the field. What they told me, proved to be something I did not expect.

Because my thesis is on the role of board members of historical societies in collections policy, I thought it best to speak to both sides of the theoretical coin. I decided that in order to learn what both halves see, I would to speak to a Curator and a Director of Collections about what they would like to see from their Board of Directors. I was surprised to find that one constant that those I interviewed would like to see is that the Board spend time in the museum.

It was such a simple request, yet it was mentioned with everyone I spoke with. The director of Collections for the Chester County Historical Society, Ellen Endslow, stated specifically, “A Board bootcamp would be beneficial.”

The idea behind having the board come in, if even for a day, is for them to get aquatinted with the museum and collection they are stewards of and understand how the museum works is something I suspected would be beneficial, but didn’t anticipate being mentioned. It makes sense that they would be involved more within the organization. This was an oddly unexpected find.