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Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 7/14/2017

Category: Alliance Blog

1. This week craft retail store Hobby Lobby was all over the news when it agreed to pay a $3 million fine and forfeit thousands of ancient Iraqi relics smuggled into the United States wrongly labelled as samples for its stores. Hyperallergic looks at the big picture surrounding the case.

Dispelling the Myths Around the Hobby Lobby Antiquities Case

Last week, news broke that the U.S. Justice Department had fined Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts store chain, $3 million and forced them to relinquish 3,594 cuneiform tablets and other artifacts (out of a total of over 5,500 in the same purchase).

2. “History is all around us, we are living in the midst of our history, the question is how do we choose to navigate it?” says Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center. This story shares how Coleman is expanding the dialogue around the way we think about the history of this country’s Civil War.

Meet the museum director who is redefining how the Civil War is told

RICHMOND, Va. – On a hot July morning, Christy Coleman recounts the tales of hundreds of slaves who worked at the Tredegar Iron Works, a foundry located along the James River and a national landmark where weapons of the Confederacy were made during the Civil War.

3. Some aquariums are taking steps to ‘walk the talk’ in promoting the protection of marine life ecosystems. 19 American aquariums announced they are phasing out plastic products including plastic bags, straws and some exhibition materials in recognition of the expansive problem of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. This group of aquariums has launched the website ‘Our Hands‘ to spread the word and get others to join the cause.

Plastic to be phased out at major American aquariums

Working to reduce the massive amount of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, 19 of the nation’s top aquariums on Monday will announce that they are phasing out most plastic products – from plastic bags to straws to plastic beverage bottles.

4. As museums seek to expand their audiences, this study from the National Center for Arts Research at SMU reports that “organizations need to balance the desire to serve more people with an adequate level of staff capacity to do so well and avoid employee burn-out.” Dive into the data!

By the Numbers: The Relationship Between Full-Time Arts Staff and The Number of People They Serve | National Center For Arts Research

The Key Finding

An average of 3,547 people attend for each full-time employee. That is the relationship between an overall average of 38,741 attendees and 11 full-time staff members annually.

5. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the problem of low salaries in museums sparked by the release of both the AAM and AAMD salary surveys. Instead of simply letting these numbers get us down, Joan Baldwin offers some positive ideas for what to do with this information.

Low Salaries? The Museum Field? Really?

Maybe it’s just Leadership Matters, but it seems as though the museum field might be pulling its head out of the sand about its salary problem–like it’s been sleeping but now it’s woke? The last few weeks we’ve seen blogs, online discussions, and press releases, all discussing the low salaries in the field.

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