Williamson County Museum

Williamson Museum, Georgetown, Texas

http://williamsonmuseum.org/

Institution Management Questions and Answers

 

The Williamson County Museum is located in the historic part of Georgetown, Texas.  The museum is located within a historic bank building and maintains an antique vault.  The museum has just purchased two historic houses that it plans to use as part of their expanding educational outreach program.  They are also the owners and custodians of the historic county courthouse located across the street from their main location. 

Williamson County Courthouse
The Williamson Museum owns the the historic County Courthouse that is leased out for any variety of functions.

 Most of the downtown has been renovated either maintaining their historic status through the Texas Historical Commission or constructed with period looking facades.  Williamson County shares a border with Bell County (see posts about Bell County and the BCM) and both museums share the monthly tours of the Gault archaeological site.  http://www.gaultschool.org/

 

The city of Georgetown where the Williamson Museum and the County Courthouse are located
The core area in Georgetown has maintained the historic facades on the buildings even the ones that are not listed as historic by the Texas Historical Commission.

Williamson Museum curator Ann Evans was kind enough to give an hour interview where ten questions were asked regarding the operation and management of the institution.

  1. What processes fund the institution and at what percentages?

The museum is less than half county funded because they expanded faster than the county budget.  The staff are county employees with county benefits.  The rest of the museum is funded through membership donations, door donations (box), larger donations (not membership related), grants the gift store, and courthouse rentals. 

  1. How involved are the board members with the operation of the institution?

The board members are very active with fundraising including planning and advertising for the museum’s largest annual event.  The board members are from the local county and recruited in part by the museum director and the board itself. 

  1. What processes do you have for maintaining a volunteer pool and what level of involvement can they attain?

Williamson Museum has a Volunteer and Visitor Services Coordinator, Nicole Hewitt, who is highly praised for her skill in maintaining and managing a strong pool of volunteers.  The volunteers are younger than many institutions where I have volunteered and visited and according to Ann, this group is quite diverse.  The VSC uses Volunteer Match (https://www.volunteermatch.org/) alongside attending both county and retirement community hosted volunteer fairs.  

  1. What relationship does fundraising have to the mission statement?

The museum’s mission statement is not related to fundraising although, is admittedly critical to the institution.  This is explained by the fact that educational outreach is the primary mission of the institution alongside the need to “…collect, preserve and exhibit items relating to the rich culture and heritage of Williamson County.” http://williamsonmuseum.org/about-us/

  1. How involved is the institution with social media?

The WCM maintains a strong social media presence although, there was an expressed need for greater involvement.  Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are listed in the order of greatest interactions although it was only recently that FB overtook Twitter.  They have an internally managed website hosted by WordPress (https://wordpress.com/) although they originally had one hosted by the Williamson County I.T. department.  Ann said that they have several Pokemon Go located within the two main facilities and that the number of intended captors has slowed in the past months as the novelty wains. 

  1. What museum collection software (MCS) is used and where is the data housed?
    1. Is it stored on local servers, the cloud, and is there any backup? ie: M-Disc
    2. Frequency of system back up
    3. What kind of training do you have for staff and volunteers on the MCS?

The museum uses PastPerfect Museum Software (http://museumsoftware.com) for most of the operation of the institution including its diverse collection.  Their computer system is not linked to the Williamson County servers and I.T. department.  They have a locally contracted host that backs up their system nightly.  They also use a shared drive and keep external backups on a standalone hard drive for specific material.  

Volunteers are able to access PastPerfect on a case-by-case basis and Education interns and collections volunteers also receive special training.  Collections volunteer training is based on their level of interest and skill.

  1. How often do you update the collection policy if you have one?

 The Williamson County Museum opened in 2003 and the collections policy was written in 2007 with the last update finished in 2015. 

  1. What do you do with items to be de-accessioned?

The museum is completing its 3rd inventory for de-accessioning although they have not had any potential items identified yet. 

  1. Does the institution have a long term and or short term strategic management plan?
    1. How often is it updated, and who is involved? (staff, volunteers, the board…)

Williamson County Museum has a strategic plan that was updated in 2015 and involved the staff as well as the board.  They do not maintain a long term or short term plan at this point.  The museum’s focus is an education first then conservation focus institution.

  1. Could your institution operate as a ‘for profit’ business?

The board does continue a dialogue about profitability in regards to mission acceptability, which is clearly focused on education.

 

 

 

 

Lakewood Heritage Center, Lakewood, Colorado

Institution Management Questions & Answers with the Administrator Betsy Bowers and Caitlin M. Lewis, Curator.

The Lakewood Heritage Center is located in the suburban city just west of Denver, Colorado.  Incorporated in 1969, it has reached a point where growth has slowed due to a lack of land for continued expansion.  Lakewood has light business and industry with sprawling suburbs but also has access to city parks with great views.  Lakewood is situated on the foothills of the front range of the Colorado Rockies and is a quick drive east of Red Rocks where dinosaur footprints and an outdoor natural amphitheater are just part of the grandeur.  We camped in the city owned Bear Creek Lake Park where people bike, hike, swim, fish, and camp.  The Lakewood Heritage Center is located at Bel Mar Park and has a large outdoor facility (campus) as well as an indoor museum with several exhibits and no cover charge. The campus and museum are part of a hobby farm that belonged to a local, prominent woman, May Bonfil.  A zealous developer who built a business park on its location destroyed her mansion but the estate remains.

  1. What processes fund the institution and at what percentages?

The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) of Colorado is responsible for funding this institution with state historic preservation funds.  This is the only source of funding although there is an event venue that could be leveraged into a profit generating facility. 

  1. How involved are the board members with the operation of the institution?

There is no board, per se, but the Lakewood, CO, City Council serves in a board capacity. 

  1. What processes do you have for maintaining a volunteer pool and what level of involvement can they attain?

The Lakewood Heritage Center is heavily invested in their volunteers who are managed at the city level.  This volunteer manager deals with ‘volgisitcs’ balancing more than 100 people shared across the entire city.

  1. What relationship does fundraising have to the mission statement?

Since the Heritage Center develops no income, relying completely on the city of Lakewood and provisions by the SCFD, there is not any direct relationship to the mission statement.

  1. How involved is the institution with social media?

Pokémon Go is across the entire Heritage Center campus although no exact count is available.  The city marketing resources promotes all the social media and is not always institution specific.  There is a Facebook page specific to the institution and has between two and three thousand followers. 

  1. What museum collection software (MCS) is used and where is the data housed?
    1. Is it stored on local servers, the cloud, and is there any backup? e.: M-Disc
    2. Frequency of system back up
    3. What kind of training do you have for staff and volunteers on the MCS?

The Heritage Center uses PastPerfect operating on city servers.  The city provides the necessary IT and backup at regular intervals.  The amount of training provided to staff and qualified volunteers are based on the needs of the individual and their project.  

  1. How often do you update the collection policy if you have one?

The Heritage Center has a collection policy but is admittedly out of date.  The collection policy is one of the topics for the master plan and strategic plan this coming year. 

  1. What do you do with items to be de-accessioned?

Deaccessioning is conducted with quarterly meetings with staff, volunteers, and solicitations of the community.  The City Council approves the deaccessioning policy. 

  1. Does the institution have a long term and or short term strategic management plan?
    1. How often is it updated, and who is involved? (staff, volunteers, the board…)

The Heritage Center has a master plan that is long range and a strategic plan that covers short range planning.  The City Council is the approving authority for both plans.  The center has a professional consultancy for local non-profits that started the Master Plan.  The Lakewood citizens, volunteers, and local businesses that use the facility were all interviewed for the master plan. 

  1. Could your institution operate as a ‘for profit’ business? 

The Lakewood Heritage Center’s expectation is for revenue generating in the near future.  They are partnering with the local associations and businesses approved by the administrator first then approved by the City Council. 

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Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum

Institution Management Q and A with Curator Renee

The Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum is also a state park that has full time and seasonal staff.  It is part of what was originally U.S. Cavalry property and located in Laramie, Wyoming.  When Wyoming became a state in 1890, the U.S. Government pulled the cavalry out because the new state was responsible for its own security.  The new government did not want more than one state run institution in any city and since Laramie had the University of Wyoming as well as the prison, they chose to move the prison west to Rawlings and donated its land to the University for livestock research programs.  When the university retired the property, they gave it back to the state where, after several iterations it became the Territorial Prison Museum.

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The Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum curator (Renee) was kind enough to spend an hour answering questions and was an information warehouse who is passionate about her institution. Check them out online http://www.wyomingterritorialprison.com/

  1. What processes fund the institution and at what percentages?

The museum receives most of its operational budget from the state but they do write and receive some grants.  They also have a museum association partnership that hosts special events and creates opportunity for people to see the institution and pique their interest.  The door proceeds and the gift store also generates revenue for the museum to use.   

  1. How involved are the board members with the operation of the institution?

Since the museum is also a state park and so does not have a board of directors.  There is a superintendent who has oversight at the museum and reports back to the state park service.  All decsions about the museum operation and mission are made at the institution level by the superintendent and the curator.

  1. What processes do you have for maintaining a volunteer pool and what level of involvement can they attain?

There is an active volunteer pool coming mostly from word of mouth, from visitation of the institution, or workamping news vetted by the state office.  These volunteers are seasonal from April to October and have full RV hookups with Wi-Fi as compensation for 24 hours a week with 3 days off to explore.

  1. What relationship does fundraising have to the mission statement?

They do not do fundraising per se although the museum association does conduct their own fundraising events.  The museum is also partners with the University of Wyoming in Laramie’s museum studies department, who offer an undergraduate minor and a graduate program.  The museum has two-year internships for both programs totaling seven interns.  There is also a Hathaway scholarship for University of Wyoming students coming from the fossil fuel industry and establishing residency in Wyoming for University admissions is easily facilitated in order to encourage students to move to Wyoming and then stay after they graduate.  All this exposure from the university works towards leveraging the students to the museum and increases attendance.  

  1. How involved is the institution with social media?

The museum has its own private website as well as the state maintained website.  They also use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat all maintained by the curator.  I suggested that the museum take the opportunity to solicit input for social media posts on any of the platforms.    

  1. What museum collection software (MCS) is used and where is the data housed?
    1. Is it stored on local servers, the cloud, and is there any backup? ie: M-Disc
    2. Frequency of system back up
    3. What kind of training do you have for staff and volunteers on the MCS?

The museum uses PastPerfect and has since 1999 with the most updated version in current use.  The system backs up to local servers and an external hard drive.  The state provides all IT support for the museum and they were not aware of M-Disc for additional data archiving.  The volunteers do not have access and likely don’t have the skills necessary to use PastPerfect.  Renee said that the internships might be able to function in that capacity but would need to be a case specific conversation.

  1. How often do you update the collection policy if you have one?

The collection policy is part of the master plan/ mission statement and is updated about every six or seven years. 

  1. What do you do with items to be de-accessioned?

Deaccessioning does occur but infrequently.  They use a site donations first within the state system, then to local museums, then to families or donate and sell.

  1. Does the institution have a long term and or short term strategic management plan?
    1. How often is it updated, and who is involved? (staff, volunteers, the board…)

The mission statement is tied to a master plan that covers the collection policy as well.  The mission statement is site specific with approval by the state agricultural department.  The mission statement has been the same since 2004 and the master plan gets updated every six or seven years.  The volunteer program works from the mission statement and could be updated or modified by the master plan.  Renee agreed that the master plan serves much like a strategic plan for nonprofits or corporate entities.  

  1. Could your institution operate as a ‘for profit’ business?

Clearly, the state run institution is not in a position to even consider operating as a ‘for profit’ entity. 

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Range Riders Museum, Miles City, Montana

Range Riders

 Management Questions and Answers with Bunny and Gary Miller

Gary and Bunny Miller of the Range Rider Museum, Miles City, MT were interviewed on consecutive days with Gary going first on an impromptu meeting from his easy chair while working the door.  He was very honest about the fact that Bunny would be better at answering these questions but he was willing to try.  The next day Bunny kindly sat down in a semi-formal environment and answered all the questions with specifics and anecdotal explanations.  It was a very enjoyable experience with two engaging people, passionate about the museum, their community, and their family.

  1. What processes fund the institution and at what percentages?

Gary stated that the door mostly funded the museum with some coming from donor endowments.  Door profits are based on about 7000 people at 5 dollars per head.  This translates to approximately 35,00.00 per year.

Bunny says that the door numbers are pretty accurate but that it is equal to their annual membership dollars.  She also stated that they do have endowments from donors providing annual monies derived from a portion of the annual interest.  Bunny said that she does write grants for specific funding but is not as active in pursuing grant money as she might.  Memberships are individual at $50.00, family (4 tickets) at $100.00, business (4 tickets) at $100.00, and lifetime (4 tickets) with a plaque at $1000.00.  She went further into explaining that the museum also rents out the Pioneer Memorial Hall for functions by private and corporate events with restrictions on hate groups or other entities deemed hostile or overly contentious.  The Pioneer Memorial Hall also generates its own revenue every year through families sponsoring a relative(s) born before 1915 and from the area surrounding Miles City (150 miles plus or minus).  The have between seven and twelve sponsorships a year.  The sponsorships are $275.00 for an individual and $300 for a couple, which includes a photograph and biography rolled into a time capsule underneath the framed image.  A ceremony inducting the new member is conducted and a copy of the biography is placed in a book where anyone may come to research the local pioneers.  The immediate and naive question was posed regarding a seemingly dwindling supply of individuals.  Bunny and Gary’s response was simple in that within the 150ish mile radius anyone may sponsor a family member(s) at any time posthumously or not so there are potentially many more sponsorships waiting to occur.

Range Riders Museum Main Exhibit Room
When you come in and register the museum wants you to place a pin where you came from. There is a world map on the reverse side where there are quite a few pins as well.
  1. How involved are the board members with the operation of the institution?

Gary said that there are 16 board members and they are mostly involved with the process of accepting donations for artifacts/collections beyond a unspecific dollar value.  Basically, he and Bunny are given the latitude to accept or deny donations as long as they are not of significant value although the exact dollar amount delineating ‘significant’ was not made clear.  Aside from this activity the board is not involved with the operation or fundraising for the museum. 

Bunny agreed that the board has only the capacity for helping determine high value donation agreements.  She elaborated on the board by stating their only qualification was to be a member of the museum and be part of the agricultural community of eastern Montana.  Board members are tenured for four years by vote and may re-enlist by four year blocks also by vote.  There is a board president and vice-president who serve a two year term.  The board is largely made up of people who are retired and recruitment of younger generations remains problematic.

  1. What processes do you have for maintaining a volunteer pool and what level of involvement can they attain?

Gary said that they have between 3 and 5 on call volunteers who are all in their late 70s and early 1980s.  There is little interest from younger generations and he suspects that this trend will remain. 

 Bunny agreed with this statement and we discussed this issue as systemic to many institutions, especially smaller ones.

  1. What relationship does fundraising have to the mission statement?

Gary was unsure that there was any fundraising relationship to the museum’s mission.  He was specific that there was not much real fund raising initiative other than to raise awareness and satisfy the community’s curiosity; therefore generating more donors.

 Bunny also stated that there was not much fundraising by the museum although admittedly there are some funding issues that need to be addressed regarding facility maintenance. 

  1. How involved is the institution with social media?

Gary was blunt about the age and lack of computer skills from the staff, volunteers, and the board for anything more than Facebook. 

Bunny explained that she and one of the board members posted to Facebook and that the museum received a web site and hosting for trade of a business membership by a local web hosting service.  She admitted that the museum’s web presence would not exist if it were not for this relationship.

  1. What museum collection software (MCS) is used and where is the data housed?
    1. Is it stored on local servers, the cloud, and is there any backup? ie: M-Disc
    2. Frequency of system back up
    3. What kind of training do you have for staff and volunteers on the MCS?

Gary knew that there was a computer the museum used for e-mail, Facebook, and book keeping but was not sure that any museum collection software was being used.

Bunny asked about my familiarity with PastPerfect stating that was a new addition to the museum and that she and a museum member worked collaboratively on updating the collection, donor agreements, and memberships.  She also said that they do participate in the webinars and work to stay as well informed of how to use the program.  She stated that there was no other back up other than the hard drive on the one stand alone computer that the museum owned.  (I suggested use of M-disc as an alternative to another standalone hard drive https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-DISC )

  1. How often do you update the collection policy if you have one?

Gary said that the collection policy was up to the discretion of the curators or the board in the case of large or expensive donations.  He further stated that the donation agreements gave the museum complete control of the items donated permanently.

Bunny supported Gary’s statement and clarified that the museum was short on space and was not accepting donations at this time but might make an exception as approved by the board.  She also said that the museum did not accept donations because the increase in insurance for these items would make the process too expensive.

  1. What do you do with items to be de-accessioned?

Gary said that they sell items if necessary but there has been little need to deaccession artifacts in his tenure.

Bunny agreed since they have not been accepting donations for her tenure but felt that sale of specific artifacts would be a solution, as would donating things to other institutions if there was interest.

  1. Does the institution have a long term and or short term strategic management plan?
    1. How often is it updated, and who is involved? (staff, volunteers, the board…)

Gary and Bunny both stated that there was no strategic or long term plan and that she had agreed to a 15 year term as curator of which seven were complete.  She felt that the long range plan at this point would be better suited to locating a successor.  She elaborated that this position with the museum, although paid, was not enough to live on if someone had student loans and a family to support.  She said the real perk was the fact there was a house that she and Gary were allowed to live in, on site, with utilities paid.

  1. Could your institution operate as a ‘for profit’ business?

Gary and Bunny did not think it was possible at this point but might, with the cooperation of the board and a very proactive curator/director.

 As an aside, Bunny said that the museum is a hub of cultural identity and draws about 200 students from more than 150 miles annually.  The average grade of students is second grade but they get many different ages.  In addition, the local college has its new faculty orientation at the Pioneer Memorial Hall allowing excellent visibility of the main hall and the sprawling old town exterior.  This exposure facilitates visitation by new community members and initiates under informed locals.  This is an amazing place to visit and would take a lifetime of exploration to see everything they have displayed.  It is quite impressive and a great repository of unique and significant artifacts detailing the culture and history of southeastern Montana.

Range Riders

The Main Exhibit Room

Original Miles City Exhibit

The Heritage Center Exhibit

It is attached to the main exhibit hall and contains thousands of artifacts.

Range Riders

Fossils

Projectile Points

Ceremonial Funerary Objects

Beaded Moccasins
These moccasins are interesting because of the bead work on the soles. They are not meant for walking anywhere other than the afterlife. It is unclear how these funerary artifacts were acquired.

Collections in Collections

Dioramas

Saddles

A Link to Texas

Brands

Barbed Wire

Fort Keough

Fort Keough
General Nelson Miles, for whom Miles City is named was responsible for General Custer who left to the Little Big Horn while MIles was away on business. The camp was posthumously named for Captain Myles Keough and then became a western frontier fort. https://www.nps.gov/libi/learn/historyculture/capt-myles-keogh.htm

Fort Keough Officers Quarters

Fort Keough Officer's Quarters
This is one of only three buildings remaining from Fort Keough and the other two are on the USDA Range and Livestock Research facility that inhabits the old military compound. This building is partially restored (left side) and has plans for restoration of the right side. They were duplexes.

Gun Collection

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Charles Place with the second Pioneer Hall, born before 1930.

Charles Place and the Second Pioneer Hall
Charles Place houses a second Pioneer Hall that is for anyone who was ranching within 150 miles and born before 1930. This is the first year that no more open range existed in Montana. Bunny Miller’s parents are both on the walls of this monument. Charles was one of the original museum founders and wanted to start the second Pioneer Hall. There are several collections in this exhibit but is still overwhelming in its expanse.

A Pioneer Home

Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients

The Wagon Depot

Range Riders

 

One Room Schoolhouse

The One Room School House
The cousins had been on the tour for over two hours at this point and the youngsters were still engaged and loving it. Yay, history!

Outdoor Exhibits

Terracotta Warriors

Pam and I have a friend who lives on Vashon Island near Seattle, Washington whom I had not seen since 2003.  We knew that we would stop for a visit but neither of us had any real desire to go in to the city.  What we learned as we go closer to having a real date for arrival was that there was a Terracotta Warrior exhibit in Seattle at the Pacific Science Center.  Well, now we had a good reason to go to the city and it was the only thing we saw in Seattle.  The exhibit was amazing. Non flash photography was encouraged and most people used their phones, however, I used a Canon PowerShot SX720 HS digital camera.  It gave me the opportunity to get some amazing low light shots with very little blurring.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This was the guardian at the entrance to the exhibit.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The minimal armor and complex headgear suggest that this was a high ranking officer. Note the different color of his face than the rest of him. His shoes are also plain style with curved toes.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This view of the high ranking soldier gives details of the uniform. He was not wearing the large scaled. heavy, stone armor but some small scales with layers of heavy leather around his waist and covering his shoulders. His headgear and top knot are also extremely ornate.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The close up of his head shows details of his hair, beard and headgear. There is so much detail to each of the warriors including ears.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This warrior had a sword under his left palm sticking into the ground. His other hand is making some sort of gesture with the index finger and note the different style of armor he is wearing.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is the front of the kneeling warrior and his increased armor. As a soldier I do not think that I would enjoy wearing such heavy armor and when I gained rank I think I would readily shed weight and risk having less armor. It would not be a bravery thing just a comfort thing that seems brave.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Compare the two types of headgear on these two warriors and note the completely different features. Each of the terracotta warriors was completely different and unique just like individual people. This leads to speculation about why they were created in this fashion and what was their purpose.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This kneeling warrior has a large amount of armor on both his shoulders and down his back that signifies his low rank. He also has interesting headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A detail of the closed shoe officer with light armor and another type of headgear he stands near a scale model of horses that were with the warriors. They are all around six feet tall or a little taller according to the docents. They further stated that this was taller than the average man at the time. I suggested that if I had unlimited resources and population to draw upon as an Emperor, I would have an army of ‘six footers’ just to intimidate my enemies.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The horse was sculpted to scale as well. This animal has a ‘hair do’ and striking features.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This view of the horse next to the warrior shows the scale and details of the saddle. There is still color on the leather wrap of the horses tail. Such a fashionable animal.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The kneeling archer in profile showing his bare feet and his headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is a kneeling archer. He has no armor and simple headgear. His right hand would have held a bow. This example was pieced back together from pieces in the excavation. It is also noteworthy that there is still some color left on the terracotta.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This warrior has more armor on his shoulders and has different headgear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A warrior who would have been holding reins to the horses pulling his chariot. Behind him is the excavation as it looks on exhibit in China. Note the huge berm of earth on the right side separating a whole other column of warriors
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The chariot driver and a better view of the grandeur of the excavation in China. At least six columns are visible in this photo.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
A coated soldier with his hands tucked into the sleeves. This my have been to stay warm and not burden them with gloves.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
The fine detail of the hair and the ear would not be possible for tourists to see if they visited these magnificent warriors in China.

I found the shoes that these statues wear were pretty interesting in their detail.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
Plain shoe and most common design across the ten warriors presented in the exhibit.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
The plain shoe with a bow tied across. It is unclear if the bow was for some tie for the shoe or for the pants.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
The plain shoe and bow with a different type of pants.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
A completely enclosed shoe with a seam down the center and a bow. The docents stated that the shoes were a part of the uniform and the more ornate and less armored uniforms signified a higher rank. Higher rank meant they were to be braver than their subordinates. This style of shoe was on a lightly armored soldier, an officer.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit Shoe Study
A plain shoe that has a curved toe space.

There were a smaller set of different terracotta people and I enjoyed the amazing detail they were created with.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
There were some terracotta warriors on display from another excavation of another time period and clearly the scale of the warriors grew to life-size proportions.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
These displays have a tremendous amount of detail and amazingly remain heavily colored.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Note the details of the man’s face and the reigns he is holding.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Note the details of the tack and the headgear of the horse.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Such ornaments on a model suggest that the real ones were even more splendid. What purpose did these models serve?

The color on the reproductions is also quite vivid and highlights so much of the detail of the statues.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Notice how clearly the lines of his hair appear under his head covering.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
These examples show the color of the individuals and reinforces the details of not only the terracotta work but then the paint schemes
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Reproduction warriors painted and standing like they were found. The Pacific Science Center stated that their exhibit provided closer access and the ability to photograph the warriors unlike what we would be able to do in China.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This scene shows what the excavation scene looked like in China. This represents a small part of the scale visitors to the homeland exhibit would see.

There were many other 3rd century artifacts throughout the exhibit and I only took pictures of a few of them.  The real jewel of the exhibit was the life size warriors and that is where my focus remained.

To finish this post here are some pictures of stone armor like what is depicted on the terracotta statues.

Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Stone armor in original state. There is a lack of decay in the binding holding the stone scales together. This allowed for some very accurate reconstruction of armor that did not fare as well.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
Stone armor helmet reconstruction using original stone scales. As a former soldier who has worn several iterations of combat helmet, this design would have greatly hampered the soldier’s ability to hear.
Terracotta Warrior Exhibit
This is a reconstructed stone armor suit made from actual stone armor scales.

 

Pottsville Historical Museum

Pam and I chose to take the slow route during the heat of late July in Northern California and Southern Oregon.  We left Weed and drove to Grants Pass, Oregon logging a whole 107 miles, uphill, in the heat pulling a load, and with no timeline whatsoever.  Just north of Grants Pass on I-5 was a beautiful (it had space for us too) K.O.A. park located on “Jump Off Joe” creek and water fall.  We decided to stay for two nights in order to avail ourselves of shopping in G.P. and to soak up the mountain atmosphere.  When getting off the freeway we saw a brown sign for Pottsville Museum and it indicated that it was three miles west and we were camping to the east.  After shopping on the first morning, we grabbed Olivia and headed west to indulge out historic curiosity.  Neither one of us had bothered to do a ubiquitous Google search since we were going to the museum anyway.  It is actually located in Merlin, Oregon and resembled a small rural village with only a huge steel plow blade painted white with blue letters to show we had reached our destination.

Pottsville
This is the entrance to a huge piece of land that is a living museum. There are pieces of machinery that represent the history of industry in Southern Oregon. Many pieces are outside and not covered, some are covered and some have been restored and apparently are demonstrated periodically.

There was a fence line and gate from the road to a big red barn.  The barn had rusty old artifacts laid out in front the main doors where some signage of various ages told us what we were seeing.  Inside the fence-line were all kinds of antique machines, vehicles, and buildings; clearly we were ‘there’.  We could see no formal parking lot and it seemed as if there was often regular vehicular traffic through the ‘museum’.  Since I am (now) such a polite fellow, I parked near the fence and we dismounted the truck thinking that discretion would be best.  It was sunny and hot for Oregon with a light breeze and high temperature in the low 90s.  I convinced Pam and Olivia that we needed the exercise anyway and that there was enough shade that they could scurry from shade to shade.  Olivia does not like to leave my side so we baked in the sun and no one complained.

Exactly How Big is this Place?!
Pam stands (smartly) in the shade peering out into the field at more items off in the distance.

Pottsville is laid out like a small village with a rail line against the highway fence line (southern border) and buildings to the north.  The rails have artifacts on them with a walkway between the rails and a second row of artifacts just to the north.  Just beyond this second line of artifacts, under some lovely shady pine trees were various old buildings, two sets of bleachers and a grandstand.  Clearly, this site did not just serve as a repository for historical artifacts and as I inspected these old treasures, it became apparent that some of them worked.  Several of the buildings also had old artifacts laid out around them and placards festooned the exteriors explaining the building’s purpose and age.  Benches for folks to sit were available along the corridor of buildings and Pam availed herself, patiently waiting for me.

Pottsville Chain Saws
A nice collection of antique chain saws. They are outside but under cover and have some paper markers indicating their origins. Hopefully that information does not get lost but outside environments are unforgiving.
Dragsaw Collection
This collection is also outside but under cover. They do not have their saws attached and like many of the pieces at the museum some may still work.
Stoves and Furnaces
Odd items are scattered around the different displays leaving us all to wonder what they were and what their significance is to Oregon’s history.

We reached the west end of the outdoor gallery where some beautiful old steam engines were sitting in various stages of repair.  I moved my attention to the main road through the village and noticed across from the grandstand, a massive four-cylinder diesel engine with a flywheel to match its size.  Hurriedly I went to get a closer look and Pam followed since it was under a large pole barn roof with no walls (always about the shade).  It was a huge Fairbanks Morse bolted to a massive concrete pedestal poured on top of a bigger concrete pad.  There was fuel oil and grease all over the place with buckets under the dripping areas and the exhaust pipes to catch the drooling fossil fuel.  I was amazed to think that this monster had actually been running in the very recent past.  No mufflers and only three feet of ten to twelve inch diameter exhaust pipe to vent the four massive cylinders led me to believe that even if I was lucky enough to be near this beast while running some expensive hearing protection would be required.

A Dynamo
This Fairbanks Morse Engine runs. I looked at it very carefully imagining I might start it. Pam was not happy with that concept. A quick google search of Fairbanks Morse shows pictures of this think running. AMAZING!
Fairbanks Morse
That flywheel could weigh more than my truck.

Fairbanks Morse

Fairbanks Morse
Which one was the Start switch?

As we finished our tour of this amazing facility, we saw many different tools, machines and workshops that operated for the benefit of an audience.  If only we had thought to plan this excursion, we might have been able to see Pottsville alive.  I took many pictures (not nearly enough because I had no desire to overheat Pam or Olivia) and learned many things that translated so well to my recent adventure at the Weed Lumber Town Museum.  Check out their website http://www.pottsvilleoregon.com.  If you can make the opportunity, go see this amazing place and try to schedule when they have their living component open and working.

Fresh Hay on 100 Year Old Equipment
The fresh straw belies the fact this old straw loader has not worked in a very long time. It is a clever prop used to make the living demonstration area more vibrant and alive.
Equipment Borders the Entire Piece of Property
Although Pottsville is set up to look like a town you definitely have an entrance through a gate onto a piece of property that is ringed with historic old equipment.
Belt Driven Table Saw
This entire place has to be an amazing experience when all this stuff is running.
Belt Driven Table Saw
How exposed the operator has to be to the mechanism…SCARY.
Belt Driven Table Saw
Notice the generator outback.
Belt Driven Table Saw
This is a running saw that demonstrates how late 19th and early 20th century equipment was powered. Notice the huge rubber belt coiled on the right side. It rolls out to the flywheel on a generator outside. OSHA would have a conniption.
Steam Powered Tractor
This is another restored although no longer running example of a steam powered tractor. The ability to get up close to these machines is amazing. Some of the ways that people engineered these things shows primitive and brilliant thought.
Yarder
Aside from the Balloon Logging these machines came in various sizes and were used in multiples to haul timber up from deep ravines as I learned at the Weed Lumber Town Museum.
Balloon Logging!
I wonder how well this worked? This was just attached to a building and had no display with it although there are several ‘yarders’ around the site.
Steam Powered Tractor
This is a beautifully restored example of late 19th century technology for farm and industry. It might have been used to pull one of the towed tilt wheel graders. Notice the chains slung underneath for steering.
Old and New
This is a working piece with a steam engine powering a car with seating for one. Obviously it is more for the demonstration of steam power.
Railroad Mule
This item is special to me since it I saw one of these on a scrap heap at the city yard in Weed, California and it was missing its motor. They would have been used to move the gravity cars around the lumber mill yard. The wheels are the give away and this photo has the second larger set disassociated from its frame and motor.
Tilt Wheel Grader
Another towed tilt wheel grader that has the original hard rubber tires on the old rims.
Tilt Wheel Grader
This is a towed tilt wheel grader that has a newer generation of tires showing it may have been used recently.

Shasta Sisson Museum, Siskiyou, CA

The Shasta Sisson Museum is located in Siskiyou County, California and is part of the State Fish Hatchery located in one of the old hatchery buildings.  The museum represents the collective memory and history of the city of Shasta whose name used to be Sisson.  Justin Sisson was the man responsible for the founding of the hatchery.  It is one of the oldest on the west coast of the United States.  The director of the museum Jean Nels was kind enough to allow about an hour to answer questions about this fascinating museum’s operations.  The end of the interview has some excellent pictures of the museum and its exhibits.

 

Institution Management Q&A on July 15, 2017

With Jean Nels of the Shasta Sisson Museum

  1. What processes fund the institution and at what percentages?

The museum has no set funding from any single source.  Forty percent comes from donations and store profits.  Twenty-five percent comes from grants, and the rest from memberships and fundraisers. 

  1. How involved are the board members with the operation of the institution?

The board is very involved as all the members are both museum donor members as well as volunteers. Most are also on the exhibit committee.

  1. What processes do you have for maintaining a volunteer pool and what level of involvement can they attain?

The Shasta Sisson Museum’s volunteers are members and on the board.  Sixteen of the thirty work the desk at the gift store and about ten work on specific exhibits.

  1. What relationship does fundraising have to the mission statement?

The mission statement focus comes from fundraising.  This takes the form of sponsorships and presentations where the audience is charged per head.  It is a way to involve the community with the museum and generate revenue.

  1. How involved is the institution with social media?

The Shasta Sisson Museum use a website and Facebook only.  There are no volunteers working on these sites.  None have asked to be involved either.

  1. What museum collection software (MCS) is used and where is the data housed?
    1. Is it stored on local servers, the cloud, and is there any backup? ie: M-Disc
    2. Frequency of system back up
    3. What kind of training do you have for staff and volunteers on the MCS?

Shasta Sisson uses PastPerfect (http://www.museumsoftware.com/) on a stand-alone computer.  The system is backed up at the end of each day to an external hard drive.  No volunteers work with PastPerfect and the director is the only person who works on the single computer.  She does attend the PastPerfect training webinars in order to stay current.

  1. How often do you update the collection policy if you have one?

Shasta Sisson’s collection policy was written in 2013 when the director/curator took over.

  1. What do you do with items to be de-accessioned?

It was explained that the museum has not needed to de-accessioned anything so this has not even come up.

  1. Does the institution have a long term and or short term strategic management plan?  How often is it updated, and who is involved? (Staff, volunteers, the board…)

They have a 6-year long-term strategic plan and it is six years old. Shasta Sisson museum intends to update it during this year’s fundraiser about long term plans for the museum. The board will be in attendance with many charitable benefactors who will be able to sit in on this proceeding.

  1. Could your institution operate as a ‘for profit’ business?

Only Shasta Sisson’s director/curator writes grants and sponsorships.  She is a volunteer who works 40 hours a week for the summer fall museum schedule.  She suggested that her tenure may be complete in another 3 years at which point there would be another person taking her place. (Editor’s Note: This does not answer the question but the assumption is that changing the paradigm for Shasta Sisson’s operation to reflect a for-profit style would be more time consuming, from a long term perspective, than she is ready to assume.  Jean did explain the dollar breakdown for structuring the institution into a paid employee operation.  The short answer is that the museum would not be able to operate under its current annual income. 

Multi Use Room
This room serves as the board meeting room, outreach classroom, temporary exhibit hall, seminar room, and research room.
The Gift Shop
Shasta Sisson Museum’s gift shop is where a large portion of the museums operating revenue is generated