S: Greeley History Museum
BC: To learn more about the Greeley History Museum and other museum system sites visit: http://greeleygov.com/Museums/GreeleyHistoryMuseum.aspx
FC: Greeley History Museum: A Photo Essay Exploring Museum Professions | Stacey Simpson Exploring Museum Professions Fall 2011
1: About The Greeley History Museum is located in Greeley, Colorado. Its mission is to tell the story of Greeley, Weld County, and Northeastern Colorado. It is run by the City of Greeley and employs 7 full time employees, 6 three-quarter time employees, & 5 seasonal interpreters. There are also volunteers and college interns that assist with day-to-day tasks. The museum system is comprised of 4 sites located throughout Greeley. This photo essay analyzes evidence of the varying museum roles observable at the main museum structure located in downtown on October 7, 2011. The three other sites include: the Meeker House, an 1870 home of Greeley's founding family, open once a month or by special request; the Plumb-White Farm, formerly an educational facility currently under redevelopment; and Centennial Village, a site of historic structures and living history open May through September. All sites are free with the exception of Centennial Village and special events. The main museum, pictured on front cover, is located in the 1929 building which once housed the Greeley Tribune newspaper. As a historic structure, it is maintained by the Curator of Exhibits & maintenance employees.
2: (Left) The large open entry is plain with simple gallery signage. It is overseen by an unnoticed Visitor Services Manager. An enthusiastic greeting and some stellar customer service could improve the first impression. A temporary exhibit, Hats & Hat Pins, is in view on left. The gift shop, on right , is currently empty and awaiting remodel into a children's interactive display under the development of the Curator of Education & Curator of Exhibits. (Right) Side entry through the atrium is maintained by the Curator of Exhibits & maintenance employees. The colorful stained glass visible was outsourced, a common museum trend. | Entry
3: Exhibit & Event Information Located in the main lobby entrance, this 5' by 3' informational board demonstrates the collaboration of the following professionals: Museum Director, Curator of Education and Living History, Curator of Exhibits, Education/Events Specialist, Marketing Specialist, Development Specialist, and Visitor Services Manager, who collaborate to create & execute exhibits & programs. It is an excellent way to communicate activities at all museum system locations.
4: Permanent Exhibit | This exhibit entitled Utopia: Adaptation on the Great American Desert displays the history & development of the Union Colony that became known as Greeley. It was designed & completed by the Curator of Exhibits & Exhibits Specialist with assistance from the Archives Specialist. The sod house display, on right, is maintained by the Collections Manager and overseen by the Registrar.
5: This display includes artifacts from the local Native American tribe & chief. It also includes a dress made from an Indian trade blanket by a white settler while held in captivity. The exhibit was designed & executed by the Curator of Exhibits with assistance from the Exhibit Specialist. Black & white photo, pictured on far right, is courtesy of the Archives Specialist. The Collections Manager maintains the artifacts under the supervision of the Registrar. I found most of the visible work during my visit to be that of the Exhibition staff and Collection staff. The Curator of Exhibits, who acts as exhibition designer, planner, and preparator has one Exhibits Specialist to assist.
6: Children weigh local produce, after learning about what is grown, how, and by whom. Children also guess an object by feel & then open the door to see if they are correct. They can build a mini adobe house and erect a tepee. Children really enjoy this experience and could spend hours having fun here. When I have questioned children about what they did, I am impressed at how much they retain about the learning experience. Through this course's reading, I have learned the visitor does not necessarily think or use the experiences in the intended way, but I believe children's experiences may be the exception to this. Professions responsible for this experience include: Curator of Education, Education Specialist, Curator of Exhibits, & Exhibit Specialist. An outside contractor was hired to build the faux building. It can be supposed that the Development Specialist helped acquire funding for the experience. | Children's Interactives
7: A listening station for visitors to hear oral histories from city & county residents, such as farmers, ranchers, & descendants of founding families, is pictured. The museum has also tested cell phone tours in a temporary exhibit, and plan to incorporate more in the future. Adults might use this experience more if it was part of a cell phone tour, but school children would miss out. This museum has no technology positions, so professions responsible for this experience include: Curator of Education & Living History, Education Specialist, Curator of Exhibits, & Exhibits Specialist. Archives staff might also be involved with the oral history collection and maintenance. | Visitor Interactives
8: Temporary Exhibit | Entrance to the exhibit shows a "Smile You're on Camera"sign. The camera is monitored by the Visitor Services Manager. Exhibit title and interior exhibits by the Curator of Exhibits & Exhibits Specialist with assistance from Archives Specialist and Archives Assistant. Artifacts visible in the exhibit are managed by the Registrar and Collections Manager.
9: Ghost Towns and Boom Towns included a traveling exhibit within the exhibit (partially shown below). The traveling portion visited Centennial Village, the county fair, Greeley Stampede Rodeo, and local clubs with the Marketing and Development Specialists before returning to the main museum. Current and former county town information is displayed alphabetically. A book by the same title was researched & authored by the Curator of Exhibits & is currently in print. Research for the exhibit/book was done by the Curator of Exhibits in the Archives Department/Research Center. The Exhibit Specialist assisted the Curator with fabrication. The exhibit closed on October 11 and all employees stayed after the museum closed to the public to assist with deconstruction & storage. Three to four temporary exhibits at this site change twice a year.
10: Home to the Registrar, Collections Manager, and Curator of Education & Living History, this is where the behind the scenes work happens. The door is usually not open, but it was open and visible on this day. Freight has arrived on left and object handling is being done by an intern, just out of sight, on the far right. The Director's Office is located in another part of the building. Her work was not obvious during my visit, but I know she chose this site for the museum and oversaw the remodel of the building to meet historic preservation standards. Her role has followed what N. Elizabeth Schlatter, author of Museum Careers: A Practical Guide for Students and Novices would call the trend of "Changing Responsibilities of Museum Directors" (p. 40). She is rarely in her office and most often found in meetings with city employees, museum employees, friends' groups, and donors. | Behind the Scene Offices
11: Archives Department & Research Center Managed by the Registrar, this center is located in the basement where the original print room was. It includes an Archives Specialist and Archives Assistant. College interns and volunteers assist in this busy department. Education staff, Exhibit staff, and the public use this facility for research.