The primary activity for the EMS Museum & Art Gallery this past year has been finalizing the core documents required for accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the primary professional organization for museums in North America.
The museum staff and Advisory Board, after participating AAM’s Small Museums Accreditation Academy, completed drafting, reviewing, and approving the Mission Statement, Institutional Strategic Plan, and Collections Management Policy. The Code of Ethics and Emergency Response Plan will be completed early in the next academic year. All documents will be approved by the Dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences prior to submission to the AAM Accreditation Commission.
Other major achievements included the conservation of twenty-three paintings from the Steidle Art Collection. Conservation of the collection is an on-going process supported by the Steidle Art Maintenance Endowment. The museum also saw major increases in school tours, loans of collections, and identification of objects for the general public.
One of the “behind-the-scenes” functions of the museum continues to be providing identifications of objects and answers to scientific questions for the public. In the last few years these activities have more than doubled. Engagement and interaction with the public are an important function of the museum. We are one of the few scientific organizations in central Pennsylvania that provide such services. As stated in our mission, “we serve the college, University, and broader community as an informed educational and technical resource for science, art, and history of the Earth and mineral sciences.” Identifying objects and providing answers to questions to those reaching out to the EMS Museum helps create a positive image of the college and museum as well as extend our reach and reputation beyond Penn State.
It is important that an institution recognizes and celebrates its successes. This past year was a great one for the EMS Museum and we look forward to even greater successes in the coming year. However, this past year’s successes are built upon the accomplishments and challenges that have taken place over many years. Looking back over the thirteen years since the public face of the museum moved to the Deike Building, I am astounded at what we – museum staff, Advisory Board, and volunteers – have accomplished. We are a small museum with a limited budget and limited staff but, in spite of these facts, the list of accomplishments is truly impressive! We cannot rest on these laurels and we must move forward to reach the next level of accomplishments for the EMS Museum & Art Gallery. Nonetheless, it was sobering to compile the following list of highlights and accomplishments realized over the last thirteen years.