Find Your Way with MAP

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Minnesota Local History Blog.

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The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

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Find Your Way with MAP

By: grabitsdm | February 2, 2011
Men creating a map of Minnesota in 1906, courtesy Minnesota Historical SocietyDoes your organization seem to drift from one focus to the next? A number of Minnesota historical organizations have used the Museum Assessment Program (called MAP) to find their way to a clearer day. Read what your colleagues are saying about MAP:

"Clay County Historical Society decided to do a MAP assessment because:

  • we weren’t sure how visible we were in our community

  • we felt we might be being overshadowed

  • we might be mistaken for the other museum organization in the building (both organizations shared, held programming in and displayed exhibits in.)

"We wanted to find out:

  • how much we were known

  • what audiences knew about us

  • how we could maximize our marketing and programming efforts.

"We had just gone through a recent long-range planning process where these questions came up, and we decided that the MAP was a tool we could use to find answers and find solutions to our perceived visibility problems. The Museum Assessment Program (MAP) is an affordable way to strengthen your museum and achieve excellence. Within a year your museum can conduct a self-study, consult with a museum professional and gain the tools to become a stronger institution."
- Lisa Vedaa, curator, Historical & Cultural Society of Clay County in Moorhead MN

"Our MAP was very useful as assessment of our organization. It showed both our weakness and strengths. When it was originally completed some recommendations were acted upon immediately while others met with board opposition. Over the years our society continued to use the assessment report as a road map for where we needed to go as an organization. As board changes have been made the wisdom in some of the comments have become apparent. We continue to find the advice useful and strive to comply with all the suggestions. The MAP was very worth while and our Society would encourage others to apply for the opportunity."
- Patrick Demuth, curator, Nobles County Historical Society in Worthington MN

"I think how MAP helped us most was to reaffirm to the board what staff already knew. I remember a board member telling me, “Did you tell him what to say? He just told us what you have been telling us all along.” It helps to hear it from someone else. We used the MAP to write our strategic plan. Once that was in place, it was our beacon to focus on."
-Wendy Petersen-Biorn, executive director, Carver County Historical Society in Waconia MN

MAP is open to small and mid-sized museums of all types, including history museums, zoos, aquariums, public gardens, art museums and children’s museums. Apply for one of three MAP assessments:

  • Organizational

  • Collections Stewardship

  • Community Engagement

Apply now. The postmark deadline is February 18, 2011. MAP grants in Minnesota have been few and far between. This is an excellent program to further strengthen your museum, and reviewers are eager to help. One even came from Corpus Christi TX in late January to northern Minnesota!

MAP staff are available to answer any questions at or 202-289-9118.

The annual program is supported through a cooperative agreement between the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

-Jill Connors-Joyner
Assistant Director, Museum Assessment Program
T: 202.289.9111 | F: 202.289.6578
American Association of Museums
1575 Eye Street NW, Suite 400 | Washington DC 20005