Time to Join or Renew

March marks the time to join colleagues around the state in professional organizations committed to preserving North Carolina artifacts and history institutions. The three we recommend are our partner organizations: North Carolina Museums Council (NCMC), Federation of NC Historical Societies, and North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC)

Here are the membership costs and primary benefits of each one:

  • NCMC: $20 allows you to attend the low-cost annual conference (coming up March 23-24), which brings together not only those working in history museums but also allows sharing between various types of museums, such as children’s, science, and art. Regular email and newsletter updates help you become familiar with institutions around the state.
  • Federation  : An institutional membership is $25; there is no individual level. Membership connects you to a network of historical organizations that are often mostly volunteer-run and supports high school history day, building bridges to community youth through local history. In addition to an informative quarterly newsletter, interest-free loans to support your organization’s publications and events are available as another benefit of membership. 
  • NCPC: This group focuses on artifact preservation and the $25 membership fee supports a network of professionals across museums, libraries, and conservation firms. NCPC has scheduled a particularly robust slate of workshops this spring, so joining now will entitle you to register for any day-long workshop at the rate of $50.00  The other great thing about NCPC is that it has long been the only statewide source for grants to fund conservation projects or upgrades to storage environments and systems.

Ideally, the institutions for which we work would all join these organizations, and we as individual employees would be able to reap the benefits of membership without having to pay dues out of our own wallets. The reality, however, is that most cultural heritage institutions are strapped for cash and often have to discontinue any expense that does not relate directly to keeping the doors open, lights on, and toilets flushing. There are many history/ museum causes that compete for your attention and dollars, and in a field that usually provides modest compensation at best, individuals need to conduct careful cost-benefit analyses before selecting those to support.

Why consider supporting statewide organizations over regional or even national ones?

  • Lower cost: individual membership in the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) costs $45.00 . Joining the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) costs $70.00 . Individual membership in the American Alliance of Museums costs $90.00. In addition, statewide organizations’ events involve less travel time and money and the fees for in-person workshops and conferences are much lower.
  • Networking: Statewide organizations make regular efforts to schedule events in various regions of the state. The result of the combined geographic convenience and lower cost is that you are much more likely to collaborate with folks having similar interests and/or institutions from your own region. In addition to increased camaraderie, local networking events can lead to building a readily accessible support system for supplies and skills sharing and/or disaster recovery.
  • Requirements: Several programs at the national level require that institutions be open to the public for 180 days/ year to qualify for participation. Statewide programs, such as NCMC’s free on-site consultation service or NCPC’s preservation mini-grants are more accessible for smaller institutions.
  • Quality: Committed and knowledgeable professionals are behind each of these recommended statewide organizations and can steer you in the right direction as you navigate professional standards.
  • Shared Mission: These organizations exist to promote North Carolina history and artifact preservation. Isn’t that what you’re working for everyday too?

Don’t forget to connect with our C2C team at NCMC in New Bern next week!

About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on March 18, 2014, in Grants and Funding, workshops and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. A great article on the many fine organizations from around the state. I would add that AAM now has a more “friendly” type of pay structure that allows an organization, no matter how small, pay “what you can.” This allows even the smallest museums to take advantage of the fine resources avaiable through AAM.

    • Thanks, Scott, for the kind words and timely reminder! We are thrilled that AAM has opened up more to lower-budget institutions and discussed that change in a previous post. In my understanding, though, that intro (pay what you can) level does not come with the discounts on workshops and/or webinars that other membership levels do. So, for individuals (in my humble opinion) you get more bang for your buck with the statewide orgs. –Adrienne

  2. I have paid dues online for two years, never received anything either by mail or by email. Do not plan to renew again.

    • So sorry to learn that, Janis. What you mention is a great reminder for all state organizations. Even though they may be run voluntarily, bad (or no) communications will undermine the necessary support for them to sustain themselves and grow.

      • We have contacted the organization in question and they have done due diligence to get to the bottom of any gaps in online communication. The problem may have been related to a changed email address on the part of the user. One of the great things about these local networks is that you can quickly contact someone who can find answers and open up channels for feedback.

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