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!