An ALHFAM President’s Message from the Past

This message, from ALHFAM’s then-president Lynne Belluscio, is revived here to remind us of the continuing challenges faced by museum professionals and how the continuing support of the Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums, ALHFAM, provides a variety of professional resources along with active involvement, creative problem-solving and humor to its members. To read the entire message from the ALHFAM Bulletin archives and share in the current and future benefits, join ALHFAM to enjoy the bountiful knowledge contained in the A.S.K. database: Information tied together and preserved for the benefit of our members.

I am all too aware that museums are at a critical point in their evolution. While attendance numbers fluctuate and museum funding is jeopardized, more than ever we need the organizational strength of ALHFAM. Demands on museum staff have increased dramatically in the last couple of years, which makes it increasingly difficult for a volunteer organization like ALHFAM to survive. Yet we have been able to rely on our members to organize annual meetings, regional meetings, present papers, offer workshops, serve on committees and make the commitment to serve on the Board.

At the 2005 annual meeting in Des Moines, membership brochures were handed out to everyone. Each bundle was tied with a string, and although the brochures were the important part of the package, the string was a reminder of what ALHFAM is all about. The string could be tied around your finger to remind you to pass along the brochures. The string could be used in museum education programs for cat’s cradle, or a cooking program for chicken on a string. The string might be used to tie up string beans, and everyone knows that it’s a welcome sight to see the latch string out. Although many of our institutions run on a shoestring, it’s important to remember that ALHFAM will never string you along. Now the piece of string isn’t very long, so it has limited uses, but if all of us were to tie our strings together in a pattern, we could make a net. And that is what ALHFAM does so well. It provides a safety net for its members, and networking is a vital part of our mission. ALHFAM is a unique group of people. Let’s spread the word and find a few more members to join the string band!

This is an excerpt of an article that first appeared as: Lynne Belluscio, Message From the President, ALHFAM Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, no. 3 (Fall 2005): 1-2.

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