Museums Count Workshop: Data Definitions Expert Reviewers Group

January 25, 2011
 
 
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IMLS Press Contact
202-653-4630
Mamie Bittner, mbittner@imls.gov

Washington, DC—On January 25, IMLS, together with White Oak Institute and the American Association of Museums will convene a group of museum experts to discuss data definitions for Museums Count, an IMLS initiative to build a comprehensive, real-time, web-based database of museums in the United States.

Lack of comprehensive information about the scope and size of the museum sector is a significant barrier to the development of sound museum policy in the US and also contributes to difficulty in sharing information among museums.

"To be successful, this effort must engage a broad cross section of museums and provide useful data for practioners, the public, researchers and policy makers. We are delighted that this project has generated so much enthusiasm," said Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS. "Museums Count is an important step toward building a stronger evidence-based story about the integral role museums play in urban and rural communities across the United States."

The purpose of the meeting is to develop a short list of high priority data elements and definitions that will be used to establish baseline information to characterize the US museum sector. The IMLS definition of museum includes aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, art museums, children's museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks.

IMLS will provide future opportunities for all interested parties to review and comment on the data elements and definitions.

IMLS is planning for a May 2011 launch of the Museum Count website and will encourage every museum in the US to participate.

Participants in the January 25 meeting include:
  • Christine Anagnos, Association of Art Museum Directors
  • Jessica Cahail, Pew Cultural Data Project
  • Margo Carlock, Virginia Association of Museums
  • Randy Cohen, Americans for the Arts
  • Brian Crockett, Independent consultant
  • Terry Davis, American Association for State and Local History
  • Celeste DeWald, California Association of Museums
  • Michael DiPaolo, Small Museum Association
  • Robert Docherty,Official Museum Directory
  • Janet Rice Elman, Association of Children's Museums
  • Carolyn Fuqua, National Opinion Research Center
  • Angela Han, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
  • Kristen Laise, Heritage Preservation
  • Erik Ledbetter, Visitor Studies Association
  • Jessica Luke, Institute for Learning Innovation
  • Kit Matthew, Blackbaud, Inc.
  • Jill Norwood, National Museum of the American Indian
  • Steve Olson, Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
  • Eric Pourchot, American Institute for Conservation
  • Terrie S. Rouse, US Capitol
  • Christine Ruffo, Association of Science-Technology Centers
  • Dan Stark, American Public Gardens Association
  • Stephen L. Whittington, Association of Academic Museums & Galleries
  • Dan Yaeger, New England Museum Association
To learn more about Museums Count, please contact Carlos Manjarrez at cmanjarrez@imls.gov. See also the Acting Director’s Message by Marsha Semmel from July 2010 for more information about IMLS’ museum research strategy.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.

About the White Oak Institute
The mission of the White Oak Institute is to further innovation in the museum field through research, analysis, and dissemination of data-based findings drawn from museum operations to inform management’s major decisions and to advance promising innovations. The White Oak Institute, working with museum leadership, aspires to lead management-level research in the business and operations of museums. The White Oak Institute is a new (2007) nonprofit formed by the principals of White Oak Associates, Inc. (museum planners and producers), and it benefits from that firm’s resources and 36 years of service to the museum field. For more information, visit www.whiteoakinstitute.org.

About the American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 17,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present, and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.​