Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last Wednesday, 70 paleontologists visited the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky

After reading this article in the New York Times, all I can say is "wow."

Paleontology and Creationism Meet but Don’t Mesh, By Kenneth Chang

70 paleontologists visited the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky for jarring alternate view of geological history.

"The real reason dinosaurs became extinct" Gary Larson's classic cartoon offers yet another possible explanation for the dinosaurs' demise.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Ohio Arts Council needs our help too.

Here is some more unfortunate budget news, this time from the Ohio Citizens for the Arts' website. After reading the explanation of what the Ohio Arts Council faces in the way of proposed budget cuts, you are hereby encouraged to add their plight to your growing list of gripes to relay to our lawmakers in Columbus.

The following was taken directly from www.ohiocitizensforthearts.org:

There are now three working versions of the state budget – Executive, House, and Senate. Each scenario is a reduction to the Ohio Arts Council’s budget as compared to the original FY 2008/2009 budget. This is not good news for the arts in Ohio.

We are all aware of the terrible fiscal situation the State of Ohio finds itself. And the Ohio Arts Council already has done its part by sustaining significant administrative and subsidy (grant) cuts through budget reductions in FY 2008/2009 and the initial proposed FY2010/2011 budget. Further cuts will cripple the Ohio Arts Council’s ability to serve the people of Ohio.

The Conference Committee (composed of three members each from the House and Senate) will be working out the final version of the budget in the next few weeks. We need your help NOW. Please take action by contacting your Senator and Representative and the Governor to request that they provide adequate funding to the Ohio Arts Council. Ohio Citizens for the Arts set a goal of $25,000,000 for the Ohio Arts Council appropriation for the FY 2010/2011 budget and we must aim to reach this goal.

Please do your part to make sure your legislators in the House and Senate, and Governor Strickland understand:

The arts mean business to Ohio and contribute significantly to the education of our children.

  • The creative industries bring more than $25 BILLION in revenue to the State which contributes to economic competitiveness and recovery for Ohio.
  • The creative industries support 231,200 jobs in Ohio.
  • The creative industries generate $1.06 billion in state and local tax revenues.
  • The arts and arts education contribute to the kind of imaginative thinking, problem solving, skills and innovation that Ohio needs to be competitive in the 21st century global workforce.

As a way to help you better understand the impact of the possible budget scenarios, the Ohio Arts Council has provided a comparison document that shows the possible funding amounts to artists and arts organizations using the final FY2009 grant amounts, and the Executive, House, and Senate versions of the budget. Please take a moment to review the reports, they are sorted by Senate and House district so that you can have full picture of the impact the various budget scenarios mean to you, your organization, and the region: Effects of Budget Proposals. If you would like to see how the Ohio Citizens for the Arts suggested budget goal would affect your grant click here.

Please pass this message on to your trustees, members, colleagues, and other interested individuals and urge them to contact their legislators and the Governor as well. For more resources and talking points visit the Ohio Arts Council’s Making the Case page.

If you have any questions please contact Ohio Citizens for the Arts at 614/221-4064 or Donna Collins at donnacollins@ohiocitizensforthearts.org

Lobby for your library!

As our local libraries here in Ohio face a debilitating budget cut ammounting to a 50% reduction in state funding, I am saddened by the short-sighted approach Governor Strickland took in proposing his solution to Ohio's budget woes. Instead of taking a measured approach and reducing spending evenly throughout the public service sector, he devastated our libraries, one of the most important resources to out-of-work Ohioans and their families in this tough economy, and authorized legalized gambling, an idea which the good people of Ohio have repeatedly defeated at the polls.

It is unrealistic to assume that all state intstitutions would be unaffected by the budget deficit facing legislators in Columbus, but by taking one of our most valuable and free public efucational resources and cutting it off at the knees, the Governor is cutting off his nose to spite his face. Fifty percent budget cuts will close library branches, limit hours, reduce staff (increasing unemployment), and diminish vital services across the state.

I was unemployed for a time seven years ago, a victim of the tough economic times faced by nonprofits after 9/11. I waited the appropriate number of days after my layoff, and headed to the local office to file for unemployment benefits. I can honestly say that beyond the meager checks that kept me financially afloat (if just barely) I received no other benefit from my association with the state unemployment agency. As a professional woman with an advanced degree their job training offered me nothing, and I was both overqualified for and uninterested in the job listings the agency had available in unskilled labor.

It was from my local library and the incredibly supportive, resourceful, and knowledgable staff I found there that I received the kind of help I needed to find another job. The internet access, which I could not afford at home, kept me in touch with job sites and allowed me to quickly respond to postings that fit my skills and experience.

It is exactly these resources and services that we can least afford to lose right now. Please, take just a moment to send off three or four sentences in an email to your legislators, emploring them not to destroy our vital library system here in Ohio. Your neighbors will thank you for it. Your children will love you for it. And the next time you get shhh'd at the library, you can tell the librarians that they owe you one.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Composting, can you dig it?

At long last, I am finally starting my backyard compost pile. This particular initiative has been long overdo at my house, where every year I buy the expensive organic fertilizer (basically someone else's compost) to spread around my vegetables, herbs, and flowers. This year, spurred on by a backyard makeover that produced a nice new vegetable plot, I decided to make good on my promise to carry out the kitchen scraps and mount a concerted composting effort.

My grandmother used to have a compost pile for her garden (mostly flowers and a few tomato plants), and she was anything but a "crunchy" tree-hugger. I watched as she deposited old lettuce, potato peelings, egg shells, melon rinds, and coffee grounds into her lidded metal can in the garage. Then, when it was full, Grandma dumped the scraps from her "waste bin" into her wheelbarrow, trucked them to a tucked-away corner of her backyard, and shoveled them onto the organic pile. In my mind's eye, I can see her now, dressed in a pastel cotton blouse and a prim khaki skirt from Talbot's, turning over the compost with her pitchfork to mix the layers before shoveling some off the bottom for her flower beds. I remember this image vividly, since even as a child it struck me as very earthy for a lady who got her hair done twice a week and liked to have a kir before dinner.

However, even these treasured memories did not instill in me enough of a sense of compost-confidence to try it out without further instruction. Ever since the snow melted, I have intended to get a couple of good books on the subject from my local library, but just never got around to it. Then, two weeks ago I read this great how-to guide posted on the blog from Seventh Generation. Now, I'm ready!

If you are also thinking about organic gardening and looking for a better way to feed your plants, check out this really simple step-by-step guide to composting and pile on!

Monday, June 22, 2009

MuseoBlogger version 2.0

Today I launched the new-look version of my blog and hope you see it as a major improvement over the previous design. I certainly like it better than the old edition. I felt it was time for an image makeover and recently I finished a design overhaul of my logo, brand, and business card. Currently, I have a good friend redeveloping my website to correspond with the new look. More to come on that front very soon.

Unfortunately, because of limitations within the Blogger format, along with my limited time and bank account, I could not develop a blog template to perfectly match my new brand image. However, I felt this template and color scheme corresponded nicely with my logo, it was logically organized, and it seemed easy to read. If you have any feedback, positive or negative, please pass it along, as I still consider this something of a work-in-progress.

Secretary of Education wants more access to arts education for America's kids

Responding to a study that showed children who studied the arts outperformed their peers who did not, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called for greater access to quality education in the arts for our kids nationwide. To those of us working in the arts and cultural fields, the benefits of grounding children's educational experience in the arts should come as no surprise. This is just a nice research-based validation of how important our work really is to our kids' future.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WKYC: Developer teams with Marinescape to build aquarium in Cleveland's Flats

WKYC: Developer teams with Marinescape to build aquarium in Cleveland's Flats

It looks like Cleveland is finally getting that aquarium everyone has been talking about for years. The location in the Flats inside the Powerhouse as part of the Nautica complex is an interesting choice and could really be a great boost to the economic redevelopment of that area. Personally, I think the projected attendance numbers as stated in this article (400k-500k visitors annually) seems incredibly ambitious, especially given the current economic climate, but the concept is strong.

I like their decision to include Lake Erie and Cuyahoga River freshwater exhibits, which will add greatly to the overall educational impact of the project and go beyond the saltwater reef "wow-factor".

It is exciting news and could potentially be another cultural gem here in Cleveland. I look forward to watching this project develop.

Shared via AddThis

Friday, June 12, 2009

OMA professional development

To further our mission of serving the professional needs of the Ohio museum community, the board and staff at the Ohio Museums Association is currently putting together the program of professional development opportunities for the next year and beyond.

Although we have several great programs already in the works, including workshops on education and greening your museum, a family-friendly conference with a family visitor focused track of sessions, and a bonus joint conference with the Association of Midwest Museums in Cleveland, we, the OMA Board, would love to hear from you about the kinds of professional development that would be most valuable to you in this tough economy, where travel dollars are stretched thin.

If you have any thoughts, or specific ideas, please leave a comment below this post and I will be sure to share them with my fellow board members as well as with the OMA staff.

I'm looking forward to reading about how we at OMA can continue to provide the information our members need most and be responsive in meeting their needs.

Have a great weekend!

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Two museum heroes today, in two vastly different ways

Son 'Relieved' To Tell Cops Of Dad's Stolen Artifacts

Amidst the reports coming in today from the scene of the fatal shooting at the Holocaust Museum, I heard this story on All Things Considered and had to share it with anyone who may have missed this afternoon's broadcast. Recently, Joseph Sisto, certain he would be ostracized from his own family, turned over his father's enormous collection of artifacts and manuscripts to authorities because he recognized that many of them had been stolen. Because of his selfless desire to do the right thing, thousands of cultural treasures are finally seeing the light of day and many are being repatriated to public collections in Italy.

I was pleased to have just a little bit of good news for those of us in the museum world, on an otherwise dark day, as we saw a terrible and shocking act of violence end in the tragic death of security guard Stephen Johns at the Holocaust Memorial Museum. My prayers are with his family and friends in their grief, along with the staff at the Museum, who will have to shake off their fear and head back to work later this week. We all look forward to a brighter day when hope, not hatred, fills the hearts of people everywhere. Truly, it is those individual heroes like Stephen Johns, who through their altruistic acts of bravery bring us closer to that better world we seek.

Photo: M. Spencer Green

FBI special agent and spokesman Ross Rice announces that millions of dollars worth of antiquities found in the home of John Sisto of Berwyn, Ill., will be sent back to Italy. AP

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