2016 Museum Leadership Seminar

The Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Dane A. Penland
The Smithsonian Castle and Enid A. Haupt Garden, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution. Photo: Dane A. Penland

The George Washington University and Smithsonian Affiliations has successfully completed the third annual leadership program for museum professionals on July 25 and 26, 2016. Participants engaged in two days of intensive, interactive learning about the current trends and challenges of successful museum leaders. This year’s program emphasized personal evaluation, communication, creative problem solving and how leadership can be woven into all levels of museum management. This collaboration between George Washington University and Smithsonian Affiliations allowed participants to gain the skills necessary to help their institutions succeed.

Relevance

New modes of leadership must arise to meet the changing landscape of museums. As concerns mount over issues of accountability, community engagement, finances, sustainability, and workforce diversity and development, museum leaders must come together to develop and share strategies for future success. The leadership program for museum professionals will afford attendees unprecedented access to the current and future leaders who can help meet these challenges.

Museums in the 21st century require versatile leadership at all organizational levels. The multiple dimensions of leadership, information fluency, and strategic assessment are all significant areas to address. Additionally, as the place of museums in their communities continues to shift, museum leaders must become more involved in effective communication and outreach. Museums require highly trained, adaptable, and innovative leaders to ensure their continued success. GW Museum Studies and Smithsonian Affiliations are committed to providing opportunities for professional development for leaders at all levels

Program Highlights

  • Personal Attention: Participants worked one on one with experienced faculty to address the issues facing their institutions
  • Honing Leadership Skills: Strategic and networking skills, communication, and self-evaluation were highlighted throughout the seminar
  • Practical Focus: Participants addressed the real-world challenges and successes of their institutions throughout the program
  • Networking: participants worked collaboratively on problem-solving and building individual strengths
  • Integration of lessons learned: Participants worked on action plans to implement lessons of the seminar
  • Faculty: Faculty from the George Washington University, Smithsonian leaders, and museum professionals with exceptional leadership experience worked directly with participants to share ideas, theories, and approaches to leadership.