I confess to still be wrestling with the confederate monuments. I have a few concrete ideas, but I’m still fleshing out my understanding of how to deal with them in a complete fashion. I think ultimately these monuments will need to be dealt with community, by community, and I hope the process involves many different voices engaging with one another civilly. Through thinking through my issues with the monuments, I find I want to think about planning as much if not more, which flows into this weeks readings.
One thing my experience has taught me is that planning is vital to beginning any new project. Our readings this week laid out several valuable frameworks for approaching planning for me it usually comes down to a few fundamental points to consider
This one thing I’ve struggled with a bit in my career and eventually learned to embrace. When starting a project or creating a proposal for anything have an idea of what it is you are trying to do, how you think you may do it, and what you hope to accomplish. I’m always drawn to the discussion of what you hope to accomplish, specifically the how you prove that you’ve done what you set out to do. On page 29 of Interpretive Planning for Museums(IPM), we see the discussion of how the GPRA began to require funding agencies accountable to the outcomes that grant awardees were aiming for. I think this was a major turning point for how cultural memory institutions related and understood their users. This shift towards being user centered is vital to the success of any organization. I found this point from page 30 of IPM to be really important:
First, that the role of museums is to support their community’s ability to thrive by providing learning opportunities; and second, that museums provide opportunities, platforms, and materials from which visitors are able to construct their own meaning
So if we use these ideas as our focus, then we have to construct objectives that relate to this focus. These objectives must also be obtainable and measurable. I will say measuring a communities ability to thrive will be complicated. I can think of a way to do that at this moment. This second idea of learning opportunities and platforms is far easier to approach and prove that these objectives have been accomplished.
Understanding your audience is a vitally important aspect to any planning activity. I found the discussion of markets in the 5M model book to be very helpful, especially understanding the various types of markets that you may be working with. An understanding how you are trying to target and how to work with that target group is also important. I’ve failed at this a few times in my career. A major example was a series of workshops I created to help graduate students utilize library resources. We planned the workshops to be hosted at two campuses and at varying times. What we didn’t think about was how the workshop times didn’t work for the different types of graduate students that each campus had. One campus was principally for commenter students who worked full times, so the times an hour before class weren’t appropriate for them because most arrived just in time for their class. The students on main campus which were more traditional graduate students was a difficult group to find a time that worked because their courses and assistantships kept them busy at different points throughout the day. I learned that while I thought I understood the audience, I hadn’t done enough research to really understand the various types of graduate students we were trying to reach.
When thinking about resources, you have to think about not only you object resources and funding, but you Human Resources. Our text talked about this some, but I wanted to emphasize the need to understand the skills, training and time of the staff/co-workers that you’ll be working with. Time is a major understanding everyone on a project needs to figure quickly. Can people be pulled from other duties? Can the project be done in a given period with other things going on? Etc, etc. Human Resources are usually the most important resources for a project success.
So that’s kind of how I perceive planning basics, I’m definitely really excited to work with everyone on the interpretative plan for Avondale Estates with everyone.