adventures in museum-going

Day 9: on project management

| posted by: phiden

One thing we haven’t really talked about in this seminar (or ever, now that I think about it) is project management. It almost seems like a given that we know what project management is, or that there will somehow be a project manager on our exhibit development teams.

I’ve worked with PMs before, but never in the context of an exhibit development, so hearing Marion Gill and Carlos Bustamante at the National Museum of African American Culture & History talk about project management was definitely a lesson. There were things that were not surprising to me — for example, the incredible amount of detail that goes into management, or how a PM manages people. But, as has so often been the case, I hadn’t considered how objects change the equation. Before today, I never would have considered that moving a single object could be a project of such magnitude that it requires a PM.

It was a nice way to wrap up our many museum visits and professional conversations, because it seems like project management is the umbrella under which all other exhibit development must get done, at least in larger institutions that are managing many people on a single project. Still, I wish we’d started talking about it sooner and in more detail. Clearly, it’s an important aspect of exhibit development, but it’s been glossed over.

Now, all we have left in our seminar is to present our virtual exhibits, which we’ll do tomorrow. I heard that the professors invited all of our guest speakers to attend, which is both a relief (our classmates already know our objects, which will make for a boring lesson – guests would make it more interesting) and terrifying!

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