Position Paper: What's Next? A Guide to Museum Transitions and Closures

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Position Paper: What's Next? A Guide to Museum Transitions and Closures

One of the many lessons that history teaches us is that change is constant, and that beginnings and endings are frequent. This includes changes, and even endings, for museums, historic houses, and historical societies, too. You may be despairing about the financial struggle that your museum is facing, or have done some careful thinking about your organization’s mission and your community’s needs, and realized that you need to consider a transition or a closure. This resource introduces the process of closing (or merging, etc.) a history museum.

A working group from AASLH, including members of AASLH’s Small Museums Affinity Community, Field Services Alliance, and Standards and Ethics Committee, put this resource together in summer 2020, starting with a review of the 2006 version, “When a History Museum Closes.” The group incorporated public comments about the previous version, as well as comments from several AASLH affinity communities and public comments on an earlier draft of this resource. We hope this resource provides a useful start to your process as you wrestle with options for your museum.




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