This year’s Tennessee Association of Museums’ conference focus on the things you and your organization are doing (and not doing) to guide the governance, collections, exhibits, and programs at our institutions. The theme is diverse and encourages discussions of success and failures in all areas of museum practice. How can we continue our daily work while striving to move toward a broader vision that includes our community?
From its beginning, our host city of Kingsport was a benefit of careful planning. Margaret Ripley Wolfe writes, “Kingsport was the first economically diversified, professionally planned, and privately financed city in twentieth-century America. . .. Kingsport represents one of the more successful and complex ventures in modern town planning in the United States.” The city is still keeping their goals in focus with a new vision and master plan instituted in 2017.
The Tri-Cities region surrounding Kingsport is also focused on preserving the history and culture of this important region of Tennessee. Museums including the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Hands On! Regional Museum, International Storytelling Center, and Rocky Mount share pieces of the past with visitors while ensuring the culture of this part of Tennessee (and Virginia) remains vibrant into the future.
The word focus has many definitions. It can mean directed attention or a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding. It can also mean an adjustment for distinct vision. All of these meanings connect to our work as museum employees and volunteers. TAM 2020 will dig deep into what this means to Tennessee museums and how we can use our collective focus to make our museum community stronger as we head into this new decade.
Margaret Ripley Wolfe, “Kingsport,” Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, accessed online 6/17/19.