Among the changing months, May stand confest / The sweetest, and in fairest colors dressed. ~ James Thomson


May 17, 2018

Pink Palace Museum, Memphis




Exploring Diversity and Inclusion at TAM 2018

Part 1: Directors and Administrators Roundtable

This year's TAM conference, with its theme of Strength in Unity, saw several sessions focused on questions of diversity, equity, and inclusion, including the facilitator-led roundtable sessions where participants had the chance to discuss these issues together in an informal setting. For this newsletter, and the next few, we will share some of the insights and questions that came out of those discussions.

The Directors and Administrators Roundtable noted that first and foremost, leaders of our organizations need to model diversity and inclusion to their staff. However, diversity and inclusion aren't just about an institution's audience; we must also look internally at employees, the mission statement, exhibits and programming, collections, etc. And there are a number of factors and demographics to consider, including age, race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic, orientation, and accessibility.

Another important consideration: Does your institution have a Non-Discrimination Policy and a Diversity & Inclusion Policy? Many people don't fully understand the difference between these two policies. While they overlap and work together, a Non-Discrimination Policy is more internal, focusing on the idea of "we do not exclude these people," while a Diversity & Inclusion Policy is more external and active with its focus on "we will include these people." Just having these policies isn't enough, however; institutional buy-in and support are hugely important. To start the process, an institution must commit and decide to be intentional through enforcement of the policies so that over time they will become part of the culture and everyday operations.

Several participants in this roundtable shared examples of how they were addressing issues of diversity and inclusion within their operations. For example, when planning their exhibition calendar, one museum has a meeting where they review upcoming exhibits to make sure there aren't any gaps in audiences and demographics. They look for missing groups and, if there are any, they create an exhibit to fill that gap, often bringing together a community committee to help in the exhibit's development. Another museum invited a non-profit working with the blind and visually impaired to visit the museum with their clients so that they could help the docents to better understand what they need when visiting the museum and to also point out the areas where the museum could improve accessibility, often in ways beyond those laid out as ADA guidelines, and therefore provide a better and more engaging experience.

The practice of reaching out to the community to get their input and feedback came up time and time again in the discussion. This underlines the importance of including the audience you are trying to serve. By asking them to share their input, you stop assuming that your institution automatically understands the groups and their needs. Co-creation is a wonderfully useful tool to make sure that your efforts at diversity and inclusion are authentic and meaningful.

Next month we'll share the discussion from the Education and School Programs Roundtable. You can also access the notes from all four roundtable sessions here.


Featuring Tennessee Institutions and All the Great Stuff They Do!  

With limited space in the TAM newsletter, it's hard to feature all of the great events, exhibits, programs, and achievements of our Tennessee museums, cultural institutions, and historic sites.

Therefore, as often as possible, we will use some space to feature the websites and blogs of Tennessee institutions. This will help point our members to these sites so that they can follow all of the wonderful work these places are doing and go deeper into their content.

This month check out the genealogy section of the East Tennessee Historical Society's website. It's a great place to get started if you are interested in learning more about your family and about history. The site offers links to resources and a list of local genealogy classes, and you can also learn more about First Families of Tennessee and Civil War Families of Tennessee.  
If your museum or site runs a blog or interesting website that you'd like to see featured in the TAM newsletter, please send details to Communications Chair Rene Rodgers at



 AAM Webinars
Recorded webinars:
Did you know that you can access recorded webinars from AAM? With over 70 programs to choose from, their recorded webinars cover a range of topics and offer an affordable, accessible and convenient online learning opportunity for you and your staff. Purchase of each recorded webinar includes access to the archived recording and presentation materials. Programs originally produced after 2009 feature closed-captioning.

AASLH Webinars

June 4, 2018: Is Your Museum Grant Ready?

June 6, 2018: Beyond the Mansion: Creating Bottom-Up Interpretation from Top-Down Narratives

June 7, 2018: Is It Time for Your Organization to Enroll in StEPs?

June 12, 2018: Speaking Truth to Power: Why Transparency and Accountability Matter


AASLH Online Courses

June 4July 9, 2018: Basics of Archives

July 9September 3, 2018: Collections Management

July 16–September 10, 2018: Caring for Museum Collections


AAM EdComversations 

EdComversations: From 4:00 to 5:00pm (EDT) every third Thursday of the month, join other museum professionals for conversation. These online, talk-show-style discussions cover timely, relevant topics from the museum community and encourage dialogue, networking, and collaborative idea generation. These conversations are free but participants are asked to register; the next EdComversation is Thursday, June 21 at 4:00pm. For more information and to register, check out this link.

- More Information -

Customs House Looking for Appropriate Home for Prospective Donation

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center has a prospective donation of vinyl records that was declined for acceptance into our collections. Therefore we are searching for a more appropriate institution to transfer the vinyl records. 

There are approximately 70 12-inch 78s and 250 7-inch 45s. Most of the records are in fair to good condition. Most are in plain paper sleeves and many are promotional copies marked "not for sale."

Record Labels include RCA Records, Columbia Records, MCM, Capitol, Major Record, RCA, Mercury, Decca, etc., and artists include Jimmy Dean, Hank Williams, George Jones, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Elvis, Vic Damone, The De Castro Sisters, amongst others.

For more information, contact the Customs House Curator of Collections at

Amazon Smile and TAM

Did you know that you can support TAM through any shopping you do on Amazon Smile? Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% to the Tennessee Associations of Museums whenever you shop on the site for anything from books to clothes to house goods!

Use this link to set up TAM as your charitable beneficiary on Amazon Smile today!

Current TAM Board Members, including contact details for regional reps:

Ken Mayes, President
Dollie Boyd, President Elect
Brad Kavan, Treasurer
Brooke Mundy, Secretary
Debbie Shaw, State Coordinator
Rene Rodgers, Communications Chair
Bethany Hawkins, Conference Chair
Tori Mason, Awards Chair
Hobart Akin, Professional Program Chair
Melina Ludwig, Technology Chair

Charles Googe, Vice President East TN

Rebecca Price, Vice President Middle TN
Chick History

Vice President – West TN (to be filled)
Have news to share??
Send it to by the 1st of the month for publication around the 15th. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND the following:
  • We will try to include as much submitted information as possible, but have limited space.
  • The primary focus of the newsletter will be announcements, grant and professional opportunities, and news about members and member institutions.  
  • If an event is happening at the beginning of the month, we will need your information the PRECEDING month for it to be included. Events will be listed if space allows.
  • If there is timely information, publication may be earlier than the 15th of the month
  • Photos are welcome and encouraged! 
  • Have something you want to see? Let us know!! This is YOUR newsletter!


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