This MMA Review marks the final activity in a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Michigan Museums Association (MMA). By my count, we have shared parts of MMA history in 12 editions of the MMA Review and in 56 social media posts. We raised $13,500 for the endowment. We had two parties—including one that had a plaid parade(!)—and spent part of the conference reflecting on #50YearsTogether.
There were many people who participated in all of the above, but two in particular were instrumental. MMA Board Member Michelle McClellan served as the historian for the anniversary and explored and analyzed boxes and boxes of archival materials to extrapolate the timeline and narrative of MMA. The volume of her effort was only surpassed by the work of MMA Membership and Communications Coordinator Claire Johnston who crafted the MMA Review sections and dug deep for social media content. I have appreciated the chance to work with them on this project for a year, and I will miss our conversations about whatever nugget had been discovered since we last met. We didn’t end up doing everything we wanted for the anniversary, but it still feels like we had a worthy commemoration.
One of my favorite parts of this anniversary year was hearing from others about MMA. People have shared photos of colleagues, copies of newsletters, and stories of conferences all over the state. It has been fun to see how others have experienced what MMA offered over the years and the friendships that have been formed.
However, as part of MMA leadership, I have been especially inspired by the ebbs and flows of the work of the organization and in appreciating the sheer volume of hours and levels of commitment people have given to MMA. I feel strongly that what we do at MMA is important. It is important to support those of you working and volunteering in museums, and it’s important that the Michigan museum community has a place to come together. It’s important that museums have a collective voice to the rest of the state.
The work of MMA is important, but it can also sometimes be a tad overwhelming. We are a HUGE state, and MMA is tiny. There is SO MUCH to be done. But, after spending twelve months learning about all the people who gave so much of themselves to MMA over the years, I am recharged and motivated to keep my head down and continue the work. There will be more highs and low ahead, but it is the work we do together that will get us through the next 50 years!
Lisa Craig Brisson