Proceedings – ADMINISTRATION OF PARK MUSEUMS – FUNDAMENTALS OF MUSEUM ADMINISTRATION

Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929

 ADMINISTRATION OF PARK MUSEUMS

FUNDAMENTALS OF MUSEUM ADMINISTRATION

By C. P. Russell

Successful administration of a museum — as of any other organization — depends upon clearly defined relationships between staff members. It is a fundamental law of group action that an individual in an organization be responsible to but one superior. That one superior should be the man who is empowered to recommend his appointment or revoke his appointment. If administrative organization is not set up with this fundamental in mind invasions of rights and insubordinations are bound to follow.

The American Association of Museums has drawn up a code of ethics for museum workers. It bases its admonitions to personnel on the qualities of devotion to a cause, faith in the unselfishness of co-workers, and honor as a controlling factor in action. In the last analysis the effectiveness of museum administration depends upon the character of individuals who make up the organization. If the three qualities mentioned above do not exist in the individuals in an organization, the Director of that group, be he ever so business-like, is not going to have clear sailing. Good administration begins with the selection of personnel and the development and maintenance of an esprit de corps.

Special interests of the Director should not bring undue favors to one branch of work and neglect to others.

All decisions of a director should be based upon policy – never upon favoritism.

Rules must, without exception, be enforced impartially.

A channel of authority must be established before the authority can be exercised.

The sphere of a superior is his subordinate, not the subordinate’s work.

 

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