Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
ADMINISTRATION OF PARK MUSEUMS
By Frank T. Been.
The personnel of a National Park museum consists of a group of museum workers headed by the park naturalist, who may be considered the museum director. As the director, the naturalist is an administrator, but he is also to some degree a curator. In a park museum, the management of personnel may be a rather simple matter as the size of the institution will not ordinarily require a force of more than two or three. However, while it is possible to do so, the museum should have at its disposal a man qualified to arrange the technical details of museum installations; the naturalist usually has not the time for this detailed work. This man may be available only in the summer season as a ranger-naturalist, or if the naturalist has an assistant, this man may have time available for this kind of work.
A valuable part of the museum is the library which, when fully developed, should have a librarian who may possibly be detailed to do some of the museum preparation.
Although it may not be possible to obtain as a park employee, a man equipped to carry on museum preparation, there are men in museum work who are willing to become temporarily a member of the staff in order to prepare exhibits which may be urgently required. Such men may be paid or they may contribute their services.
The preparation of cabinets, frames, panels, etc., will require a cabinet-maker or carpenter, but this work can be done by a park service carpenter; and high school manual training classes are frequently glad to have tasks of this kind upon which to work.
Planning a park museum personnel is not a very serious problem for most of us at this time, because we are extremely fortunate to have a museum specialist at Educational Headquarters with whom we can share all of our museum planning and preparation problems. But, if the conditions were ideal, a park museum should have a curator equipped to handle almost any kind of museum mounting, a librarian, and a care-taker who may also be the cabinetmaker.
Coleman, L. V. – Manual for Small Museums.
Gilman, B. I. – Administrative Organization and its Two Perturbations. Proceedings A.A.M. V. 10, 1916.
Following Mr. Been’s paper there was a lengthy discussion of museum personnel problems and general personnel problems. One of the main subjects of discussion was whether or not the directorship of a park museum should remain in the hands of the Park Naturalist, or whether it should be relegated to a member of his technical staff. It was agreed that even where a permanent staff is available, the directorship of the park museum should remain in the hands of the park naturalist, not merely because of his general grasp of museum problems, but also because most educational activities center in the museum and the museum exhibits should be correlated with the general educational program.