Areas of Focus

Advisory Services

Accreditation and Assessment: Providing guidance, models, and best practices to museum, non-profit, and social sector organizations/government agencies for developing, assessing, or revising an accreditation (or similar standards-based evaluation/assessment) program; and the related standards. Facilitating custom peer-to-peer site visits for museums seeking collegial advice on a specific issue. Julie Hart

Advocacy for Museums: Providing advocacy training and helping develop effective year-round advocacy strategies and tactics for museum or association staff, board, or members; empowering museum professionals and supporters to effectively engage in advocating for museums and make full use of Alliance advocacy resources to speak up for museums and build their own advocacy skills. Ember Farber

Business and Product Development: providing input on concepts and development of new products and services for the museum sector. Elizabeth Merritt 

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion: facilitating planning with board and staff on organizational values, policies, and implementation of practices fostering diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion at the community, staff, and leadership levels.

Financial Planning: helping museums develop and test concepts for new income streams and business models. Elizabeth Merritt 

Strategic Planning: integrating strategic foresight into the planning process, developing strategies and tactics in support of diversity and inclusion, planning for change and measuring the impact of your museums efforts. Elizabeth Merritt

Speakers Bureau: Lectures and Workshops

Accreditation, Standards & Ethics, Organizational Infrastructure


Current Issues in Museum Standards & Ethics:  Looking at standards from a high level, not just what they are, but how they are applied to a very diverse museum field, and their role in creating a culture of excellence and accountability in the field at large and at individual institutions, with focus on areas of standards and ethics that are evolving or emerging (generally or specific area selected by host).  Julie Hart

Creating an Institutional Culture of Excellence: the mindset, structures, leadership, and other vital organizational design components of a strategically operating museum that is positioned for success in the delivery of its mission. Julie Hart

Deaccessioning:  An overview and behind-the-scenes look of the ethics, standards, and professional practices associated with this valid, yet occasionally misused and publicly misunderstood, collections management tool. Julie Hart, and Elizabeth Merritt

The U.S. Model of Museum Accreditation, Evaluation, and Standards:  The model of accreditation, and the approach to standards, used in the United States museum field, including history and evolution, pros and cons, and how developed. Julie Hart


Introduction to Museum Standards and Ethics–From 30,000 feet to on-the-ground: Answers ‘what are they, where do they come from, and how do they apply to me?’ The workshop unpacks the Core Standards for Museums and the Code of Ethics for Museums so participants understand the scope, underlying principles, and related key elements/practices. Helps museum staff and trustees translate and apply these high level standards and ethics to their day-to-day work and decision-making.

Core DocumentsAn in-depth look at the Core Documents—the five plans/policies fundamental for basic professional museum operations and critical for organizational stability, strength, and flexibility. The full-day workshop covers standards and professional practices for the Mission Statement, Strategic Plan, Emergency Plan, Code of Ethics, and Collections Management Policy, and the role each plays in daily operations. Through hands-on activities and discussions participants will gain the skills to develop/strengthen their museum’s own versions. (Can be abbreviated to cover specific Core Documents.)

Creating a Network of Policies, Plans, and Procedures (for Large or New Institutions): Builds core competencies at the staff and organizational level; and covers theoretical and practical aspects of developing, implementing, and managing fundamental, institution-specific policies across functional areas

Advocacy for Museums: Effectively Making the Case for Museums


Speaking Up: Effective Advocacy for Museums – The following topics can be covered in individual talks and sessions, best pertaining to the relevant needs and interests of your group or organization:

  • Advocacy 101 or 201 (intro or advanced sessions on topics including advocacy basics and best practices; messaging and making the case; and available tools, resources and data)
  • Developing a Year-Round Advocacy Plan
  • Engaging Your Board in Advocacy
  • Ways to Advocate Today
  • Creating Your Elevator Speech
  • Your Advocacy Toolbox: AAM Advocacy Resources
  • Maximizing the Alliance Advocacy Toolkit “Speaking Up: Museum Advocacy in Action
  • A Call to Action: Advocating for Museums in Times of Crisis


A Call to Action: Effectively Advocating for Museums. Pulling from the multiple available lecture topics and the Alliance’s deep bench of advocacy resources and information, an interactive single- or double-session can be put together providing an impactful program that shares advocacy best practices and ways to advocate today, and directly engages attendees in activities including developing an elevator speech, mock advocacy visits, creating a year-round advocacy plan, and using available Alliance advocacy platforms. Prior to and continuing throughout 2020, Alliance Advocacy Workshops have successfully been held virtually, providing attendees from around the country with effective advocacy tools and training and empowering them to speak up for museums in powerful and critical ways.



How to Get Started. An introduction to foundational knowledge around diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion. This is meant to build awareness and capacity around shared language and context around DEAI.

Leadership Imperative: A Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Primer for Museum Boards. Over several decades, museum leaders have lamented the lack of diversity in their museums. Myriad outreach programs, including those aimed at building pipelines of diverse museum professionals and pathways to draw in different perspectives, have tried and largely failed to truly embed DEAI in all aspects of museums’ structure and programming. It continues to be a struggle for most to diversify who visits, who works in and leads, and who governs museums.

Financial sustainability: fostering new mission-based income streams


Peering into the Financial Future—an overview of the philanthropic, policy and cultural trends shaping the nonprofit economy, with a look at new business models being tested by museums around the world. Elizabeth Merritt


Building Sustainable Income Streams

This two day workshop leads participants to take a fresh look a the museum’s tangible and intangible assets, identify how these assets map against the interests of outside users, and generate ideas for economic models and new ventures that translate this value into support. Elizabeth Merritt

Museum Governance and Operations


Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion: insights from the Alliance’s work on DEAI.  

Nonprofit governance: exploring the implications and applications of the Alliance’s landmark report Museum Board Leadership 2017 

Seeing through a Global Lens: How international connection and collaboration can help museums get unstuck from their local issues. A look at examples and inspirations from global thinking from museum communities around the world.

Strategic planning: how museum leadership can steer their organizations to successful performance Julie Hart

Social justice: museums as a force for social and economic equity


Museums and Inequality—using the framework of Universal Basic Assets developed by the Institute for the Future, this talk explores how museums can help their communities combat inequality in significant, measurable ways. Elizabeth Merritt

Museums as Agents of Social Change–how museums can use their reach, missions, and expertise to foster equity inspire lasting social good.

Museums… So What? – exploring the impact of museums and their measurable and tangible benefits to societies. A provocation of existing metrics at use in museums that often miss the big picture of impact and social value.

The Labor of Diversity–a deep-dive into the ideas sketched out in the article of the same title in the January-February 2016 edition of Museum magazine.


Using Museum Assets to Combat Inequality

Using the Universal Basic Assets framework developed by the Institute of the Future, participants will inventory their organization’s tangible and intangible assets (e.g., space, digital resources, reputation, and reach), and identify how these assets can be used to support fair, equitable, sustainable development in their communities.  This workshop is currently in development –let me know if you would like to be the first host. Elizabeth Merritt

Strategic foresight: futures studies and trends analysis as applied to museum planning and operations


Forecasting Inclusive Museum Futures–an interactive exploration of bright and dark museum futures that uses strategic foresight principles and social movement history to consider how museums can promote equity.

Futureproofing the Museuman introduction to using scenarios in museum planning, based on TrendsWatch 2018 and the recent “future fiction” issue of Museum magazine. Elizabeth Merritt

TrendsWatchan exploration of trends shaping our field, framed around themes particular interest to your audience. Elizabeth Merritt

The 10,000 Year Museum—a playful, provocative look at museums’ promise to preserve their collections for future generations. How long is that covenant is supposed to last, and how does a museum balance its responsibilities to current and future generations? What implications does long-term guardianship have for how a museum plans for the future? Elizabeth Merritt


Strategic Foresight for Museum Planning

Building on CFM reports and scenarios, participants create their own visions of the “preferred future” and take away tools to integrate this vision into their organizational planning. Participants will learn how to; apply strategic foresight within institutional setting; set up organizational and personal systems for collecting and analyzing new information; imagine different futures and test assumptions through forecasting and scenario building. This can be a half or full day workshop, depending on how deep a dive you want to provide for participants. Elizabeth Merritt

Need a speaker for an upcoming conference or lecture or a consultant for your new project? Drop us a line below!

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