Wednesday, September 14, 2011

When something is right, but not right for us.

Our Mission
The purpose of Log Cabin Village is to educate the public through the collection, preservation and interpretation of artifacts, representative structures, and other items of social and cultural significance to Texas’ pioneer era (1840-1890).

Our Vision
Log Cabin Village aspires to build connections to 19th century Texas by providing educational opportunities and sensory experiences that are engaging, accurate, and as authentic as possible.

A mission statement is a tricky thing. Museums, non-profit agencies, and even corporations hire consultants, sponsor retreats, and read tea leaves to try and figure out their mission. How can you condense your life's work and purpose into one brief, often catchy, statement?

Why is it even important to do so?

Quite simply, mission statements provide a focus for your organization. Many well-intentioned efforts have failed because there was no clear direction behind which to rally. Museum staff members in particular utilize their mission statements as a driving force behind every operation they are involved in. From educational programming, collections (and collections policy), and exhibits to museum store merchandise, mission should be kept in mind at all times. And if it's not mission-related, then it shouldn't be part of your museum.

But what if the item's really cool? And rare? And historically relevant to your local community? What if you know a program's going to make a LOT of sorely needed revenue for your museum, even though it's not mission-related? What if the exhibit will attract record numbers of visitors in a time of economic turmoil?

These are poignant questions that each museum struggles with on a regular basis. Here at the Village, we tend to take a fairly traditional stance: if it ain't related to our mission, it ain't happening here.

But it's so sad when we have something like this...

Or this...

And we want to share it with the world.

But we're not a 20th century museum. We don't deal exclusively with Fort Worth history. In fact, we only have one structure from Fort Worth (originally North Fort Worth): the Marine School house. So unfortunately, these items should not be part of our collection (and shouldn't have been accepted as donations in the first place).

So now what? We will work to find a place for them, preferably (and ethically) in another local museum whose mission they DO fit.

And they will be home.

UPDATE: We are very excited to announce that the awesome fan will be going to the Leonard's Department Store Museum right here in Fort Worth! Yay!