It's my second week as the Executive Director at The Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, CA, and boy is my everything tired. Board committee meetings. Film festival openings. Historical landmark ceremonies. And that's just the fun stuff. I'm also making the 2011-2012 budget, getting to know our terrific staff and volunteers, and starting up a few small participatory projects to launch us into being a more community-driven institution.
And despite the fact that I've enjoyed being at the museum for 12 hours plus for ten days in a row, I'm quickly realizing that if I want to really get some fun participatory projects going, I need some help. There's just too much involved in the first few months of taking over a struggling museum to realistically imagine that I can also make enough fun stuff happen to keep me satisfied. Our staff is fabulous, but they are stretched thin with a slate of summer programs, exhibits, and fundraising efforts, so I'm looking for a few extra hands.
I know, I know. All the diligent boys and girls have already lined up incredible internships, summer jobs, and contracts with the circus. But if YOU are sitting there thinking, "gee, what I really want to do this summer is transform a sterile volunteer desk into a creativity lounge," or "I've always wanted to develop a late night game show where people answer local history trivia and make art at the same time," I have the opportunity for you.
Let me be frank. We have no money. We cannot pay you in dollars. Yes, I feel that museum workers should be paid and paid well for their efforts. But our museum is very small, and we rely heavily on volunteers to do all kinds of things from serving food to documenting collections.
And! Unlike people with paid positions, you will have the opportunity to focus entirely on creating a killer project. I will give you some direction and wander down longingly to see how things are going, but mostly, you'll have the run of the place. If you want to also volunteer some hours at the desk, awesome, but if not, that's ok too. I even have a couple ideas that you could work on without being here in Santa Cruz.
Here's specifically what I'm looking for:
- Website redesign. Ever wanted to build a museum website from scratch? A simple one, maybe using Wordpress or Drupal? I know, lots of people get paid lots of money for this, but lots of people do it as volunteers, too. And I can promise you won't be dealing with a bunch of department heads who all want real estate on the homepage or an exec who wants a sparkly unicorn of goofy features. Please help us. Our website is navigationally challenged. And if this sounds too big, we have lots of more specific technology projects (point of sale, interactive staircase) you could get involved with. You don't have to be in Santa Cruz for this one.
- Creativity Lounges. Right now, we have landings on our second and third floors that feature a volunteer sitting behind a desk. That volunteer is usually bored, somewhat uncomfortable, and way more interesting than the desk implies. I want to get some used furniture and create "lounges" on these landings where volunteers can do crafts or history research with visitors in a comfortable setting. Like couches? This is the internship for you.
- Makers in the Lobby. We have a big, beautiful lobby. When we have events, it's fabulous, but other times it can feel a bit cavernous and dead. I want to invite local artists, crafters, and people who practice historical folkways to come and demo/make/perform in the lobby on a regular basis. I'm looking for an intern who loves to coordinate with artists and feels just as comfortable sweet-talking a ukelele band into giving a demonstration as he does cleaning up from a surfboard shaping afternoon.
- Late night programming. This one is wide open. I'd like to start a late night program series focused on working adults, and I'm really open as to what that looks like. It could be a game show. It could be a tag-team art/history lecture series. It could be an exhibit jam. It could be an urban history scavenger hunt. It could be whatever you are thinking about right now.
- Family days. Right now, we have monthly family art activities. They're good, but we could do better. We have an amazing plaza right outside the lobby and I'd love to find someone who wants to create incredible programming out there--chalk art murals, making music with unusual items, fort-building...
If you are interested in one or more of these opportunities, please fill out this form and I will get back to you soon. I'm not expecting to make all of these things happen this summer, but I'd love it if we could get a few exciting things off the ground.