I love Utah! I never thought I would enjoy living in the west but it is absolutely wonderful out here! The snow we got June 10th aside, Utah has been an amazing experience. Driving across country is something I am so happy to have done!
My internship in Park City has been fantastic. Some of the major projects I am working on this summer include the re-housing of a new archival donation, assisting in the planning and follow-through of the museum’s annual fundraiser, and outreach summer programming with the under-served populations of Park City.
With me there are two other interns who have both recently graduate from their masters programs; Deb from Rutgers with a Library Sciences degree and Jenette from George Washington with a focus on Museum Studies. The three of us have all been working in a variety of roles however the staff here has been excellent in directing us towards our strengths.
Knowing my interest in programming and special events my supervisor assigned me to work most closely with the museum’s annual fundraising weekend. The Historic Home Tour Weekend is a two day event that encourages participation from museum members as well as the general public. The weekend starts off with a $200 per ticket dinner, hosted in an historic home lent to the museum for this occasion. All the chefs volunteer their services and food to the event. The servers are also volunteer, which is how I ended up serving a seven course meal of: Watermelon & Balsamic reduction, Chilled Garlic, Almond & Grape Soup, Baby Squid stuffed with Braised Oxtail, Buffalo Mozzarella, Roasted Beet Salad with Blood Orange Sorbet, Halibut with Lemon Angel Hair Pasta, Duo of Lamb and a Trio of Rhubarb all created by Chef Meryl Van Der Merwe.
The following morning started the actual home tours. Each year a street is chosen and historic houses on or near that street are asked if they would be willing to open their doors to the public. This year 16 houses were chosen and the event was a huge success. The afternoon was capped with a reception at Zoom Restaurant, a part of the Sundance Resort, where guests are given food and wine and the entire event culminates with a Silent Auction.
The Home Tour Weekend is completely organized by the board with the assistance of the director. The museum staff has very little to do with the planning process and during the event is present to assist board members with whatever they need. Something to mention before going too much further is that this is an amazingly active board. They raised 9 million dollars in private donations and completed a 10,000 sq foot addition to their building while making it LEAD Certified, during a recession.
Every board member is personally invested in this institution and their involvement is not purely on a donation level, many are active volunteers as well. Because I expressed an interest in special events during my interview I was able to help with the planning and some of the grunt work that goes into putting on this event and therefore have worked more with the board.
I have only had one other experience working with a museum board as a staff member and was wondering if anyone else is getting an opportunity to work alongside their boards? Is this amount of involvement typical or above and beyond? What is a reasonable expectation of a museum board?