Friday Focus: St. Mary’s County Museum Division

St. Mary's County Museum DivisionFor this Friday Focus, we caught up with marketing specialist, Kim Cullins, who shared some anecdotes about life at the Museum Division. 

Q. Tell us a little about your organization. Who do you serve?

A. The St. Mary’s County Museum Division is a division of the SMC Department of Recreation and Parks that manages and maintains the St. Clement’s Island Museum, Piney Point Lighthouse Museum & Historic Park, the c. 1820 Charlotte Hall One-Room Schoolhouse, the c. 1890 Drayden African American Schoolhouse and the Black Panther U-1105 German submarine dive preserve in the Potomac River.  Our mission is to preserve, interpret and share these sites and facilities with our visitors, community and taxpayers of St. Mary’s County.

The Museum Division has a non-profit “Friends” organization that manages and operates the museum stores, memberships and fundraisers.  Proceeds from each of these come to the museums to support education programs, historic preservation projects, matching grant funds, etc.

Q. What would you say has been your favorite “moment” working for the museum?

A. Museum staff are always so busy with administrative tasks—planning and implementing programs, marketing initiatives, etc.—that when an opportunity arises to do something really “museum” oriented, it really gets us excited!  My most recent favorite “moment” was the special exhibit last summer at the St. Clement’s Island Museum where we exhibited the personal Presidential memorabilia collection of the Roberto Lizama family.  Mr. Lizama had an incredible story of being a Guamanian immigrant who ended up working for three Presidents in the White House.  His story and the precious items of the collection caught the attention of the Washington DC television news stations, two of which came to the museum to shoot a story about it!  The exhibit was also open to the public and those who came truly enjoyed it.  There was much behind-the-scenes preparation involved in something so meaningful…and priceless.  Each of our staff rallied in their museum roles to present this exhibit in such a meaningful and professional manner.

Q. What is your biggest challenge?

A. My biggest challenge as the marketing specialist is to come up with creative ideas and inexpensive marketing strategies to get visitors to our museums. Most everyone can agree we have to stretch our dollars in this day and age.  Social media is a wonderful way of getting the word out!   Offering fun and interesting events and partnering with businesses and other organizations addresses this challenge and also helps make programs possible.  Both of our museums are located “off the beaten path”, so that is an additional challenge.

Q. How can people really help?
A. There are many ways people can help!  Volunteer!  We need people with time, talent or interest to help museum staff with group tours, visitor services, special events, museum store operations or behind-the-scenes help.  You can choose the area of your interest or talent!  You can truly make a difference in your community by helping our museums thrive!

Become a Member!  Joining the Friends organization supports funding of our museums!  You also benefit with free museum admission, receiving the museum newsletter and enjoy discounts at the museum store and fundraisers.

Support with action!  Come to our museum events and activities!  “Like” the St. Mary’s County Museum Division on Facebook!  Share our information and offer word of mouth about the fun things to see and do right here in your own back yard! Be an advocate!

Contact me at kim.cullins@stmarysmd.com or call the Museum Division main number at 301-769-2222 for more information!

Q. What advice can you give someone looking to work at a non-profit?
A. My advice to anyone considering working at a non-profit is this: Whatever way you want to work for a non-profit, know you will make a difference!  Time, talent and passion are invaluable assets!

Q. What events do you have coming up at the museum?
A. In September, the Friends offer an interactive murder mystery dinner fundraiser at Olde Breton Inn called “Murder at the Class Reunion.” Also in September, both museums will participate in the Maryland Lighthouse Challenge (Sept. 21 and 22) and then we’ll be gearing up for the holiday exhibits both museums will offer for the month of December.

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