Centenary professor completes selective museum management course

SHREVEPORT, LA —Dr. Lisa Nicoletti, Professor of Art and Visual Studies at Centenary, is one of 20 recent graduates of the Southeastern Museums Conference's annual Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI). JIMI is in its 16th year of providing leadership and management training to museum professionals like Nicoletti, who also serves as Co-Director for Collections and Research at Centenary's Meadows Museum of Art.

"It was amazing to learn not only from our instructors, but from each other. So many types of museums were represented, from historic house museums like Villa Ospo, where our class convened, to civil rights museums, presidential homes like Montpellier, even a submarine museum (the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum)," says Nicoletti. "Every museum and collection faces its own management challenges, but to spend twelve-hour days working with such a committed, talented group was inspirational. Not only will what I learned strengthen the Meadows' collections and exhibitions, but it will also enhance Centenary's Museum Management Program."

JIMI participants have the opportunity to learn current methods in the field and to build networks with other museum professionals through the eight-day, total immersion environment provided by the Institute. Presentations, small group discussions, projects, and participatory exercises combine to help participants discover their management styles and learn new management skills, with a focus on achieving personnel efficiency, staff morale, and overall organizational improvement.

Program instructors are notable museum directors, curators, and specialists who volunteer their time annually to help make America's museums stronger through this program on historic Jekyll Island, Georgia. JIMI faculty come from the Smithsonian, the National Archives, the American Alliance of Museums Commission, state museum systems, as well as from the private sectors, namely individuals focusing on personnel and collections management, and philanthropy and fundraising. 2016 Institute classes included disaster preparedness, ethics and the public trust, what to collect and why, how to preserve it, public relations and marketing, strategic planning, and the future of museums, among many others.

Nicoletti's experience at JIMI has given her new insight into the significance of the Meadows Museum for the Shreveport-Bossier community at large.

"The most shocking thing I heard was that if you don't get to a museum by the fourth grade, it is statistically unlikely you will ever visit a museum," Nicoletti shared. "This not only shows that the Meadows needs to capture young audiences, but that we also need to find ways to pull in adult audiences who haven't yet had a chance to enjoy museums by making the Meadows an inspiring, welcoming, educational space for everyone."