I spent the majority of my time on January 20 watching the first time America hasn’t had a truly peaceful transfer of power in my lifetime (I hope it is the last time I’ll live through something like this).

I felt a tremendous sense of pride for the hard work the Biden team put into planning the entire event. I’m also grateful for the thousands of people who pulled it off (never forget there are *people* behind all of this, everyday people like you and me working their fannies off).

I was so moved by Eugene Goodman — hero of…

It’s been a few days since I last spent any significant amount of time trying to make sense of the events of the last week. I’m far from disengaged. I’m watching the news, reading folks whose wisdom I trust, and talking with friends on both sides of the political spectrum.

Four things have been abundantly clear to me over the last week:

  1. January 6 was a violent coup attempt against the United States government.
  2. President Trump and some in his administration encouraged and/or actively supported it.
  3. Americans of all political persuasions must disavow it unequivocally.
  4. There is no healing without…

I’ll let others weigh in on where this ranks historically in the crises we’ve faced as a nation. But I can’t be the only one my age or older who thought of the images of the invasion of the U.S. embassy in Tehran as we watched events unfold on Wednesday.

Terrorists and insurrectionists, aided, abetted, and encouraged by the president of the United States, invaded the seat of the American government to overturn the results of a free and fair election. That should terrify us all.

“Ohhh child, things are gonna get easier. Ohhh child, things’ll get brighter.”

The song that came to mind as I woke up this morning to this…

Over the past several months, I have been working with a group of museum professionals from across the globe on a truly wonderful program: From Sunrise to Sunset: A Day in the Life of a AAM-Getty International Alumni Museum Professional.

2018 Getty International Participants

Dean Phelus of AAM brought me in to facilitate and coordinate the effort. His charge was simple: to expand participants’ circle of connections across the AAM-Getty International program.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the program, which “is a professional growth opportunity that provides financial support to non-US-based museum professionals to attend the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo.” I…

The past couple of weeks, I had the chance to participate in election-related scenario planning with a number of my colleagues. I became involved through what I can only describe either as a textbook example of serendipity or the fact that I happen to know some really awesome, creative people (probably both).

It started with the remarkable Andrea Jones (who just joined the equally remarkable Melanie Adams at the Anacostia Museum), asking on Twitter if any museums had begun thinking proactively about Election Day and the days after.

Nearly simultaneously, I receive an email from the equally talented and creative…

Can this Be the Beginning of the End of the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle?

Last week, the Chronicle of Philanthropy ran an article with the following headline: “5 CEOs of Big Foundations Pledge to Do More to Help Charities Pay Overhead.”

I found it to be really encouraging news for the history and museum field.

Early in my museum and grant-writing career, I learned the sheer futility of project grants. It was basically an endless cycle of chasing after small amounts of money to pay for additional work with no additional funds to help pay to get the work done.


This past March 23, I attended my first historic marker dedication. Yes, it’s true, even though I’ve been working in history and museums for more than twenty years and have been a history geek as long as I remember, this was the first time I actually attended a marker unveiling.

The marker is the first in Florida dedicated to the Allman Brothers Band, the pioneering rock band from the South that formed in Jacksonville on March 23, 1969. …

Six musicians played together for the first time in a house in Jacksonville, Florida’s Riverside District: Duane Allman (guitar), Jaimoe (drums), Berry Oakley (bass), Dickey Betts (guitar), and Gregg Allman (organ and vocals).

Those who know me, know I’m an absolute FREAK about the Allman Brothers Band. Their music captivated me in the early 1990s and has never truly let go. Today was the day the whole thing started.

I thought I’d share some words from my dissertation on why this was particularly significant. …

March 1, 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of one of the most important recordings in music history: Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. A lot has been written about the album and its impact on music. I found out about the anniversary from a link milesdavis.com shared: “Kind of Blue: The Jazz Album by Miles Davis that Transformed Music.”

To date, Kind of Blue remains the best-selling album in jazz history. And it’s a good bet that if a music lover only owns a single jazz record, it is this one. …

Last week, I wrote a post entitled, “Some Thoughts on Philanthropy.” In it, I talked about some of the latest things I’d seen come across the transom regarding funders, fundraising, and our work.

No sooner did I hit “publish” that two more pieces crossed the wire, both of them referencing the work of the Ford Foundation — which I consider a leader in impact-based philanthropy in the work that we do.

I first came across Darren Walker and the Ford Foundation when I read this excellent piece on the Detroit Institute of Arts and the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy case…

Bob Beatty

President of The Lyndhurst Group, a history, museum, and nonprofit firm providing community-focused strategies for planning, assessment, and interpretation.

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